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What To Do To Thank Your Sales Representative
Posted on Fri, 31 Mar 2017, 02:45:00 PM  in My services
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Has your real estate agent been a total angel throughout the process? Have they made your life easier by taking on each and every burden with a bright and caring smile? If you have had one of the best experiences of your life working with your real estate agent, then you are one of the luckiest people to have ever bought or sold a house in Canada. Make the time to thank them for their incredible work.

 What To Do To Thank Your Sales Representative

Send Them A Small Gift

If your real estate agent has been a total gem throughout the process, make sure to let them know. If you can afford to do so, send them a small but meaningful gift. Maybe you noticed that they love daisies or that they can’t get enough dark chocolate to soothe their cravings. Make a small note and have a package sent to their office. It will show everyone in the office that your real estate agent has gone above and beyond to help you throughout your process, inspire others to want to do the same, and will make your agent truly feel appreciated for all of the work that they have poured into your sale or purchase. It will show them that you care and that you took the time to learn about them in the same way that they took the time to learn about you. It is one of the few gifts in life that can be shared and received equally.

 

Take Your Agent Out To A Good Meal At Their Favorite Restaurant

Sure, your agent can probably pay for their own food. Maybe they pack a lunch most days or are on the go often. But, wouldn’t you like to take a little bit of their free time and show them what it means to you? Most real estate agents are real people just like you and your family members, so they will appreciate a little tender loving and appreciation. Most people like to eat every once in awhile, and very few people will turn down the prospect of free food from their favorite restaurant.

While you cannot force them to eat out with you if they do not want to, make sure that you at least offer if you are capable. The sentiment of offering often does just the same amount of work as the actual meal itself.

 

Write Your Agent A Heart-Felt Letter

Your agent really is a real person with real feelings. Maybe they turned you down for a meal, maybe they are allergic to flowers, or maybe they are just quiet and reserved in their own personal free time. All people, yourself included, like to know they are appreciated. All people like to know that what they have worked so hard to do has been noticed. If you can’t afford to spend a lot of money, or you just don’t know much about your agent’s personal preferences, send them a letter. Make it as heart-felt and sincere as you can. Tell them about your frustrations and how they worked to ease them. There is little you can say in appreciation that will make them upset, angry, or unnoticed.

If you have noticed small deeds of kindness from your agent, make sure to include those as well. They will be impressed that you noticed all of the small details. Remember, nothing is too small to be appreciated, including the one night call you had to them that woke them from their sleep on a random Sunday.


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The Best Locations To Consider Buying A Home
Posted on Tue, 30 Aug 2016, 12:25:00 PM  in My services
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When you start to think about the process of buying a home, there are many things that any consumer will want to consider. However, one of the biggest things that you need to remember is it's not truly about what the house does or doesn't look like; it's about where the house is. After all, while you can truly change a lot of the features and finishes in a house, you won't be able to pick it up and move it to another location. That's why when you start to think about the process of home hunting and looking for the perfect house to call your own, you need to think about one of the following.

Proximity to Work

locationsWhen you imagine the perfect home you should think about the cost that it will take to live in that home. However, cost isn't just dollars towards a mortgage. There are many other costs that go into living in a house and one of the biggest ones is work. If you are like many people out there then you could be working as much as 250+ days per year, and that means over 500 one way trips between your home and your place of employment. Do you really want to spend countless hours or countless dollars just driving back and forth?

One of the most important things you can do is minimizing the costs of fuel and the wear and tear on your car as well as the hours you spend driving behind the wheel of a vehicle just by living as close to your work as you can. You will not only give yourself back a "raise" in terms of the saved costs, but you will also give yourself back time from a minimal commute.

Downtime Centrally Located

If possible, live where you want to be. Too many people will get too caught up in trying to find the perfect house, but then between work, family, and their social life all being in different areas they realize that they never actually spend time in their home. That's why what you will want to do is figure out a way to live in an area that you already like. If you want to live by a pond or a lake, then get a house that is close to it. If you want to be downtown or by a stadium, make sure you are only a few blocks away. If you minimize the time you spend commuting to other places then that will be more time you can spend at home and actually enjoying where you live.

School District

When you think about the point of living in a great school district then you should realize you are actually satisfying just a few things but very important things. Not only does a good school district mean that your children will probably have a great shot at a wonderful education down the line, but it also means your house will have higher values and your crime rate should be low. Good school districts mean that people want to move into them and will spend more money to be in them as well. It also means parents will want to be involved, the community will be respectful, and the problems are minimized.

When you consider all of these items you realize it's not about the schools themselves but rather it is about the socioeconomic status that comes with being in a good school district. If that is something you are able to capitalize on then it will truly help your home value and your quality of life.


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House Hunting: Why Focus on School Districts
Posted on Fri, 15 Jul 2016, 11:25:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  My services
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As you set your sights on purchasing a home, you probably desire a number of certain features. For example, you may want to ensure that the house has at least four bedrooms or that the yard comes with a pool. While you're researching these luxuries, don't forget to check out the school district too.

Educational Reputation

The reputation of a school is not always fair. For example, houses in areas with lower overall income sometimes receive a negative reputation for no reason. However, knowing the reputation allows you to investigate whether the alleged problems are real or imagined. You can find statistics to back up the claims, or you may discover that no substance sits behind this gossip at all.

Drug Usage and Gangs

These two large problems plague a number of schools, especially as children age. Discovering the current situation in the school district is important. Keep in mind that these factors can change before your children enter school. However, if a particular district has experienced increasing problems with gang violence and drugs over the past few years, the issues might not leave in the near future.

schoolArea Safety

The school district can also often give you a sense of how safe the community is. In many areas, neighborhoods with higher crime rates tend to have poorer schools. While you actually need to research the statistics to find out if this information is true for your particular neighborhood of interest, the idea provides you with a starting point.

Test Scores

Parents have different goals for their children, and you may want your kids to enter into one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Therefore, you are concerned about average test scores at the school. Take a look at how students are performing in the different grades. While other students' grades are no guarantee of how your own children will perform, you have an average with which to work.

Extracurricular Activities

Ensuring that your kids are well-rounded is important. As a result, you want to find out what types of extracurricular activities the school offers. If your children have already expressed an interest in a particular sport or artistic skill, then you should make sure that the district offers these programs. Also, find out how stable the programs are. Maybe your kids are interested in band. However, by doing research, you may discover that band is constantly on the brink of getting cut. You may want to consider another school district.

Services for Special Needs

Checking to make sure that the school has the appropriate services for your children is imperative. Otherwise, they could end up having to take a bus to a private program that is far from your home. When you do not yet have children or you do not yet know what needs they have, you should look for programs with comprehensive services.

Care before and after School

If you and your partner both work full-time, you probably need more care coverage than a regular day at school can provide. Find out if the district offers programs for care before and after school. Keeping your children in one environment all day is seamless, and you don't have to have to worry about how they will get from school to the babysitter's house when the district provides care services.

Whether you have kids or plan to do so in the future, taking a look at the school district and the individuals schools is important. Even if you do not intend to have children at all, the school district can provide you with important information about the neighborhood as a whole.


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4 Key Considerations When Purchasing a New Home
Posted on Tue, 10 May 2016, 09:40:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Buying a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. You get to step out of the rental game and into the game of being in charge of everything relating to your new home. You no longer have to rely on a landlord to approve repairs that need to be done. Home ownership is truly something that you have to experience for yourself to understand just how amazing it can be. If you are ready to take the leap and own your own home, there are a few things that you need to consider when purchasing a new home.


Room for Expansion
Just because there are only two of you right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t expand your family to four or six of you. The last thing you want to do is go out and purchase a one-bedroom home if you are planning on having children. You could end up struggling to sell your home quick enough to step into another one that gives you room to grow. Choose your new home based on how large you would like your family to be. Consider going with something that is at least one to two bedrooms larger than what you need right now.new owners This will save you a lot of hassle down the line.

Work Commute
Another thing to consider is how far the home is from your workplace. You don’t want to choose a home that is going to make you spend a couple hours commuting one way to work. You want to be within a reasonable distance. If you are planning on quitting your job and looking for employment elsewhere, consider the location where you want to be. Spending too long on your commute is only going to end up stressing you out down the road. You want to minimize commute time and maximize time spent with loved ones.

Functionality
Many people don’t think about the layout of the home they are looking to purchase. They like the aesthetic appeal or location of the home. While these things are important too, you also need to make sure the layout is going to work for your needs. If you have younger children, you might want to go with a ranch style home where all of the bedrooms are on the same floor. With teenagers in the home, a two-story often works great. This gives you privacy and them privacy as well. 

Features
Just about everyone has something that their new home has to have. Whether it be a large closet, over-sized kitchen or something else, you want to make sure that your new space has everything you need and more. The last thing you want to do is settle on a home that you aren’t going to be happy with in a few years. Your home should be a place where you can enjoy spending years of your life. Otherwise, you need to rethink whether it really is the right home for you or not. Someone with allergies shouldn’t go with a home that is completely carpeted, unless you want to go through and do a bunch of remodeling right off the bat. 

By taking the time to go through the things above, you can make sure you get everything you need in your new home. This will save you a lot of money and time when it comes to your new home. Only look for those things you need and stay away from the things that you don’t. in the end, you will come out with a stunning new home that you can enjoy for quite some time.

 


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Pet Friendly Apartment
Posted on Sat, 30 Apr 2016, 02:40:00 PM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Finding an apartment that is pet-friendly can be difficult, especially if it is your first time moving into a new area. You might not know where to turn to get started with the search, which can result in a lengthy wait on when you can actually enjoy your rental property. Fortunately, it does not need to be difficult. With a little bit of patience and research, it can be easy for anybody to plan ahead and find a property that allows pets.

Always begin by using the resources available to you. This means contacting your local humane society or general animal care and control group to find out if there are any local apartments that allow pets. When contacted locally, these organizations can help you stay on top of updates and other things that can make a massive change in the way you look over your options. In addition to pet-petcentric organizations, it is a good idea to consult with real estate agents and other experts in the industry to determine if there are any local communities that can assist you. Many real estate agents who own pets themselves can help you in your search. 

If you are not having luck finding an apartment community that can assist you, it never hurts to try to explain your situation to the property manager in the hopes that they could make an exception. While many communities do not always approve of every request, if you make a compelling case, chances are that you could be allowed to rent the property and keep your pet. Even if not all pets are allowed, you could take a look at the fine-print to determine whether or not your pet is allowed. Many places make exceptions for cats and small dogs if the owners are responsible.

One of the most important things for you to do when you are making a case is to prove that you are responsible. Bring as much documentation as you can to try and convince the property manager that you are capable of taking full responsibility for your pet. Ideally, you want to show them that pet damage is a non-issue, but if you can prove that you have experience taking care of pet damage, you can help put the manager's worries at ease. Some important things to bring with you include general reference letters from other property owners, as well as written certifications for training classes if your dog graduated from one. 

Be sure to explain to the manager that you share their concern for cleanliness. Emphasize that you have had positive experiences with other managers in the past and that you always take full responsibility for your apartment's state of affairs, including making sure that your pet has a place to us the bathroom. Be sure to promote yourself as well as you can. Explain that you are a responsible pet owner and that you would make an excellent resident because of your experience. Do not be afraid to promote your pet either, especially if it has completed classes and has the certification.

If all else fails, be sure to mention that you are willing to put down a deposit if the manager needs one. Many apartment managers ask for a pet deposit anyway, but some can be swayed if you show them that you are serious about moving in with your pet. If the apartment manager still tells you no, the most important thing for you to do is avoid lying. Do not try to sneak your pet in, as this could leave you vulnerable to a variety of liability issues.


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Moving with Pets
Posted on Wed, 20 Apr 2016, 10:15:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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You’ve done it. You’ve purchased a new home, whether it’s across town or across the country. Now, all you have to do is get you, your family, and your family pets settled into their new abode.


Moving can be tough on pets, and it’s tougher on some than on others. These tips will help you keep your lovable companions safe and happy on their journey to their new home.

1. Always use an appropriate carrier in vehicles.
Small animals can get underfoot in the car, which can lead to accidents. Cats, rabbits, birds and other small animals should always be transported in an animal carrier with hard sides and plenty of holes to let in light and air.

If your pets aren’t accustomed to traveling in carriers, you may need to introduce them slowly. Leave the carriers open near where your pets tend to lounge at least a few days before the move. Placing their favorite toys and blankets inside gives them an incentive to explore, and the more time they spend in and around the carrier in a familiar place, the more comfortable they’ll be on moving petsday.

Dogs should also be contained in a restricted area in the car, though you can provide them with more freedom and mobility by using a safety harness or safety gate. Generally, dogs are easier to travel with than smaller animals, but make sure they’ve been in the car a few times before you set off on your new adventure.

2. Pack a bag for your pets.
Even for short trips, your pets will be more comfortable if they have their favorite toys. Snacks can also help distract them from the stress of moving, and food is essential on long trips. Cats can go up to 10 hours without needing a litter box, but if you’re traveling for longer than that, especially if you’re stopping overnight, you may want to buy a disposable one. In addition to pet favorites and essentials, pack some towels in case of car sickness or accidents.

3. Call ahead to hotels, even if they say they allow pets.
This is especially important if you’re traveling with large dogs. Many hotels, even different locations of the same chain, have different pet policies. Talk directly to the front desk and make sure that they know when you’re coming and what kind of pets you’re bringing.

Common variations on pet policies include a limit on the size or weight of your pet and breed restrictions, and you don’t want to get caught without a room you can share with your fuzzy friends. Additionally, some hotels only allow cats and dogs. If you have other kinds of animals, you may have to do some extra digging to find a hotel willing to accommodate them. Whatever you do, don't sneak your pet into a hotel room. The fees for doing so can be exceptionally high.

4. Confine your pets to one room of your new home when you arrive.
Pets are stressed out easily by travel, and they may try to hide. This is potentially dangerous for them because you haven’t had a chance to learn all the specific details of your new home yet. For example, there could be openings behind appliances that are small enough for your pet to get stuck. By confining them to one room of the house, you make sure they stay safe while they acclimate to their new surroundings and while you begin the process of pet-proofing your new home.

 


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Creating Curb Appeal on a Budget
Posted on Mon, 11 Apr 2016, 10:10:00 AM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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Whether you are trying to attract buyers or are moving into your dream home, you want your home’s appearance to create a good first impression. Giving your home a facelift does not have to cost thousands of dollars or require a team of contractors. The following are a few DIY curb appeal projects you can do in a weekend without breaking the bank.


Spruce Up the Front Door:
Your front door should create a focal point that attracts the eye of visitors or potential buyers. The easiest way to add pizzazz to your front entrance is to paint your door in a bright colour that contrasts with the rest of your house and shutters. For example, a red door will pop on a traditional white house with black shutters. Don’t forget to add shiny new hardware and house numbers to complete the updated look. You can personalize the effect by adding potted plants and a door wreath. 

Add Lighting:
Solar light fixtures are affordable and easy to install. You can use them along the drive to draw the eye toward the house or to doorhighlight landscape features. It is also a good idea to consider upgrading any outdated or builder-grade garage or front door lighting fixtures. Most exterior lights can be purchased for under $50 each. Don’t forget to also purchase a live-wire testing device for safety. 

Give Your Mailbox a Makeover:
Your mailbox should express your personality as well as complement your home’s exterior. If you have a curbside mailbox, you can coordinate the colour of the post to match the trim on your house or surround it with colourful plants. If you choose an attached hanging drop box, try to find one that matches the rest of your home’s exterior hardware.

Give Your House a Power Wash:
Removing built up dirt and grime will instantly make the front of your home, driveway, and sidewalk look fresh and new. The easiest way is to turn the nozzle on your garden hose on full blast, taking care not to get any water under your siding. You can rent a power washer for less than $100 a day, but they can be difficult to manage and can damage windows and siding.

Add Window Boxes:
Window boxes are relatively inexpensive and can be found a virtually any home improvement store. A wooden box in a colour that contrasts with your shutters will give your home a cottage feel. Choose an iron or copper box for a more traditional look. Choose plants and flowers that best complement your home’s colour scheme and are suitable for the climate and available light.

Add Seating:
A porch swing or rocker instantly makes a home look inviting and conjures up images of lazy summer afternoons spent relaxing over a glass of lemonade. If your porch is too small, consider adding a small bench in the corner of the yard surrounded by plenty of flowers to create a peaceful oasis. 

Finally, remember that symmetry creates the best curb appeal. It is the easiest pattern to arrange and is visually pleasing since the eye naturally looks for balance. For example, add identical light sconces to each side of the front door or have the same planters and box firs on each side of the front steps. 

 


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How to Check Your New Neighborhood Before You Buy
Posted on Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 11:50:00 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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As much as you might love a home for sale you find online, you may not love the neighborhood nearly as much as you love the house. Many first time home buyers make the mistake of purchasing a home without giving any thought to the area around that house. You never know when your neighbors might throw loud parties on the weekends, what the area looks like after dark or even how safe you feel in your new home. Before you put in an offer, find out how you can check out your new neighborhood before you buy.

Take a Daytime Tour
After finding a house that you like, take a daytime tour of the neighborhood. Drive around the few blocks surrounding the home and go a few blocks further. Get a feel for what the community is really like and what there is to do in the area. You'll want to look at local parks, see how far away the grocery store is and how close you are to the fire department, police department and even hospital. 

Plan a Nighttime Visit
Even the best neighborhood can look a little different when the sun sets, which is why it's so important that you take the time to visit neighborsafter dark. While there is no need to visit in the middle of the night, you will want to visit after eight pm. See how safe and comfortable you feel in that neighborhood after dark. You may find that you don't like seeing the parties your neighbors throw or the people you see loitering on the street. You may even find that the lights lining the street don't work.

Talk with Your Potential Neighbors
One of the best ways to find out if the neighborhood is right for you is with a simple visit to your prospective new neighbors. Take the time to chat with those living right next to the home and others living on the same block. Ask them how long they lived in the neighborhood, how they feel about the community and if there are any things they don't like about living there. If you come across families who lived there for years, ask them about the house itself as well. You may get some information that the current owners didn't share with you.

Check with Google
Google offers its own map system online that lets you zoom in and see what the area looks like from the street. You can use Google in combination with your own visits to get a better look at the community. Put in the address, pan around the street and pay close attention to any potential problems you may find. Google may show you that some of your neighbors have large swimming pools without fences, that they raise different animals or even that they own multiple cars that will take up valuable space on the street.

Look at Nearby Homes
As you learn more about your new neighborhood, pay special attention to the way that surrounding homes look. Are the homes clean and in good condition? You might find that some of your new neighbors let their lawns grow wild, leave kids' toys scattered across the lawn or do a lot of car work in their driveways. You need to ask yourself if you can handle living next to homes that look that way and be around those neighbors. No matter how great a home looks or its price, you always want to look closely at the neighborhood around that house before you buy.


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Is a Fixer Upper Right for You?
Posted on Mon, 21 Mar 2016, 02:45:00 PM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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There are many people who love old houses. They dream of buying a fixer upper and renovating it into a masterpiece like it was when it was first built. A fixer upper is a great way to grab a house in a great neighborhood when you can't normally afford to buy. There are a few drawbacks to buying a house that needs to be renovated, but with a solid plan of action, it can be worth it in the end. 


Home improvement shows make it look simple to transform a home into a showplace, but those shows have experienced contractors with years of knowledge. In reality, a tough remodeling job can be a serious problem for homeowners who don't have enough experience and knowledge. It's important that you understand where you might falter and where you'll shine if you decide to do much of the renovations yourself. 

Before purchasing the house, you should have a serious look at the cost of repairs and remodeling. You'll also need to talk to the realfix estate agent about the cost of comparable houses in the area to be sure you're actually getting a good deal. If the cost of renovations and repairs are high, bringing the home up to the value of the other homes in the area might be too much to invest. 

Some of the easiest fixes are the ones that can be a complete turn off for some buyers. Cosmetic fixes like paint color, carpeting and outdated wallpaper can cause many home buyers to run from the house, but you can simply change these small cosmetic problems with a few cans of paint and new hardwood floors. You have to be willing to see beyond the current condition of the home to realize its potential, which can be tough for homebuyers who want a house in move-in condition. It's often how handy people can get a fixer upper for a steal. 

While many of these homes that are considered fixers might only need cosmetic changes, there are some renovations that aren't worth the time or money. If the home has foundation or structural issues, those can cost thousands of dollars. Problems with the structure of the home can often eat into the budget, and might not be worth fixing. 

When you've found a home that is within your budget, you need to have an inspector come in and assess the home. With a thorough assessment of the home, you can begin to do the calculations to decide whether the house will be a good deal in the end. You'll need to add up the costs of the renovations and repairs based on the inspector's report. 

It's vital to overestimate the costs of the repairs as well as deciding whether you might need a contractor for some of the work. The real estate agent can tell you what the home's likely market value will be after renovations. This formula will help you make a decision of whether the home is priced appropriately. 

A home that needs work might not be for everyone, but if you love the idea of doing your own repairs to bring a home to life, a fixer upper might be perfect for you. Make sure that you get a home inspection and talk closely with your real estate agent to find the perfect home for your do-it-yourself desires.

 


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Concerns When Choosing A Real Estate Agent
Posted on Thu, 10 Mar 2016, 10:00:00 AM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies,  My services
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As the Internet continues to expand, individuals have an endless resource of information to choose from, when it comes to buying or selling a home. As impressive and informative real estate agents websites have become, buyers and sellers still face the question, “ How do I know if I am choosing the right real estate agent?” Choose correctly and your agent can make the buying or selling process a pleasurable and profitable one. Choose the wrong agent and you’ll have more on your hands than you bargained for. A good agent will work relentlessly for you trying to match you with a seller or a buyer. A bad agent can be careless, inattentive and a waste of your time.


It is imperative that buyers and sellers do their homework when agreeing to list with a local real estate agent. Speak with your neighbors, family, and friends and get their opinions as to who they would trust in real estate matters. Interview several local agents to get an impression of their commitment, willingness to work for you and professional experience. Never hesitate to ask questions. There’s the old mantra “Location, Location, Location.” A buyer or seller should subscribe to the mantra, “Ask, Ask, Ask.” What you don’t know may hurt you financially in the end.

These scenario's should be a cause for concern:agent

They recommend the highest price
When selling your home, the agent suggests listing at top dollar, confident that they can close at that price. Talk with three different agents to get a more representative idea of your home’s worth. As them how many days or months, it took to close their last three sales. Agents may suggest a high starting price so they can collect a generous commission if it sells. If the home doesn’t sell, they have plenty of room to start cutting the price which doesn’t fare well with most sellers. As time passes and the property is still up for sale, many buyers become suspect of the home, wondering if something is wrong with it.

The agent has a full-time job and real estate is just a part-time gig
If you want the best chance to sell or buy a home, always deal with a full-time, licensed real estate agent. Real estate agents are independent brokers and contractors. They are self-employed and their income depends on how hard they work for you. With questions, you should expect your agent to call you back, as soon as possible, not after they get off from working their full-time job. Your full-time agent can show you listings during the week. You shouldn't wait until the weekend for a part-time agent to show his listings.

Don’t list with a relative
Unless your relative, who is a top earning real estate agent, avoid contracting with a relative to represent you in selling or buying a home. Being relatives, both will have different expectations. This can lead to misunderstanding, lack of trust and frustration.

The agent is unfamiliar with your neighborhood market conditions
It’s important to find an agent that is “in touch” with the real estate market in your neighborhood. An out-of-town agent may not be well versed in neighborhood home values or whether a certain street or avenue serves as a dividing line in determining home prices. Names attached to neighborhoods often are an indicator of a home’s approximate value.

 


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The multiple listing information is provided by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS®, Inc. multiple listing service from a copyrighted compilation of listings at the request of Locations Real Estate. The compilation of listing are © 2017 Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS®, Inc. Each individual listing is © 2017 Locations Real Estate. All Rights Reserved.

The information provided is for the clients' personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties clients may be interested in purchasing. All properties are subject to prior sale or withdrawal. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate, and should be independently verified.
Greater Baton Rouge Assoc. of REALTORS® Last Updated: 8/20/2017 8:33:39 PM

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