Home Buying: Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew

real estate marketingBuying real estate isn’t like much else in the world. No other purchase requires as much forethought or demands as much consideration before undertaking.

You simply do not casually take part in it the way you would buying a cup of coffee, a new tv, or even a car; yet it is also one of the types of transaction that generally you don’t do very often, so it’s hard to really get adept at it unless you’re in the business.

Thankfully that’s exactly where a qualified and experienced real estate agent will come in! But even if you have the very best agent there are still some things you can do to be well informed before the home buying process begins, here’s some ideas to get you started.

Learn About The Area
If you’re moving across town this isn’t such a big deal, but if you’re moving across country you may want to take a little more time. Visit the area to get familiar with it geographically and use the internet to study local amenities and find where important things like your work, hospital, and grocery stores are located. Your agent can likely help here as well!

Know What You Can Afford
For most money doesn’t just grow on trees and as such some homes you like just may not make sense financially. While you don’t necessarily needs to know an exact figure having a ball-park idea of what you can afford in a home is a good place to start. Thankfully, this too is something your agent can help you with!

Trust Your Agent
A lot of times the best thing is just to let your agent work their magic. It can be easy to misstep and say the wrong thing around sellers, to get indecisive in regards to whether one house is more right over another, and sometimes trying to be helpful can actually be a hindrance. So talk with your agent, understand their plan and your part in it, then let them do that voodoo they do so well — it is after all why you sought out their help!

These quick tips will help you get off to a great start, and your agent will likely appreciate them too! If you’re still looking for a home, or need to sell your current home please get in touch to find out how we can help you!

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Home Seller Mistakes To Avoid

Everyone knows the real estate market in Idaho is as hot as the temperatures right now and while it’s easy to get complacent when things are moving it’s still important to do your due diligence when it comes to selling your home.

With real estate going so fast right now selling your home may not be very challenging, but getting the most for your investment can come down to the details so we’ve put together these helpful tips!

Hiring Family
You want to use the services of someone you trust, and you know that if you don’t talk to Uncle Bob about it first you’ll never hear the end of it at the next family reunion…but that’s still no reason to outright hire a family member – unless they are qualified. Plus, should things go badly it could end up making for awkward situations for years to come.

Hiring A Yes-man
You want experience. You hire a real estate professional for their knowledge and skill. That means just having someone say yes yes yes to everything defeats the purpose. By all means, find a agent that is agreeable, but is still confident enough to tell you how things are when necessary.

Hiring Fast
Signing with the first agent you meet without even looking at others, or asking for references and experience history can land you in a bad spot. While it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time window shopping for agents you do want to take a little time and make sure they have the skills you will need.

Hiring Cheap
Hey, everyone wants to save a dollar, that’s no secret but like Ben Franklin used to say: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten“. Price isn’t everything – that goes for hiring expensive too! – just because an agent offers a lower commission rate doesn’t mean they are not good; likewise having an expensive commission doesn’t guarantee their services will be anything better either.

I hope this has given you some things to think about if you’re currently looking for a real estate agent! It can seem tough to find an agent that not only fits your needs but also your personal preferences, but it can be done with a little time and care. We hope you will take a moment to contact us if you have any questions – we would love to be the agent that helps you find your way home!

REALTORS®: More Than Just Finding Homes

It’s no secret these days that just about anyone can get online and search for homes anywhere in the country. You’ve likely even seen tv commercials showing how easy it is to do even from your phone. So why do people still need real estate agents?

A truly qualified agent will do more than just give you a list of homes, they should be a qualified professional with insight into the market who can help you navigate the real estate transaction process with greater ease as well as understanding. But what are some other reasons you might want to work with a professional?

Comfort
Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime and it often involves major changes to living situations as well as finances. Real estate can seem like a treacherous undertaking, especially if you’re a first time buyer or seller, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be facing it alone is worth it’s weight in gold — just like a good agent is!

Knowledge
Whether you’re buying or selling an agent familiar with the industry will be invaluable throughout the process. Offers, counter-offers, amendments, all of these steps can be overwhelming to take on alone. Even just knowing where the prices are in the market and how to negotiate will be well worth a commission when it brings you greater return on your investment.

Resources
This is especially important for sellers! A full time real estate agent will have marketing resources you yourself couldn’t hope to have on call without huge cost. They will be able to list your home, showcase it on their real estate website, share it on social media, and do many other things to get your home not only sold more quickly but generally for a higher amount. For buyers? You’re not left out either! An experienced agent will likely have many personal contacts and other options for finding you the perfect place.

These are just a few of the things many people don’t consider when thinking about buying or selling their home; it’s easy to understand – if you’ve never dealt with real estate before you can’t understand the value of a real estate experts experience. Don’t let hesitations keep you from reaching out to a Realtor® in your area with questions, you may be surprised to find how much easier working with a local pro can be!

Let Your Yard Go To The Dogs

One member of the family that simply can not be left out of the home making process is our four legged friend the family dog.

No matter the breed or size your fur baby is one of the most important parts of what makes your house a home.

We’ve put together some ideas to make pooch feel extra special when you’re looking for a home!

A Safe Place
First and foremost you want your new home and yard area to be safe. Make sure you have a fence for the back yard and that it is in good repair without any gaps or holes where your pup might get out or get stuck. Even if there are holes too small for her to get out remember other things might get IN also, so patch up all those spaces!

Made in the Shade
This is especially important if your dog will spend a lot of time outside: a shady place. Whether it be a dog house, shade trees, or just the porch it’s important to have a spot that pups can get out of the sun to stay cool.

A Cool Water Feature
Puppers got fur. Puppers get hot! A water feature, even just a small pond or kiddie pool in Summer time will make your doggie flip their wigs! It’s a great way to add some fun and to provide a way for them to cool down when things get hot outside.

Toxin Free Is The Way To Be
Some plants and flowers can make your doggo sick – some can even cause your dog to die! – so be careful in choosing the greenery that is in your yard. Talk to a local landscaper or vet to get more info on which plants to avoid and keep your best friend free from danger.

Something Fun
Maybe it’s their favorite toys or a fun tunnel to run through; you might even consider cutting a little window in the front fence – doggies love watching whatever is going on out beyond their walled castle. Pups can get bored easily and this can lead to digging and other less desirable behaviors, so include something to keep them busy.

It’s not a big thing to do and with a little creativity and even a tiny budget you can make your new home, or your existing home, a great place for your four legged family members! If you’re currently searching for a new place get in touch I would love to help!

Homeowner Emergencies: What You Should Know!

It’s not something any new homeowner wants to think about. EMERGENCIES!

The ink on the paperwork is just barely dry and you finally got all the stuff moved in…when disaster strikes!

And to be fair, emergencies happen when we least expect them so it’s not a matter of if so much as a matter of when something unforeseen will arise in your new home.

The thing to do is to be prepared – so we’ve put together some tips to help!

Black Out
Whether it’s somebody up the street digging or a big storm blowing through, power outages are one of the most common things you will deal with as a homeowner. Make sure you have candles as well as several flashlights readily available and with working batteries on hand. Keep your refrigerator closed – you can’t tell how long the power might be off and you don’t want food to spoil. It doesn’t hurt to have a few gallons of purified water on hand as well as a small propane fueled heater for winter time.

Lock Out
Oops! Lost the keys, or left them on the counter and locked the door on your way out. It happens, you get locked out of the house, but a little pre-planning can be a life saver! There is of course the old tried and true hollow rock method of hiding a key in a nearby flowerbed. Alternately you might consider leaving a spare key with a *very* trusted friend or neighbor.

Water Woes
These can come in many forms from busted pipes to water heater troubles or even betrayal from your trusted dish washer. Whatever the cause the first immediate cure should be simple: Turn Off The Water! Turn it off at the source — usually near your water heater. Once that’s done you will be able to assess the situation and contact a plumbing professional if their help is needed.

Kitchen Fire!
Fire is one of the most terrifying things a homeowner might face. First, do not panic! Keep a box of baking soda on hand as it can be used to extinguish many small flare-ups. For stove top flames NEVER USER WATER! Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and do not open it until the flames have had  a chance to die down. A fire extinguisher is good, but educate yourself on the types of extinguishers and how to use them as not all are good for grease fires and may even cause the flames to spread!

Above all cool heads will prevail! Whenever something happens take just a second to think first, stay calm, and then act. Over the course of a lifetime in a home unexpected emergencies are bound to happen, so be prepared! Keep a list of emergency numbers right on the fridge – ask your agent, they likely can get you one!

Sellers Market? BUYERS MARKET!

92297_1081You’ve likely heard by now that we’re in the middle of what industry experts like to call a “sellers market”, and while it’s very much true that right now is a great time to sell your home there are a number of reasons why it’s also an amazing time to buy!

How can it be both?
Granted, sellers are especially motivated right now because of low inventory and high demand – which almost guarantees a better return on their investment – but even with prices likely being higher there are still some great benefits to buyers.

It’s About Timing
Compared to last year home buyers are more ready to buy now. With the cold Winter months and the uncertainty of the elections out of the way many people are feeling more comfortable with finances.

Supply Vs Demand
Home inventory is low right now; even if there wasn’t a rush on listings their general scarcity adds a sense of urgency to the market. What if the home you want gets a better offer? This drives a lot of potential buyers off the fence and to the signing table much faster.

The Sky Is Falling
Many would be mover-uppers and potential home buyers are motivated right now because they’re afraid the mortgage rates are going to go up – and they likely should be. How does that aid in making this a buyers market within a sellers market? Because RIGHT NOW the rates are still low!

Price Check
Of course money is always a factor, but with inventory being low and demand for homes being high it’s almost a certainty that home prices will also be going up. For the savvy home buyer this is a sure sign that if you’re thinking of buying any time this year it’s likely the sooner the better.

Are you considering buying a home and just having a terrible time finding the right one? Your dream home is out there and we can help you find it! Contact us or use our website to search for the current available homes today!

Spring Home Remodeling Tips

painting-1744956_640Before you know it Spring will be here in full force!

Before the list of items for your honey-do list get filled up it’s  good time to start thinking about the bigger projects that may be on the board for the season.

Remodeling, even a small room, is  a great way to invest in your homes value and your own enjoyment, but not all home improvements are created equal – we’ve put together a list of a few of the best ones to get the most bang for your buck!

Install or Upgrade Insulation
If there’s one thing we learn about during the great snowpocalypse of aught 16 was the importance of staying warm! Proper insulation in your home is the difference between not only having good protection against the cold itself but also against the high energy bills as well! Of all the updates you can do for your home insulation ranked as one of the highest returns on investment with most recouping upwards of 90% of the cost over time.

Garage Doors
If your garage faces an alley or side road it’s not such a big deal but if you’re garage is on the front of your house like most it takes up a considerable amount of the visual look of your home. This is why it’s good to make sure that it’s not only in good repair but that it looks as nice as possible – so consider updating it or adding a pop of color.

Hit The Deck
Believe it or not adding a nice deck to your home is among one of the top 5 improvements that adds value to a house. Everyone loves socializing during those long Summer evenings; it’s really a wise choice to make if you want to add an improvement and pamper yourself a little at the same time.

Siding
Literally the skin of your house, and it’s important! Not only does it help keep the weather out but it is also a big part of how you home looks on the outside as well. If your siding is in bad shape it’s definitely time to get it looked at, but otherwise consider a different color or style. An easy fix if your siding is still in good shape is just to give it a good pressure washing every so often to keep it looking nice and clean!

The beginning of the season is always the best time to make plans; whether you’re remodeling because you’re thinking of selling or just because you want to get more out of your home while you are in it there’s a number of things you can do. We’d love the chance to talk with you more about your home, and your ideas – feel free to get in touch!

Don’t Make These De-cluttering Mistakes!

cabinetsYou wouldn’t believe it from the icicles and ice berms stacked up everywhere, but Spring is just around the corner – and that means Spring cleaning!

Getting things cleaned up and tossing out old clutter is a big part of getting ready for the new season but you’ve got to keep a few things in mind if you want to avoid sabotaging the whole idea and ending up with a living room that looks like tornado alley for the next six months. Here’s some great tips to make your hoard disappear!

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?
Procrastination…putting it off til the last minute can absolutely stymie any productive effort. And sometimes, it’s not a matter of being too busy, just a matter of not making things a priority – or even plain outright laziness. Regardless, don’t keep pushing back your plans to get things done. Claim a weekend to start and stick to it.

Taking It All On At Once
Another sure fire way to sabotage your efforts is to try and do it all at once. Be realistic in your goals, especially if you have a lot to get done, and realize it may not all get done in a day, a weekend, or even a week. Set short achievable milestones for best results; maybe even just go room by room to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
It’s true. You need to start with just putting together an idea of what you want done – even moreso if your tackling multiple rooms. Make a list of important items in each room before you even begin, or maybe create a loose timeline of your goals. Taking just a little time before you begin to think of where you want to end is always a good idea.

Struggling to tame the tide of stuff? Considering just moving to get rid of it all? Don’t despair! As your real estate profession I have the resources to help you get your home ready if you’re considering a sale, or can put you in touch with the services you’ll need to make your home happy while you’re in it! GET IN TOUCH!

Tips On Surviving Moving Day

homeraceOh day of days at last! MOVING DAY!

If the thought of that leaves you aghast, don’t worry you’re in good company. Moving day, while one of the most exciting parts of realizing the transition is actually happening can also be completely terrifying – but it doesn’t have to be!

We’ve put together some great tips to help you tame the fear and get through moving day like a seasoned pro!

This guide is more for the key survival items you’ll need other than all of the things in your home you are moving, so first: PACK!

Yes, you should in all hopes have everything actually in boxes and somewhat prepared to be moved from one place to the next before the day itself arrives. Haste makes waste, and waiting til the last minute amplifies chaos. Just taking the time well in advance to be ready for the day itself will make things move much much smoother; if you’re stuffing coats into boxes while the movers are hauling them out it’s a sure bet something is getting forgotten somewhere.

Build Your Moving Survival Pack:

Medicine
There’s nothing that makes a medical emergency even more difficult than not being able to find the first aid. This proves doubly so if the emergency is the simple fact that you can’t find your prescriptions in the hundreds of boxes that now occupy your living room. Be sure to pack essential medicines and a basic first aid kit separately from everything else so it’s easy to find.

Tools
Moving into the new place there will be any number of things that may need fixing, or things that may have gotten broken in the transition that need attention. Even if it’s just hanging pictures you’re going to need a few primary tools that will make your life easier: two kinds of screw driver, a hammer, a wrench or socket set, and some duct tape are recommended. Remember to include a flashlight!

Trash Bags
Whether it’s cleaning up the old place or throwing away the packaging from moving into the new one there is going to be trash. Having a box of trash bags on hand will save you a trip to the store; they can even be used as padding for some of your items during packing so that they’ll be right there when you unpack.

Snack Pack
Chances are most of your perishables aren’t going with you and when you get in the last thing you want to think about is cooking on top of all the insanity going on. Make sure you have some ready to go snacks in your supplies to keep energy levels up and cranky levels down. Think granola, fruit roll ups, juices and of course plenty of water.

Blankets and Comfort
If the beds aren’t going to be setup right away consider a family camp out in the living room the first night. Pack sleeping bags or comforters close to the back so you can build your blanket fort! If you’ve got little ones it’s especially important to keep woobee’s and snuggle animals nearby!

These tips for your moving day survival kit should help you navigate those first crazy few days! Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed reach out to your agent – they are generally an endless source of assistance and may be able to recommend services in the area to help.

Cheap and Easy Tips for a Cozy Fall Spaces

cozy-coffee-pexels-photoCooler temperatures are finally showing up across the country, the leaves are changing to gold ; there is a crispness to the air that lets you know Winter is on the way!

That means it’s time for big sweaters and boots, scarves and hot cocoa and making the home warm and welcoming. We’ve put together some easy (and cheap!) ideas for making things around the house perfect for friends and family!

Layer Up!
A blend of fabrics and textures is a big part in feeling snuggled and warm, so be sure to include a few new big pillows or fluffy throws on the couch to bundle in the cozy feelings. This goes for bedrooms too – a change in pillow cases and sheets can completely change the bedtime feel.

Centerpieces
Even if you’re not having a particularly large gathering at your home a nice table or counter top centerpiece is a great way to change the mood and ring in each holiday.  The possibility of a scent warmer or candle and you can add a great aromatherapy element as well.

Scents!
It’s something that really goes unnoticed, but the smells of your home can really change the whole mood. Consider scented warmers or candles, or even an old fashioned stove top pot of cider to get those rich warm smells flowing. Think warming spices like orange, clove, apple spice, and cinnamon. Here’s a great cider recipe too!

Trappings of the Season
This could be something as simple as swapping out a few of the decorations on the mantle, or hanging a wreath on the front door or near the entry way. Adding a touch of evergreen to your home has been a long tradition for the colder seasons to serve as a reminder that the icy nights won’t last forever – and of course the notorious mistletoe is ever popular come Christmas time.

How do you welcome the seasons and it’s guests into your home?
We’d love to hear about them; if you’re still searching to find a place to call your own get in touch!