Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can be as important as purchasing a car. You should know the history of the company, the agent, and what their percentage on sales is.

There are a few questions that you should always ask before hiring a real estate agent. These questions are questions that a lot of people will forget to ask and yet they are very important.

The first question that you should always ask is if they have any references. References will give you an idea of what type of agent or company that you are hiring. You wouldn’t want to get trapped with a real estate agent that doesn’t pan out to your expectations.

The next question should always be what kind of background that they have for sales. You wouldn’t want to hire a real estate agent that has only been in the business for a few months and has no experience. I do believe that everyone needs hands on training when learning a new skill but when it comes to something like this, you should want the best of the best.

The third question that you should always ask a real estate agent is how they plan to make your house stand out from the competitors. A real estate agent should always be prepared to answer this and to show you some of the details that they have laid out for your home. They should have ideas and should be up for suggestions for your. If you have an idea, bring it up and see what they say about it.

The fourth question to ask the real estate agent is why I should choose your company. They should have standards that are set and also statistics behind their company’s sale rate. This question should always be answered no matter what. If the real estate agent is unable to answer the question, ask them why.

The last thing that you should ask them is how much their services will cost you. You want to know an estimate so that you will know if they are hirer than the competitors or if their business is worth the price that they are asking. If you have decided to not go with this real estate agent, then you do not need to ask this question. This question should only be asked after you are positive that you are going to consider them as your real estate agent. If you ask this question, most of them will begin to give you quotes on the price of their services. If you are not satisfied with the price, tell them and they might work out another arrangement with you. All real estate agencies are in it for your business so that they can keep customers and most of them are willing to renegotiate the price for you.

Choosing a real estate agent is very important and you should always ask these questions when considering one. Real estate agents are accustomed to people asking these questions and most of them will come prepared with the answers to them.


Spite Fence Statutes Impact Real Estate and Neighbor Disputes

Home ownership is something that most American families look forward to at some point in their lives. Finding the perfect home involves more than shopping for the right floor plan and right school district – it also includes finding the right neighbors. For many homebuyers, surveying a neighborhood to obtain an idea about the type of neighbors you will have seems tedious and burdensome but, in the long term, it may help to ensure you find the right neighbors for your lifestyle. When neighborly disputes arise, there are many legal ramifications that may arise, including the risk for becoming involved in spite fence laws.

A spite fence is not something that most families are foreign to. While you may not know what the name for the spite fence is, there is no doubt you have probably seen one in your neighborhood or in an adjoining neighborhood. Spite fences are those fences that are erected by someone in the neighborhood simply to annoy or disgust the people, or person, around them. In many neighborhoods, spite fences are erected between the properties of two neighbors who are in dispute and often it is difficult to proof up an annoyance for the purpose of having the fence removed. This is especially true if the spite fence is made of natural materials, including shrubs, trees or natural wood fencing.


To pursue removal of a neighborhood spite fence, it will be necessary that you obtain court order that the fencing be removed. For some courts it is a difficult challenge to ascertain what is annoying and built out of spite – especially if the fence is a natural solution. Even still, when this type of fence is erected in your neighborhood, be sure to consult with a real estate attorney.


In some states, there are specific Spite Fence Statutes that will guide a judge in determining what a spite fence is and what is not. In the Statute, the general fail-safe guidelines involve the dimensions of the fence and the material the fence is made of. Therefore, if you find that you are facing spite fence litigation, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding the use of the statute in your favor.


Real estate, home ownership, and neighbor commadarie are important to your lifestyle and health outside of the workplace. When faced with potential neighbor disputes, especially regarding the exterior of your homes, be sure to know what your rights are, with regard to a spite fence, and if your state offers any statutory guidelines as a result.


Cool and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts for Your Real Estate Clients

One of the practices as a successful real estate agent is keeping in touch with past clients and staying visible to future clients. Frequent communication throughout the year with customers is essential to further building those relationships.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, sending a thoughtful gift is a great way to let past, current, and future clients know that you are still in the game-and that they are your valued customers. This small gesture is also a fantastic way to further build your personal brand and to continue marketing yourself. It may be difficult to think of inexpensive gifts to set you apart from your competition, however, there are plenty of options. To get you started, here are a few recommendations.


Personalized Photo Book. Wouldn’t it be delightful to send past clients a book of pictures of their new home? Photo books make great gifts for clients that had real estate closings during the current year. However, presenting this gift takes some planning.


If your client had the home built from the ground up, it would be great if you had pictures from the building process to closing day to moving day. On the other hand, if your client bought an existing home, include pictures of your client on closing day and moving day, as well as various pictures from the community to make an ample photo book.


Many companies offer personalized photo books for sale, such as Wal-Mart and Kodak. For about $20 to $30, you will create memories to be enjoyed for years to come and make a lasting impression on your clients.


“New Home” Money Pot. We all know how expensive buying a new home is, but if your clients are going to save their pennies, at least give them a unique, charming money pot to help them reach their goals! This gift is perfect for your prospects that are saving funds to purchase their new home. This cute present can be found on the “Gifts for Professionals” website for about $40.


If you’d like to improvise this gift, the same concept can be applied with some type of “coin holder” in the shape of a house, cookie jar, or just a plain, old piggy bank. Just don’t forget to include a personalized note somewhere on the gift with your contact information for future reference.


Gourmet Holiday Basket filled with Candy, Fruit, or Cookies. Nothing says “thank you for your business” quite like fancy sweets! Any client would be thrilled to receive a basket filled with Belgium Truffles, chocolate-covered pretzels, dipped almonds, and macadamia nut cookies.


To make this gift even more unique, look into non-standard packaging for the goodies. For example, treats packed in containers shaped like a mailbox or a house would make an even greater impression on your client than the traditional square boxes.


The price of this gift varies, depending on the size of the basket and what is included. Many companies sell a variety of gift baskets, so there are ample opportunities to shop around for the best price.


House-Shaped Desk Clock or Paperweight. This a distinctive gift that your clients will love. For about $30, you can have a classy keepsake that will never go out of style. This clock can even be engraved with your logo. Check out the stylish timepiece on Victory Store’s website for an example of this gift.


Personalized Holiday Ornaments. These can either be tree ornaments in the shape of a house (including the homeowner’s new address and the agent’s contact information on the opposite side of the ornament) or customized ornaments that include a photo of the homeowners and their new home. For future clients, the ornaments in the shape of a house work perfectly as well. Just include your contact information on one side of the ornament and include a personalized message on the opposite side (i.e. To the Clark Family, Happy Holidays!). Snapfish, a division of Hewlett-Packard and a highly rated online photo service, offers this great gift for less than $10.


Ornament-Shaped Photo Frame. Both festive and inexpensive, this is a perfect gift for all of your customers. You can customize the frame with your company’s logo and place a picture of the client’s home in the frame (the home you helped them purchase, of course). For prospects that haven’t yet purchased their new place, include a picture of a well-known highlight from the city in which they live (or in the city where they are looking to live). These frames are less than $1.50 each and can be found online at


There are many ways to show your real estate clients that you value their business. With these thoughtful holiday gift ideas, you’ll continue to make a great impression on all of your clients and be the first point of contact for all of their real estate needs.


Top 10 Real Estate Blogs

Many real estate investors nowadays have never ending supply of information as well as option when it comes to informative news. This is because of the advent of internet technology that makes information a lot easier to achieve. Every real estate investor can find the subject he or she is looking for just by searching in the internet. This is a lot convenient for them. One great source of vast of information is blog or more often called as “forum”. Blogs serves as special forum of thought, opinions, and suggestions of people from around the world. Many real estate investors are not aware about the goodness of blog in their business. They do not know that blogs can be an excellent venue to gather inside information about investments most especially in the world of real estate industry.

Despite of the very unstable economy in the Unites States there is one thing that will remain constant above all and that is investors will always stay on the curve. With continues help from blogs, it can provide wide variety of source that is outside the norm. This will keep many investors well informed and educated. To help investors find more information here are the top ten real estate blogs that you can take a look at.



4 Realz- in this blog you can read about an author named Dustin Luther. He discussed some news about technology, issues, legislation, as well as trends in the real estate industry. This is one great blog especially for investors who are new in the real estate industry.



BiggerPockets- this blog is just the subsidy of the main website. This will serve as the online networking platform for all real estate community worldwide. This blog also discuss important event and information about the current real estate condition of the country. This is a good source for investors who want to stay updated.



Bloodhound Blog- this blog is a complete source of investment, lenders as well as technology gurus. This is a one stop shop for all investors worldwide.



Future of Real Estate Marketing- this blog discusses more about the marketing as well as advertising world of the real estate industry. It is a great source about the truthfulness of the industry as well as the shady part of the real estate industry is being discussed in this forum.



Grow a Brain- you can find almost 100 categories that are link to real estate, you can gain important insight about the industry just by reading. This blog is very interesting for real estate investors that are looking for odd posts.



Hot Property- this is blog that discusses about mortgages.



Inman Blog- it covers all timely news about real estate industry.



Matrix- this is one the most well written blogs about real estate industry. This is a great option for investors who are looking for honesty as well as educated perspective when it comes to real estate industry.



RCG- this is also known as Real City Guide. It can provide excellent readings about posts and comments of the readers.



Nubricks- this is dedicated for overseas property investors and investment.


Many investors around the world can surely benefit from this wide variety of online blogs.


Miracle Studios Launches a ” Real Estate Web Design”

Let us talk about the recent website created by Miracle Studios for a US based realtor.

Earlier their website was inflicted with “Lazy-Boredom”


But thanks to Miracle Studios, their redesign has made online presence more attractive , spell binding and remarkably all the creative elements have been packed together to be “Search Engine Friendly” also.


Target Audience : The website has been made to capture the essence of ” Home Buyers Lifestyle” in the market catered by the Realtor.


“Matera Ridge” is the name for a sprouting township in Reno, which this realtor is planning to sell through this website, located miles away from the maddening hustle  amp; bustle of the city life. It is an ideal adobe for some-one seeking peace in the laps of nature goddess.


While an interaction with our “Sales Team”, Mr Hug, the Planning Officer for Matera Ridge, drew upon Miracle Studio’s well known creativity and “out of the box thinking” to develop a website that can capture the scenic beauty of the nestled place and strongly brand it in the competitive realms of the real estate market.


Further added Mr Hug ” I am looking for a simple website , since most of our clients do not belong to the bracket of “tech savvy’s”, so website should have easy to use navigation. Further adding, i don’t want a puzzle there, instead of confusing , i want a website that should solve the problems of it’s visitors. “


And the final result is the web design that underlines the natural beauty of the Matera Ridge Town Ship, with flickers of clouds hovering around( in flash) and there’s greenery all around–“Just soothing isn’t it” — Giving a real sense of relief for the “website visitors”.


Even if they are not lucky enough to be there at “The Matera Ridge” — at least they can comfortably savor the naturals by simply clicking on to the website of “Matera Ridge”, which has been presented so gracefully by the gifted designers of Miracle Studios.


The website is presenting the “Bird’s Eye View” of “Matera Ridge Real Estate Project” at —


Courtesy : Miracle Studios : Your very own web design company — Because we care


Our resources:-

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Pittsburgh Steelers, Prime Real Estate Available

Although squeaking a 2-point win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Pittsburgh Steelers just couldn’t find the red zone, yet alone the end zone, in pre-season week 3. Although some credit must be given to the Minnesota Vikings defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line, QB Ben Roethlisberger, and running back Willie Parker never got into sync, leaving the valuable end zone property uninhabited.

Like the submarine with a screen door, the offensive line let the Vikings defense flow right through. Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin had hoped to give his first string offense some quality play time against a worthy opponent, but as the first half ticked by, it became evident that summer training camp had broken too early. With a measly 76 yards in seven possessions, Steelers fans can expect to see more shuffling of players before the offensive front is shored up. Should Justin Hartwig get the start at center, both Darnell Stapleton and Sean Mahan will be available for the guard position as well as backups in center.


In a post game appearance, Coach Tomlin talked about second-year player Darnell Stapleton, “Sometimes you say he’s a good little football player, but he’s 310 pounds. He plays with great leverage. He’s football smart. He has position flexibility. He’s a guy who always is in the hunt and probably will be up until the 11th hour.”


Questions about Big Ben Roethlisberger’s health have again raised their ugly heads. Like the 2006 season when Ben had barely managed to become healthy after crashing his motorcycle, then underwent an emergency appendectomy, his game play suffered a slow start. Possibly his hand or head; on Saturday against the Vikings, Quarterback Roethlisberger again held onto the ball too long, only to then release wobbly late passes to open receivers itching to make a first down. Overall, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked twice and completed only 10 of 17 passes, for a total of 65 yards.


The Steelers starters also struggled with their running game. Often running backwards, Willie Parker ran 10 times for only 18 yards. Again, the offensive line had trouble with the brute strength of the Vikings’ defense, leaving little room for Fast Willie to slip through. Fortunately, young Rashard Mendenhall showed real promise as the rookie running back, racking up 76 yards in 15 carries. Unfortunately, he also made rookie mistakes, allowing the Viking D to strip the ball away for two fumbles.


“It’s something we were concerned about, something we made him aware of,” Tomlin said. “It’s part of being a ball-totter in the National Football League. It’s a little different and he sensed that. He has the skill set to be successful but the prerequisite is ball security and he has to shore up that element of his game.”


On a good note: The Pittsburgh Steelers defense was very impressive even without Safety Troy Polamalu. With just one touchdown, the Vikings struggled against the Steelers’ first-team defense for nearly three quarters. The defense also managed to keep hard-hitting running back Adrian Peterson in check and sacked quarterback Gus Frerotte three times.


With Kicker Jeff Reed being the team’s best and only point scorer of the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to take possession of the end zone or there may be another property foreclosure in the near future.

Should You Sell and Rent Back Property? Secure a Quick House Sale to a Property Cash Buyer

A sell and rent back scheme involves that person selling a home to a property cash buyer for about 75% of it’s market value. Whilst selling a house in a falling market can take many months, this isn’t the case with a sell and rent back.

Sell and Rent Back can Stop Repossession

It is possible to get a quick house sale and stop repossession, provided that at least 25% home equity is available. It is even possible to stop repossession when there are just hours left to go. The availability of a property cash buyer means that the court is willing to intervene. The entire process will be handled privately and the neighbours won’t be aware of what has transpired.

A Quick House Sale at Below Market Value

Whilst a sell and rent back ensures a quick house sale, most property cash buyers will only offer up to 80% of market value. Those selling a house may be able to get a better price on the open market or even at auction. However, those selling a house won’t have to pay estate agent and legal fees. It is also argued that many estate agents bump-up valuations to entice homeowners into selling.

Sell and Rent Back Schemes and Money Problems

Homeowners regularly choose a sell and rent back scheme because a cash lump sum helps them to clear personal loans, overdrafts and credit card bills. The removal of money problems and the provision of a lower monthly rent can make life more affordable for families.

Regulations and Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements

There is currently minimal regulation with respect to sell and rent back schemes. This means that different companies have varying terms. Whilst some property cash buyers are looking to establish long term relationships with tenants, others choose to invoke assured shorthold tenancy agreements. This could mean that a tenant is removed from their home in as little as 6 to 12 months.

A sell and rent back scheme is an excellent way to stop repossession. Anyone facing repossession should seek a property cash buyer, provided sufficient home equity is available. However, homeowners that aren’t in immediate financial peril should seriously consider selling a home on the open market to get a better price.

Those struggling to prevent property repossession should check to see if they have an unlawful mortgage agreement. This could mean that a homeowner is entitled to compensation or even the write-off of the full debt in certain circumstances. This also applies to illegal loan agreements and unlawful credit card agreements.

Should Mortgages be Modified?

Record numbers of foreclosures are affecting millions of American citizens today. The problem has become such an epidemic that the government has begun paying banks to work out mortgages and avoid foreclosing. As a taxpayer, it is important to understand what the government is really paying for and if its really some to support.

Mortgage Modification Pros

Mortgage modification provides numerous benefits to homeowners. Foreclosures negatively affect property values, so homeowner in the neighborhood benefits when a house avoids the process. Besides benefitting from higher market prices for their homes, they also don’t suffer the negative externalities foreclosures often bring: crime, trash, disrepair, etc.

Promoting homeownership and support the nation’s people in their time of need should also be considered. For many households, all of their positive net worth is tied up in their home. It provides a vehicle that forces consumers to save and could even provide a nice nest egg for retirement. It can be argued that this should not be the case, but for many homeowners it is a reality.

Homeownership also has positive externalities, as well. People, who own their homes, tend to take better care of their property and get more involved in their neighborhood. This means better schools, less crime and a generally nicer neighborhood. In some areas, modifying mortgages is the only thing that keeps neighborhoods in tact.

Mortgage Modification Cons

Anyone that has chosen not to be a homeowner must now bear the burden of homeownership without getting any of the benefits. Many modifications allow homeowners to live in homes at a cost below renting. Furthermore, many people, homeowners include will argue that the government should not reward those people that mismanaged their finances.

There are far too many examples of school teachers living in $500k+ homes and earning $30k per year. Even if banks were willing to give that person a loan, the person should have known better. Too many times people pass the buck onto someone else when they make poor decisions.

If society continues to bail people out, how will people understand the consequences of taking risks? Homeownership is the same as investing in a very expensive asset. Like any other investment, it has the ability to go up in value and go down in value. The homeowner is the one to blame if they do not understand the risks. If they choose to sign their name on a dotted line and hand over thousands of dollars without doing their homework, why should the fiscally responsible suffer?

Society does itself a disservice by allowing its citizens to avoid paying the price for bad decisions. Using hardworking people’s money to reward bad decisions rewards all the wrong people. It directly rewards the banks that made bad loans and it indirectly rewards homeowners that did not do their homework before investing in a bad asset.

Mortgage Modification Summary

Promoting homeownership certainly has benefits. Ownership helps people connect more with their community and adds tremendous value to the neighborhood. However, when homeownership becomes more about trading up every two years to out run mounting debt, all parties should suffer the consequences of their actions. If a modification makes business sense to a bank, then they should be free to pursue that option. To take taxpayer money and bail out banks and homeowners that made bad decisions should not be considered lightly. In the end, what does that really teach society?

Reverse Mortgage: Advantages & Disadvantages

If you’re at least 62, you can probably qualify for a reverse mortgage. For those unfamiliar with the term, a reverse mortgage isn’t free money. It’s a loan. It has to be paid back, but not until you pass away or sell your home.

Some advantages:

  • No credit check most of the time
  • No restrictions on how you spend the money
  • No monthly payments
  • No tax liability
  • You can take the whole amount at one payout or in regular installments.
  • You can fix a cash-flow crunch, pay bills, or just afford extras that you can’t afford now.
  • It might allow you to stay in your home as you age, allowing you a budget for home care, medications, and so forth.
  • No one can force you to sell your home.
  • You can never owe more than what your home is worth when the loan is repaid.
  • Reverse mortgages can be refinanced.

The down sides:

  • High cost of borrowing – the upfront fees can be pretty steep.
  • If you become ill and have to move, the loan will have to be repaid at that time.
  • If your heirs are counting on your money for their retirement, they might have to find another way to finance themselves.
  • Selling your home may be a better choice for you.
  • If you opt for this program before you’re about age 70, you’ll get less money out.

Some financial experts like Terry Savage of the Chicago Sun-Times maintain there are no down sides to reverse mortgages. She helped her own father (age 84) get one.

Others take a more conservative perspective, like Julie Tripp, who writes for the Oregonian.

As in all matters of finance, consult the people you trust. Your banker. Your attorney. Your accountant. Make your decision on fact; never base it on panic or fear.

Sell Property Fast With Simple Home Renovations: What is the Best Home Improvement for Selling a House?

Buying property is notoriously stressful. The investment is huge, and it is always possible to make a bad mistake. But selling a house can be nerve-racking, too. To sell property fast and for the maximum amount demands care and attention. But some expensive home renovations only lose money and do nothing to help fast house selling.

Television home makeover programmes have persuaded many that they really cannot do too much to maximise the selling price of their home. But the real gainers from all this work are home improvement retailers such as B&Q and Homebase.

Simple House Selling Tips

Many simply cannot face undertaking expensive and time-consuming home renovations before selling a house. It’s a lot of trouble, and they just want to sell the property fast and move on. Nothing wrong with that.

But there are still a few basic house selling tips that apply across the board. For fast house selling, the home should at least be clean and tidy. Crucially, the removal of clutter makes rooms look bigger and enables viewers to imagine what they might do with them. Strongly personal items like family photographs should not be on view: potential buyers don’t need such distractions.

The house should be well aired, and strategically placed vases of flowers and bowls of fruit are easy on the nose as well as the eye. The smells of freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked bread are universally enjoyed, those of freshly cooked curry and freshly grilled fish are not.

Pets should be kept out of the way altogether – preferably housed with friends or relatives. Not everyone likes dogs, their odour or their shed hairs.

Simple Home Renovations Help Sell Property Fast

For those who are prepared to go a little further, carefully targeted home renovations can pay dividends. It is, for example, well worth touching up shabby paintwork, having carpets professionally cleaned, and fixing such obvious imperfections as dripping taps.

And those anxious to sell property fast and profitably do not have to guess at what works best, because last year, Halifax, Britain’s largest supplier of residential mortgages, published their own findings.

The general perception is that the best way to maximise profits when selling a house is to add rooms. But Halifax found that, while this does indeed increase value, it is not the best home improvement the seller can make. It is not even in their top five house selling tips.

Percentage return on investment, they found, was higher for (in ascending order) loft conversion, garden improvement, redecoration and home security measures.

By contrast, laminate flooring and new carpets were among those things which were found not even to recoup costs. In other words, simple redecoration works, because it makes a house look better. But for anything more elaborate, do not anticipate the tastes of others.

The Best Home Improvement When Selling a House

But for the seller who wants to do just one thing to ensure fast house selling at a good price, Halifax were unequivocal. Investment in fuel efficiency and energy saving measures will generally yield a return of some 250 per cent, making it the best home improvement a seller can make.

So for those who want to sell property fast and profitably, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are amongst the things to consider. In these green times, expert advice is readily available.

The lessons from Halifax are simple. To sell property fast and profitably, there are five things to consider above all others:

  1. Fuel efficiency and energy saving
  2. Home security
  3. Redecoration
  4. Garden improvements
  5. Loft conversion