Discussion #1: Who Pays My Agent?

There are some very prevalent myths and misconceptions about real estate agents and the real estate industry in general. Before I became an agent I believed some of them myself.

One of the biggest misunderstood concepts for new home-buyers and seasoned buyers alike is:affiliate-commissions

How does the agent get paid?

I wanted to take just a few moments to clear this up because in recent weeks I’ve met a number of people who do not want to use an agent to buy a house. Their reason:

They do not want to pay for them.

On the surface it’s an honest question. No one works for free (unless you’re an intern). Obviously someone has to pay for an real estate agent’s assistance. The thought being that since they’re helping me buy a home, I must be the one forking over their commission.

Here is the truth: buyers do not pay for their agents commission.

And here is why. When an individual wants to sell their home, they hire an agent to sell the property. That selling agent/brokerage will charge a percentage of the home price for commission for all parties involved in the transaction. Here is my example:

A home selling for $100,000 is on the market. An agent helps sell the property and says the broker charges a 6% commission rate. When a friendly buyer comes along with their buying agent that commission is split between the two brokerages. It could be split any way they want. In our example lets say they split it in half. The selling broker gets 3% and the buying broker gets 3%.

And that’s how it happens. Buying agents only get paid when a property sells because it comes from the cost of the home.

So why would you not want an agent to help you buy a property? Please share this post with your friends and family and help me debunk the myth that buyers pay for their agents.

Did you find this topic helpful? Let me know if the comments below!

Kitchen Backsplashes that Pop

Are you wanting to do a kitchen remodel? Or maybe you just want to freshen up your cooking space but are tired of the same old designs and materials?

If you’re looking for some new ideas and new materials to use, then I have the best article for original_Heather-Pond-modular-textured-kitchen-backsplash_s4x3_lgyou! If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you’ve caught my post Countertop Conundrum. Here is a great follow-up article for that one. This time we’re honing in on the Kitchen Backsplash.

We’ve all seen the options: tile maybe granite. If you have an older home then maybe the linoleum back-splash is still hanging on.

Here is a fantastic photo gallery from HGTV on 30 Splashy Kitchen Backsplashes.

Throughout this stunning visual library, they introduce us to a myriad of materials used as kitchen focal points such as glass, stainless steal, river stone, and even plywood. My favorite is the copper backing.

Check out the link and let us know which backsplash design you like best!

YOUR FIRED! 3 Signs It’s Time to Change Agents

I’d like to say that every agent will work as hard as they can to get your house sold.

I’d like to say each one will go over and above what you could ever dream of wanting in an agent.

I’d like to say that your agent will treat you like their only client.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to say that may not always be the case. It’s a shame really, but it’s the truth. You-re-Fired-Rubber-Stamp-43311040Just this weekend I was talking with a friend about their current experience in selling their home. They are on their THIRD real estate agent! Each agent hired seems to have a different opinion on how to conduct their business. This is not a bad thing. Everyone has a different business model, and they should. That business model should work for YOU.

Sadly this is not always the case. Here are 3 Signs you know it’s time to fire your agent.

1. Seems like my agent has forgotten about me.

Communication is key! This is probably the mantra for every career field in the history of the world. When your biggest asset is on the line, you’d like to have an agent contact you regularly and update you on the status. Weekly communications, occasional emails, texts. Anything to let them know you have not been forgotten.

It doesn’t matter how many listing they may have, you should still feel like their most important client.

2. And your game-plan is what?

Each agent should have a clear plan on how to market your house. What’s their plan to let others know that your home is on the market? Canvasing the neighborhood, target mailings, videos, open houses. These and more are all tools that can and should be utilized to proclaim to the world THIS HOME IS AWESOME! The important thing is, you should know what their plan is.

If your agent’s only strategy is listing it in the local MLS, then maybe you should have an agent replacement strategy.

3. Gotta catch ‘em all!

It’s your responsibility to do research on your agent. How many homes have they sold? could be your first question. I’d like to pose a new, better question:

How many homes do they have listed?

May not seem like that big of a deal. If they have a few homes on the market that means they’re good, right? What if your agent has 20 or 30+ homes on the market? Maybe the better question is why do they have so many homes on the market?

Do they have a plan to sell homes or just collect homes? I’ll let you think that over.

So now I ask you, what do you think is the worst quality in a real estate agent?

How do you get the Latest Remodeling News?

It happened purely by accident. There I was minding my own business when suddenly

BAM!newspaper

I came across a very cool website. It happens to all of us and the first thing we want to do is share it. So that’s what I’m doing.

If you ever need to remodel your home or you want to see what a particular remodel can do for your property value then you have to check out this site:

Remodeling: News, products & advice for pro remodelers.

Why do I think this website is worth talking about? Simple. It has so much to offer. The content is relevant and up-to-date, the articles are well-written and researched, and there are so many things to read. The content doesn’t always come directly from the writers though. Sometimes the website acts as a hub for directing readers to other useful resources.

Example: I found a great article on the status of the House Flipping Market. The site directed me to a great research piece from redfin.com. Lots of chart and tables.

I liked it.

Along with research articles, there are design trend articles, notes on the business of remodeling, how-to instructions and more.

All in all I found this website very handy and one that I will frequent. Is it something you can use? Let me know what you like about it.

It’s a Secret you’ll Never Want to Share

If you’ve every watched the old cartoon “Scooby Doo Where are You?” then you remember that just about every ghost and ghoul popped out of any number of secret passages hidden around the mansion. And of course you thought:hidden-door-library-shelf

Man, it would be sweet to have a secret room!

You would not be alone. There are companies right now who specialize in secret rooms, secret doors, and hidden cellars. All kinds of ways to secure your clandestine spaces. You would be surprise the amount of information on not only companies but how-to guides on creating your own secret passages.

Wouldn’t it be great to have your own private retreat right in your own home? People could look at a mirror or a bookcase every day and not know it hid an entire room. What about a floor mat that hid a secret underground passage? The sky is the limit when it comes to hiding things.

Check out this article 35 Passages Built into Homes. Most all of these designs come from hidden door company Creative Home Engineering. You’ll be sure to pick up some great ideas on how to hide that priceless family heirloom that’s just laying around the house or to disguise your safe.

Have you ever wanted a secret passage or room in your home?

Why Knowing About Radon is So Important

It seems like people talk about radon a lot. You hear agents talking about it, friends mention it, and your spouse wants to get an ugly radon detector installed next to the basement big-screen.

And maybe you have no idea why you should care.Historic home radon installation exterior pump pvc

A couple years ago I would have said much the same thing. It didn’t seem like 15 years ago people either talked about radon or they didn’t care about it. Is it just another thing they’re trying to scare us into spending money on?

Whether it is all hype or not is up to your judgment, but I want to post some facts about radon and some credible sources for you to read. Great information and so important for your current home and your future home.

  • Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas. It comes from chemical reactions in the soil and seeps into your home from the basement or crawlspaces.
  • According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in America with estimated 20,000 deaths related to it
  • The average home should test at maximum levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or lower. The higher the number, the more concentrated the radon in the home and the more dangerous.
  • 1 in 3 homes in 7 states checked for radon had levels above 4 pCi/L
  • There is no way to stop radon from coming into your home, but it can be greatly reduced with a radon mitigation techniques

This is just some very basic information about radon and some statistic related to it. It is always a good idea when buying a property to have a radon inspection (usually done with property inspection). Even if you don’t plan on buying and want to know what your home’s current levels are you can hire a certified radon specialist.

Check out these two websites for more information on radon and its effects.

US-EPA Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction

Radon Fact Sheet from Radon.com

Now that you know about radon, do you think it’s hype or hazard?

Your Refrigerator is HOW Old?!

I have always been of the philosophy:

Use it until you break it.

And in many respects it’s a great philosophy to live by. But sometimes you need to be a little more vintage-refrigeratorattentive when it comes to mechanical items we depend on such as large scale appliances.

I’m talking about your refrigerator, washer and dryer, dishwasher and more. Did you know that they each have an average life-span? Sure we’ve all gone into someone’s house and have seen the old brown, one-door fridge chugging away keeping that ketchup cool, but those days are over. With technology taking over, electrical systems don’t run forever and can short out and age quicker.

Check out this list of appliances and their AVERAGE life-spans. Note that they are averages. Maybe your dishwasher has lasted 30 years and you’ve never changed the hoses. Hurray for you! I call that winning.

I’ve taken this list from two helpful websites. MrAppliance.com and hrblock.com. Check them out for more information on this list and helpful ways to increase your appliance’s life expectancy. Also, let us know how old your oldest appliance is. Tell us about it in the comments below.

Appliance Average life (years)
Microwave oven
8
Garbage disposal
13
Trash compactor
11
Water heater, gas
12-20+
Water heater, electric
10-25+
Smoke detector
10
Refrigerator, standard
14
Refrigerator, compact
8
Washing machine
12
Dryer
13
Range, electric
16
Range, gas
19
Dishwasher
12
Air Conditioner
15

6 Ways to Add Instant Curb Appeal

It’s scary to think that spring is almost over; but it’s true. Only one more month and we’ll be waving “farewell” to spring showers and “hello” to summer’s heat. Even though the seasons are changing, it’s never too early to think about curb appeal.

Whether you plan on moving or just want to spruce up your front yard, cleaning up your home’s decor_curb-appealfacade can be very satisfying. Not only does it add class to your home, but you can feel proud that it looks so clean.

If you’re hoping to sell, then curb appeal is a must. That first impression can mean the difference between a cold shoulder or a delighted smile. Check out these 6 easy tips to upgrade your home’s curb appeal.

1. Paint the front door: sounds very easy and it is! Adding a fresh coat of paint to a faded door can add life and style to your entryway. The only cost is a small can of paint. If you want to spend more money consider buying a steel door. Steel means security and that means a lot when selling.

2. Updating the mailbox: whether it’s a stand-alone box next to the road or a postbox on the house, changing it out for a newer model can be fresh and revitalizing.

3. Updating the lighting fixtures: details are important. Change out those old manufacturer fixtures for stylish upgrades. It’s the little things that show friends and neighbors you care.

4. Edge the flowerbeds: I’m going to assume you cut the grass. So take the next step and edge the flowerbeds. Clean lines between grass and mulch speak volumes and looks very professional.

5. Wash the windows: no one likes to do it, but clean windows not only make the outside look finished, but it brightens up the inside.

6. Clean up the driveway: it’s as easy as it sounds. Hose off excess dirt, pull up weeds in the cracks, and stash your trash cans around back. That’s all it takes to clean up the driveway.

Do you have any curb appeal projects that you like to do? Share them in the comments section.

You can also check out these two websites for more low-cost curb appeal techniques. It’s where I picked these up and found lots more!

-8 Budget Curb Appeal Projects

-Instant Curb Appeal for Under $100

 

What Style is Your Home?

I knew there were different house styles. Ranch, cape cod, Tudor. Everyone knows those styles. It wasn’t until I became a real estate agent that I started thinking about just how many architectural styles of homes there are.

I’ve been showing a lot of properties lately, and I’ve come across several new styles that I didn’t dblg_ss1j_Slide10_lgreally have a name for.

At least not until I came across this list. The DIYnetwork has put together a great article of 26 Popular Architectural Home Styles and included great photo representations of each style. It really answered many of my questions and expanded my knowledge of house architecture.

The 26 types they list out are:

  1. Log home
  2. Cape Cod
  3. Art Deco
  4. Craftsman
  5. Contemporary
  6. Colonial
  7. Dutch Colonial
  8. Georgian Colonial
  9. Federal Colonial
  10. Mid-Century Modern
  11. French Provencial
  12. Greek Revival
  13. Italianete
  14. Mediterranean
  15. Modern
  16. Neoclassical
  17. Prairie
  18. Pueblo Revival
  19. Ranch
  20. Townhome
  21. Tudor
  22. Spanish
  23. Victorian
  24. Cottage
  25. Farmhouse
  26. Oriental

DIY_arts-crafts-style-home-exterior_s3x4_lg

That’s a pretty long list, but did they forget any? Which style is your favorite?