The Very Best Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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Fantastic Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016

Well another year is in the books.  I hope you had an incredible 2016!  Like years past, the number of incredible real estate blog articles has continued to grow.

This is now the third year that we’ve highlighted the best very best real estate blog articles from the year here on Rochester’s Real Estate Blog.  The 2014 edition and 2015 edition had such incredible results that it was a no-brainer to write another this year!

As you’ll see below, this years recap of the best real estate blog articles is the biggest yet which doesn’t surprise me since there were many new real estate bloggers this year.  It’s nearly impossible that you’ll be able to read all of these great recaps and articles, so go ahead and bookmark this page, grab your favorite holiday beverage and enjoy!

Below are some recaps of the very best real estate blog articles from 2016.  There are links to each recapped article within the recap.  You’ll find blog articles regarding home selling, home buying, mortgages, home improvement, social media, and much more!  You can conveniently jump to the various real estate blog article topics by simply clicking the links below.

The Very Best Real Estate Blog Articles - 2016 Edition

The Very Best Real Estate Blog Articles – 2016 Edition

The Best Home Selling Articles From 2016

What Marketing Should My Realtor Be Doing To Sell My Home?

Marketing is one of the most important pieces to the home selling puzzle.  Without quality marketing, it’s impossible that a home will get the exposure it needs to be sold.  It’s important to note that if a home isn’t priced correctly, it will not sell even if every marketing technique is used.

As we’re about a week away from 2017, if you haven’t realized that the internet has changed the real estate industry you need to wake up.  The internet has changed the ways homes are sold.  The internet allows prospective home buyers to view pictures, videos, and information about homes that are for sale.

If you’re selling a home and your home isn’t being exposed everywhere online, you’re being short changed.  Think about it for a moment, if you were shopping for Rochester NY homes for sale, I’m guessing the first place you’re going to go is the internet.  Not magazines, newspapers, or the local real estate office.  You’re not alone, over 90% of home buyers are searching online.

As a seller, it’s vital that your home is able to be found.  Not only on websites like Zillow, Trulia, or the local real estate brokerages website, but it needs to be found in dozens of other places.  The person who has complete control over how easily your home is found online is the listing agent.  There are hundreds of real estate marketing techniques that can be used and it’s important your listing agent is using them!

In this article from Rochester’s Real Estate Blog, you’ll discover what real estate marketing strategies should be used to sell homes.  You’ll learn about websites such as Behance and Storify but also learn why your real estate agent needs to use sites like Twitter and Pinterest to sell your home!

Are Open Houses Necessary?

This is a loaded question and there are many thoughts and opinions on it.  Bill Gassett, a top Metrowest Mass Realtor often provides his take on real estate open houses and this fantastic real estate article is no different!  If you have ever looked online regarding open houses you will see there are battle lines drawn between agents who say they are useful to those who say they are worthless.

We also wanted to reach out to Bill to get some of his insight into open houses, since he’s been a top agent for the past thirty years. Here is what Bill had to say:

“Kyle thanks for allowing me the opportunity to address your readers. Lots of sellers ask the question do open houses work? I always answer this question the same way. My response is work for who?

For real estate agents, open houses can be a great prospecting activity, especially for a new agent. This is a great way for an agent to shake hands and meet people. Ideally it can turn into potential business down the road. For sellers, doing an open house is completely unnecessary. We are in the digital age where buyers sit at their computer every day looking at homes they are interested in. When a buyer is actively looking and not just window shopping they will almost always call a real estate agent to schedule a showing.

Of course there are tons of agents who don’t want to admit this because the open house is their ticket to meeting prospects. So what’s the big deal for a seller you might be wondering? Why not just have an open house if an agent is willing to invest their time doing so? Plenty! Open houses, despite what lots of Realtors will tell you are big security risks. Countless homeowners have been ripped off from having anyone with a pulse walk through their doors on a weekend. Secondarily by letting anyone in the door, you get lots of people who are not qualified to pay the asking price. A big waste of time for the seller!

The days of an open house being a necessary marketing activity are long gone. Do you need an open house to sell homes? Absolutely not! Price your home correctly, hire a top real estate agent and you can forget about ever having to worry about doing an open house.”

Smart Tips For Picking The Right Realtor® To Sell Your Home

While there may be plenty of Realtors out there ready to help you sell your home that does not mean any Realtor will just do. Just as with many other professions Realtors have specialties and niches that they serve. A Realtor who primarily works with home buyers may not be the best option for someone wanting to sell their home. The Realtor who claims to have 100% success rate in selling homes also may not be the best option without looking a bit further past the statistics.

As noted above Realtors may provide statistics stating their houses listed end up being 100% sold. That is good in theory but what is behind the underlying statistic? Have they only sold one house? Do they not count houses that don’t sell because they expire? Look beyond the statistics and learn about what the Realtor will do to sell your home.

Don’t be impressed by letters and designations behind Realtor names unless they are backed up by real education. Often times there are many vendors more than happy to charge Realtors money to give them a couple of day class so they can add a designation after their name. Designations may be fine in that they give a little extra knowledge but the requirement to get those designations is nothing more than pay some fees, attend a few classes and maybe take a test. The real experience for a Realtor comes from them having actually sold homes rather than attend a class that teaches how to sell a home.

There are a number of other things to look at to pick the right realtor before selling your home. This article was written by Paul Sian from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Paul is a licensed real estate agent in the states of Ohio and Kentucky. In the article Paul explains in depth what you should be looking at when determining which Realtor to work with when selling your home.

Should I Always Accept The Highest Offer On My Home?

In a strong real estate market, sellers can expect to get multiple offers on their homes. The seller’s natural tendency will be to go with the buyer that is offering the highest price. We all like to be flattered! However, as Seattle Realtor, Conor MacEvilly explains, when selling your home the highest offer is not always the best offer.  It is better to look at the whole offer to see what the buyer is really offering.  When listing your home for sale, the objective is to secure an offer that is the best combination of (1) a good price and (2) has the best change of closing successfully.

For example, the highest offer might be $6,000 above the next offer but might be contingent on an inspection, an appraisal plus they might be putting down only 5%. The 2nd place offer has done a pre-inspection, (is willing to buy the home as-is and is not asking for any repairs), has waived the appraisal contingency and is putting 20% down. If the highest offer is well above the list price, will the home pass an appraisal? Is the potential extra $6,000 worth the added risk of not closing and maybe having to put your home back on the market 3 weeks later? Fewer buyer contingencies reduces the risk that the buyer will not close or that the buyer will be able walk on the sale and take their earnest money with them.

Cash offers can be great since they are not reliant on passing an appraisal and can close a lot faster than a buyer relying on a mortgage. However, just because it’s a cash offer does not make it the best offer. Cash offers can have just as many contingencies as a financed offer plus a cash buyer might be offering a lot less than other offers. Cash it not always king.

So, if you receive multiple offers on your home, don’t obsess solely on the offer price. Make sure to carefully review the whole offer and pick the one that will most likely get you all the way to closing.

The Best Home Selling Articles From 2016

The Best Home Selling Articles From 2016

How To Blow Up A Home Sale

In this blog post, Chris & Karen Highland a top Frederick MD real estate team, point out five mistakes that home sellers often make which jeopardize the success of their home sale. Real estate agents see these kinds of mistakes often, and we want to let sellers know ahead of time what to expect, so they don’t fall into the same traps.

Selling your home can be challenging. It can be emotional for some people. Whenever you sit on the other side of a negotiation, almost anything is possible. It takes an experienced agent to guide you through. It also takes a cool head and a large dose of perspective.

This article is a fantastic read and is loaded with additional resources from other top blogs, many of which are found in this recap of the best blog articles from 2016.  Find out how to blow up a home sale so that you can avoid making these mistakes!

Selling Your Home, Think Like A Buyer!

This article discusses buying and selling your home and how to get ready for this major life event. I know from experience that getting a home ready for sale is an enormous task. Top dollar and a quick sale is always the goal, but making that happen is more than listing a home on the Internet and putting a sign on the lawn. Your real estate agent is going to be the one that markets your home, but you are the one that will get the home ready and make some major decisions along the way.

I find that the best way for a seller to think about selling is to pretend they are buying the home. To understand better, put yourself in the buyers shoes. I often find that sellers think that buyers are going to find value in many parts of a home that will not translate into a feature worth more money. As a seller you need to take that into consideration. Fair market value is what a buyer will pay, and a ten thousand dollar faucet isn’t going to matter much to them.

After you leave your current home you will most likely buy another home. What features and details are you willing to pay for. Will you overpay for a house if the seller put in an upgrade that you don’t like? That is not something I see often. When you live in a home it becomes personal. Buyers don’t pay extra for that.

The second part of acting like a buyer is to view the home without the rose colored glasses you wear each day. Walk around the home and look at all the little flaws that you have meaning to fix but put off until tomorrow. Buyers are looking at everything. They open closet doors and look at all the dust and dirt. Yes, they will open the refrigerator and the oven. It matters more than you might think. A broken door or dirty toilet says that the seller doesn’t pay attention and hasn’t taken good care of the home over the years. Cleanliness is a huge factor. Make the beds and clean up for all showings. Paint prior to listing and decluttering is a huge plus. If you were buying the home, you would be doing all these things too.

Yes, all these things matter. Pretending you are a buyer is a great way to “see the home” as they would and guide you to a quick sale. When you need more assistance, your local real estate agent can help. Top Hudson Valley Realtor®, Janis Borgueta, has done an awesome job in this article discussing why when selling a home you need to think like a buyer!

Flat Fee Home Selling – Is It Worth It?

When it’s time to sell our home, we all want to get as much money out of the home as possible.  Getting the highest price for your home requires skill.   

It can be tempting to cut corners when selling your home.  Ads for “Flat Fee” listing services can sound like a good idea.  Are they?  Maybe you don’t need to spend so much on Real Estate Commissions.

Before jumping to that conclusion, you should look at all the steps involved in selling your home.  First, you will want to prepare your home for photographs and showings.  An experienced Realtor can take an objective look at your home and help you stage it to look its best.  Will a discount Broker take the time to do that?  

Once the home is prepared, you have to determine where you should price the home.  This is one of the most important steps in getting the best price.  Studies have shown that over-priced homes sit on the market longer.  Buyers see how long the home’s been listed.  If it’s been awhile, they’ll decide it’s over-priced or has something wrong.  Over-priced homes end up selling for less than if they had been priced right in the beginning.  Will a discount or flat fee Realtor have the experience to help you get the price just right?

Will the flat fee Realtor help you review offers and look for hidden clauses that can cost you money?  What if you run into problems with the appraisal or inspections?  Will the flat fee service negotiate for you?  This is an important question to ask before you sign an agreement to list with a Flat Fee service.

Finally, if the Realtor is so experienced, why are they cutting their own commission?  In “Flat Fee Listings – Are They Worth It?” La Vegas real estate agent, Debbie Drummond, looks at the many pros and cons of hiring a “Flat Fee” agent to sell your home.

How Can I Sell My Home Fast?

When Coral Springs, FL Realtor® Lynn Pineda set out to write this article, she wanted to answer a very common question that she’s routinely asked by home Sellers; that of how fast can I sell my home?”

Everybody wants to sell their home fast. Nobody has the patience to sit and wait. We want things done now. Right now. Today. Did you ever hear the story, Ears pierced while you wait?  Lynn didn’t realize there’s another option to waiting for your ears to be pierced. The store owner is trying to appeal to the average human who doesn’t like to wait to have something done as they’re always in a hurry.  Well, the same holds true when it comes time to list and sell your home. Home Sellers are in a hurry. “How fast can I sell my home?”, they ask.  They don’t want to wait months on end to sell a home as they’ve got things to do and it doesn’t involve waiting to get their home sold.  They want to know if you’re the one who will be able to sell their home fast. Fast. Very fast. How can a Realtor let it be know that they sell homes fast?!

How you complete this task, revolves all around the PREP as Lynn likes to call it. P for price, R for Realtor, E for exposure and another P for presentation. Sounds pretty simple, right … just a little PREP! It really is that simple when you set out to receive professional Real Estate Advice to ensure the PREP!

Take a look at presentation. It has been said that, “Pretty as a picture, a picture is worth a thousand words, or it has been said: one Monet is worth a 1000 Shakespeare’s” – Exactly!

Unearth the remaining part of PREP in Lynn’s article to be well on your way to a fast home sale.

10 Amazing Tips For Selling Your Home For The Most Money

Selling a home is a big transition for most homeowners. After living in a house for five, ten or even fifteen plus years. You can imagine the time that may be involved when having to pack up a household full of belongings and make the move. During this time, of course, your daily routines and chores are not put on hold, which can make the transition even more interesting.

Nonetheless, leading up to this time there are certain things you should focus on to help you successfully sell your home fast and for more money. In this article are ten tips that are easily laid out in a list format that is also alongside a colorful Infographic for a quick visual guide.

Some of the tips include simple things such as painting rooms neutral colors, cleaning out closets and decluttering, to minor sprucing up to the exterior of the home. These chores and activities are extremely beneficial to any homeowner to help them get a good head start. Making these changes and updates as soon as possible is highly recommended to make the process as easy and successful as possible.

Remember, buying a home is a big commitment. That is why it is important to always look at your house through the eyes of a buyer and stay on top of the upkeep of your property through the years of living there. Doing so can have a very positive impact on the sale of your home when the time does come.

Continue to discover more about how you can sell your home for more money in this article written by Nathan Garrett from Louisville KY. This article is a great resource for sellers to help inform them on how they can achieve a successful home sale.

The Ultimate Home Seller’s To-Do Checklist & Infographic

One of the hardest parts of selling a house is getting it ready to put on the market. At Great Colorado Homes, Andrew Fortune has built an extensive list that covers almost every part of this process. It makes the job MUCH easier when you have a working checklist to help you process through.

Check out their Ultimate Home Seller’s To-Do Checklist & Infographic and be sure to download the PDF document to print later. It makes it much easier to work through the list when you can check off the boxes and write notes to yourself as you get your house ready to sell!

What Every Seller Should Know Before Pricing Their Home

Pricing a home for sale is the most important stages in actually getting the house sold. Price it too high and it will sit on the market and get passed over by buyers even as you start to lower the price. Price it too low and you leave money on the table. If fact even if you have the nicest home in the neighborhood the price you get for it will largely be based on the most recent sales of similar homes.

There are a number of factors that go into to properly pricing a home and sadly what you paid for it has little to do with it. First and foremost is the housing market where you live, is it a seller’s market or a buyers market? Don’t just look at the wider real estate market either but narrow it down to your town, school district and your subdivision.

The condition of your home plays a huge role in how quickly it sells and for how much. Homes that are older but have been well maintained and upgraded nearly always sell faster and and for more money. Buyers in your market may not be interested in or have the money to do expensive repairs to a new home and so they will ignore homes that need them.

How is the competition where your home is located, are there a lot of similar homes for sale or is new construction going to be your competition. Some real estate markets around the country are so hot that as soon as a house gets listed it gets sold which is great for sellers but frustrating for buyers who often times give up or postpone their search which is not good for sellers. So some competition is good and it gives sellers a more accurate Comparative Market Analysis to gauge the market for them.

In this article from real estate agent David O’Doherty in North Carolina, What Sellers Need To Know Before Pricing Their Home, you will learn what factors determine how you should price your home to sell.

The Best Home Buying Articles From 2016

Fantastic Home Buying Articles From 2016

Fantastic Home Buying Articles From 2016

How to Buy a Home Before Marriage

Millennials represent the largest buying pool in the United States. This year alone, Ryan Fitzgerald a Raleigh NC real estate agent worked with three couples who were engaged, with plans to wed. There were a few common questions these couples had, so he decided to address in an article titled How to Buy a Home Before Marriage.

If you are buying a home before marriage, when you’re engaged, there are certain things you will want to know going into the purchase. Understanding how mortgages work, and the impact that not being married at the time will have on your future plans.

Assets, Credit Scores, Income, Debts are all going to play a role in your ability to buy a home with your significant other. It’s important you understand what to expect before you begin the process and how it’s going to work for the future.

Inside this articles are a lot of great tips and strategies on how to work your home purchase, methodically. You don’t necessarily have to implement all of the strategies, use them as a guideline to assist you with a process you’re likely not familiar with!

Rain Is Your Best Friend When Buying A Home

The drier months of summer and spring coincide (for a reason) with the most active period for home sales. The sun is shining and homes are gardens look their absolute best. However, if you buy during the dreary, rainy months of fall and winter, you will have a one big advantage. As rain-sodden Seattle real estate agent Conor MacEvilly explains, rain can help expose a homes hidden problems.

A few days of rain and wind can help expose a long list of potential issues that might go unnoticed, or at last be a lot harder to find, during the drier, sunnier months. For example, is the roof leaking because it needs replacing or because it was improperly installed in the first place? Is water getting into the crawl space or into the basement? Does the property have drainage problems and is rain water is not being diverted away from the home’s foundations?

There are certain tell-tale signs that you can keep an eye out for during the drier months that might be indicative of potential problems once you move into the home. Are the downspouts connected to storm drain or just hang there waiting to dump rain water against the foundation?  Does the basement have a moldy odor or can you see any efflorescence in the basement walls. Do the sheets of plywood in the attics show any signs of water staining or mold?  However, nothing beats the heavens opening up and doing all the hard work for you.

Rain and moisture will rot your home. There’s no point having a Houzz-worthy kitchen with all the latest bells and whistles if the roof is failing or water is pouring into the crawlspace with nowhere to go. It is crucial to take care of the critical structural envelope of your home first before treating yourself to new countertops.

So, if you are looking to buy a home, grab your gumboots and take advantage of Mother Nature’s home buyer’s helper!

Considerations When Buying A Foreclosure

The Real Estate market is in constant fluctuation. Is it a Seller’s or Buyer’s market? Are interest rates going to continue to rise are they have been recently? What are the best areas to buy in where I live? How much will it really cost to buy a house?

These are but a few of the many questions that are discussed on a daily basis in millions of households across the U.S. The questions become even more difficult when there is a very small or limited inventory of homes available. Due to the Internet, buyers have become very sophisticated in being able to search for homes on their own. However, there are still many instances when it is very unwise, for buyers to venture out on their own, without the expertise of a knowledgeable Real Estate Professional.

One such area is if you are considering buying a foreclosed home.  This is an area where you must have a highly qualified professional to assist you, and Michigan real estate agent Wendy Weir explains why it’s important. There truly are actual ‘scams’ and fake companies you have to watch out for, but you must also watch out for the banks. They get the majority of foreclosed properties, and they are contracted  to sell them ‘As-Is’ – which leaves you open to all sorts of financial maybe even devastating results, if you do not have someone representing you that knows what they are doing.

13 Things Buyers Need To Know In A Sellers Market

In 2016, in many real estate markets, there were several months when the market was considered a seller’s market. Multiple offers were happening over and over again. Homes were going under contract within a day. Sometimes even hours after they showed up on the market. Buyers were getting upset that they were missing out on the homes they loved. As a real estate agent helping some of those home buyers, it can be upsetting to see the disappointment the home buyers felt when they lost out on the home they loved. When in a seller’s market, you can’t waste any time. When the homes came on the market, you had to make an appointment quick to get inside to see them. Otherwise, they would be gone before buyers had a chance.
That’s when Angela Duong of Coldwell Banker Tugaw Realtors- Tremonton and owner of decided it was time to write a blog post on the topic. She wrote the article, “13 things buyers need to know in a seller’s market,” in hopes to educate the home buyers on what to prepare for, and what would need to be done to increase their chances of winning the bidding war.
Angela lists some excellent points on how to make a seller’s market work for the home buyers. One of the top points is choosing the right real estate agent. If you have the best agent, then they should be able to give you all the points that you need in assisting you writing an offer. If your Realtor is a good agent they will understand that you need to get in homes as soon as possible when in a seller’s market. Check out the blog post to read all the high points of having your pre-qualification ready all the way to deciding whether buying in a seller’s market is right for you.

5 Killer Multiple Offer Strategies For Home Buyers

For would-be home buyers, competing against multiple offers to win the home of your dreams can be a very stressful time. It can be especially difficult if you’re not adequately prepared with the right multiple offer strategies. Now, if you’re working with an experienced Realtor who’s been down this road before, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about what those strategies are and which one/s might be best to employ in a given situation. That being said, not all agents are created equally. Some have much more experience with heated negotiations than others.
Many other markets throughout the United States are experiencing what we call in the real estate industry a “Seller’s Market”. As a Buyer, you know you’re shopping for your next dream home, in a seller’s market, when inventory levels are drastically low and there are not enough houses available for a large number of potential buyers. This often leads to homes selling much quicker than normal and at a much higher price. The price is commonly inflated due to multiple offers coming from multiple buyers. Basically, it all boils down to the basic economic principle of Supply vs. Demand. If demand is high but the supply is low then prices go up!
In the following article, 5 Killer Multiple Offer Strategies For Home Buyers, Twin Cities Realtor Justin Culley equips home buyers with five of the best and most successful multiple offers strategies that they can use to beat those other would-be buyers and win the home of their dreams! Buying a home can be a very emotional process with lots of twists and turns, especially when competing against multiple offers. Make sure you’ve got a good team around you, with great negotiating strategies, and you might just win the home of your dreams!

Real Estate Investing Strategies

When buying a home you’re making a large investment in real estate. There are some fundamental investing strategies and tips when buying real estate that you need to pay attention to so that you ensure it’s not something you will lose money on.

Ryan Fitzgerald began investing in real estate when he was in his twenties.  He says it’s the best thing he ever did to grow his overall net worth. It didn’t take him long to realize that buying stocks was not for him (at least not in his twenties). Instead, he started to invest in real estate and is happy he did. His first purchase turned into a 70,000 profit in one year with appreciation alone, with an initial investment of $5,000 to buy the house. That is like investing $5,000 in a $5 stock and selling it at $70.

There are certain things he looks for when buying properties. Location is far and away the most important. You have to know where people are going to want to live BEFORE they want to live there. Buying in east downtown Raleigh was an easy decision for Ryan. Millennials represent nearly 60% of all buyers, and it is clear to him they want to be as close to the action as possible. There is only one neighborhood that they could afford to live in, so he bought homes there BEFORE they realized they wanted to live there.

This article from Ryan is an excellent read if you’re considering real estate investments.

5 Simple Ways to Utilize The Internet When Buying a Home

Everyone uses the internet to view homes these days. It’s no longer the “new” way of finding a home, it’s the MAIN way that people find homes. So, if it’s so common, it must be easy to do, right? Not always! It depends on where you are looking.

Andrew Fortune, a Colorado Springs real estate agent says it’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s because his MLS does not share data with the large national real estate websites. So, if you search on Zillow, Trulia, etc. you will not get accurate data on what is actually for sale. It’s very confusing for new home buyers looking in our market for the first time.

Here’s an article that explains 5 Simple Ways to Utilized The Internet When Buying a Home written by Andrew. The internet can help you find a home, but it can also help you find out all kinds of other info that can help you throughout the process as well. This article is a good reference and guide for anyone using the internet to find real estate.

How To Buy A Home You’ve Never Seen

The high cost of travel, combined with busy schedules can make it difficult to buy a home long distance.  As a result some buyers are purchasing homes they’ve never seen.  This may sound like a huge gamble, but technology has made it easier to know what you’re getting into.

If you need to buy a home and can’t go search in person, you’ll need to find a great Realtor.  They will listen to what you want in a home.  They’ll give you information on the different neighborhoods that are convenient to your work.  If you have children, they’ll send links to schools.  They’ll help you get to know your new town as well as the local real estate market.

The internet has made it easy to see homes from a distance.  There is a problem to be aware of.  Photographs can be deceptive.  A few years ago, one of the big complaints was that listings didn’t have enough photos.  Or the photos were of poor quality.

You will still find some listings with no photos or bad photos.  Today, it’s equally likely that photos  have been edited to get buyer’s attention.  Lighting can make a dreary home look cheerful.  Using a wide angle lens can make rooms look bigger.  Sometimes, carpet stains and other flaws are edited out.

If you can’t see the home in person, your Realtor will have to verify that it looks like the photos.  They will go view the home and take their own photos and video.  They will use FaceTime so you can see what it’s like to walk through the home.  They’ll show you the street it’s on and neighboring homes.  They can show you nearby shopping, schools and other locations that might interest you.

When you find “the” home, your Realtor will prepare the offer so you can sign electronically.  No need to sign in person with today’s technology.  If you can’t be there for inspections, your Realtor will use FaceTime or shoot a video.  They’ll have the Inspectors explain any issues they found.

Buying a home you’ve never seen isn’t for everyone.  “How To Buy a House You’ve Never Seen” by top Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Debbie Drummond is a useful guide.

Avoiding Home Buyers Remorse

Avoiding home buyer’s remorse is not often discussed, but it is very real. All of the expert advice on buying a home is correct; it is one of the largest financial purchases you will ever make and it will have a long lasting impact on you. That is why it is crucial to do everything within your power to ensure you will like the home and that the home fits your needs.

In this article, Luke Skar of Inlanta Mortgage covered some important guidelines for making sure you get the right property when you decide to buy a home.

Does the Home Have Everything You Need?

All of us are guilty of thinking we NEED something, when in reality we simply WANT it. Here is an example; you tell your friends and family that you need a home with a 4 car garage, but you only have one vehicle plus your bike. What you are saying is that you want a huge garage for your eventual car collection, but right now you don’t really need it.

Make a list of what you feel like are the most important features of a home to you and your family. This can be anything from the number of bedrooms to the size of the light next to the mailbox. Then, go through each and every item and determine if you will use it, if it fits your current situation and if it will be useful for your future plans. This will help you pinpoint exactly what you are looking for in a home.

Did You Look Through Every Room?

Before signing a contract to buy a home, take some time to look at each room. Walk around the rooms; look at the floors, ceilings, walls, doors, windows, electrical outlets. Inspect everything. Picture your furniture and other items in the various rooms. Once you start to picture yourself at a place you may decide that you actually love the home or you may find a few flaws that make you choose to search for another property.

What Does the Place Feel Like on the Weekends, in the Evenings, in the Morning, etc?

Too many people have bought a home only to find out that the neighbor across the street likes to shoot fireworks twice a week – ALL YEAR LONG. Or that two doors down there seems to be a pop star living in the home because there are always a large number of people coming and going to the place.

Take some time to do a bit of detective work. Drive by the home in the early morning hours when folks are normally preparing to leave for work and school. Jot down notes of the conditions on the road, number of pedestrians and possible traffic problems. Drive by the place early in the evening when people are getting home from work and make more notes. Finally, drive by on Saturday and Sunday. All of this sleuth work should give you some idea of the overall vibe of the neighborhood and the normal behavior of your neighbors-to-be.

Spend as much time looking at the home and the neighborhood as you do on getting the loan for your next home. It will help you find any serious flaws and help you avoid home buyer’s remorse.

8 Things to Have in Place Before Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

Starting the home buying process by grabbing the first available real estate agent online and jumping into a car to view homes is probably the last thing that you should do if you are serious about a positive outcome.

Every home buyer should have a plan, and part of the plan is making sure that you are ready to buy a home. Ideally the entire experience should begin with the end goal in mind and being clear about the steps that you need to take along the way to get there. Just like an architect thinks of a home first in his mind, then he puts his ideas down on paper by creating a construction drawing. Purchasing real estate needs to be approached with the same diligence and responsibility that your trusted REALTOR can guide you with.

The biggest obstacle that often gets in the way of home buyers is not being fully prepared to pull the trigger or to be able to submit an offer when the right opportunity comes their way. The most common reason for missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime is because of not having the bank approval in place on time. While the buyer may have a five star credit rating, a great job and a decent down payment set aside, a few missing documents could prolong the approval process and the seller may not want to hold their breath for so long. At the end, the perfect home in the perfect location may not come around the corner for a while longer or that great bargain that you have been praying about won’t be available the next time.

There are 8 Parts to Making Sure that You Are Ready to Buy a Home before you start viewing properties. This article is written by Joe Samson from Calgary, AB and he explains in great detail the benefits and significance of following these proven steps when shopping for a new home.

The Best General Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016

Best General Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016

Best General Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016

The Impact Schools Have On Home Prices

For the majority of home buyers, their stage of life, amount they are willing to spend on a home, and the needs of their family often take precedence when looking to purchase a home. That makes sense. However, it is also a great idea to consider the importance schools can have on re-sale value as well. A home in a good school district often nets a higher return than a property in a less desirable area.

Even if you do not currently have school age children, do not plan to raise a family, or your kids have left the nest already, the impact purchasing a home in a good school district has should not be ignored.

In her article The Impact Schools Have on Home Prices, Anita Clark a top real estate agent in middle Georgia, covers how to find reasonably priced homes in quality school districts, the power schools have to impact home prices, as well as a host of great statistics to back-up what she says.

If you are prepping to buy a home, this article is a must read to ensure you get a home in a great school district that will have good resale value!

10 Telltale Signs A Home Is Overpriced

“Let’s see what reaction we’ll get from the market at this price and we can always lower it from there.”

Even though it may sound like an innocent attempt at testing the market and have the best intentions, it’s unfortunately quite damaging to one’s home selling process to initiate the marketing of the property at an overpriced level!

In this article “10 Telltale Signs A Home Is Overpriced“, written by top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent Xavier De Buck, he explores the 10 most popular signs home sellers are dealing with an overpriced home. And what does a home seller do once he finds out?

12 Questions To Ask Before Hiring Your Realtor®

You would be surprised, but many people don’t ask many questions before hiring an agent to handle the sale or purchase of their most important financial asset. When deciding who is going to help you with such a crucial transaction, it’s important to assess the skills and experience of the individual that’s going to guide you through the process.

When selling your home, your choice will greatly affect how your property is marketed, how well your agent negotiates on your behalf, the price for which you home sells, and how smooth the transaction is. In this article by Sylvie Zolezzi you’ll discover 12 questions to ask before hiring your Realtor®.

Tips For Becoming A New Realtor®

Jeff Knox, a top Realtor in Dallas TX wrote a killer article about becoming a new Realtor.  Since becoming a new agent can be confusing and time consuming, Jeff has cut through all of the nonsense and provides easy and solid answers as to the best path to becoming a new real estate agent with some very good advice from top fellow Realtors.

If you’re thinking of getting your real estate license, be sure to read Jeff’s article about how to become a new Realtor.

8 Reasons Why Homeowners Love Real Estate Agents

Several years ago with the advancement of the internet, many have predicted that REALTORS are going to be extinct very soon. Fast forward to 2016 and it turns out that there are more real estate agents in business today then there were ever before.

The roles of REALTORS have changed over the last decade and those who could not adjust or didn’t want to change, may be retired by now. But for the majority of the people left in the real estate business, they have realized that the new business model have become customer centered, rather than focused on selling.

Without any doubt, every outstanding agent today has a common trait that is the holy grail to their success. Educating their clients about how to buy and sell real estate have always been their number one priority. Providing tremendous value without asking for anything in return is the secret recipe for earning the loyalty of their clients.

The truth is that there are many Reasons Why REALTORS are Going to be Needed for a Long Time to come. Quite often the services and the tangible benefits of a real estate agent go unnoticed. In this article, written by Joe Samson, you can learn about the true value of a real estate agent.

Are Trulia & Zillow Tricking Real Estate Agents?

This article dissects the newest trick being used by Trulia and Zillow to outrank local Realtors in search engines.  There are some slimy tactics being used by popular websites in order to continue to outrank local real estate websites.  Shared on social media almost 1,000 times in its first week alone, Jeff Knox reminds us that Zillow and Trulia are not friends of ours (Realtors).

If you are an agent who is serious about your online presence, be sure to read Jeff’s article about how Zillow and Trulia continue backstabbing Realtors.

5 Things To Expect When You Choose The Wrong Realtor

When Lynn Pineda, a South Florida real estate professional, wrote this article, her goal was to ensure that the right Realtor is chosen when it comes time to sell a home. (While not the topic of this article, it’s just as important if you’re buying a home, by the way!)  

Our homes are likely our most expensive financial investments and it should always be handled as precious cargo. Grabbing hold of a Realtor with skill and integrity is critical for having any type of success with a home sale. Here in this article Lynn focuses on the home seller and 5 things to expect when you choose the wrong Realtor®.

What happens when you choose wrong when selling a home? Oh the stories. So many horror stories.

Did you know that one of the most commonly reported complaint from customers selling their homes is that of the Realtor’s poor communication.  Lacking communication…being kept in the dark. How does anybody think they’re going to have any success as a Realtor if they don’t value communication. Selling homes is a customer service business.

Servicing customers who are selling a home requires frequent communication. It’s just what we do as Realtors. It’s all about being a customer advocate and the only way to be an advocate is to have the desire to provide excellent communications skills. This involves knowing the importance that home Sellers want to connect and want to be able to reach their Realtor when they need them, while hearing back from them in a timely manner.

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, be sure to take a closer look at Lynn’s fantastic article to discover what you’ll want to avoid in order to have success at selling a home, not to forget that much needed peace of mind that would be welcomed too.

The Best Mortgage Articles From 2016

Top Mortgage Articles From 2016

Top Mortgage Articles From 2016

How Do Student Loans Impact Getting A Mortgage?

There are many reasons that today’s buyers aren’t able to obtain a mortgage to buy a home.  One of the biggest culprits nowadays are student loans.

Most people who are taking out student loans to pay for their education rarely think about the ramifications they may have on getting a mortgage.  Depending on the type of mortgage a buyer is applying for will change the impact student loans have on the mortgage process.

It’s imperative that if you’re going to be buying a home and have student loans, you understand the impact student loans have on buying a home.  In this article from Rochester’s Real Estate Blog, you’ll find out how student loans impact getting an FHA loan, conventional loan, and other extremely important information.

What Are Mortgage Overlays?

All mortgage lenders, whether it is a local credit union, a large national bank or a mortgage specific institution, have one thing in common; they want to avoid risky loans. In order to identify the type of risk that they will not accept, these lenders have developed their own rules called mortgage overlays.  Luke Skar wrote an absolute gem of an article in 2016 talking about mortgage overlays and below is just a short recap of what to expect!

Basic Information About Mortgage Overlays

The big mortgage groups Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA, VA and USDA do NOT lend money to customers. They simply provide rules and guidelines for the type of loan that they will accept. Mortgage lenders, like credit unions, banks, and mortgage brokers actually provide the money to customers to buy a home while following the aforementioned rules and guidelines.

However, most lending companies have faced one or two situations where the guidelines were followed but a customer stopped paying on the mortgage. This pushed the lender into a risky category and jeopardized their ability to make more mortgage loans in the future. Thus, the mortgage overlay was designed.

Typical Mortgage Overlay Examples

Here are some basic examples to illustrate how mortgage overlays work.

Mortgage Overlay Examples

Mortgage Overlay Examples

All of the overlays are designed to protect the lender. These rules have nothing to do with the borrower’s race, gender, religious preference or any other personal trait. It boils down to the lender looking at payment history from the past and picking out patterns of risk. The mortgage overlays are then put in place to avoid the risk.

Tips For Transferring A Mortgage To Your Spouse

There are several reasons why a mortgage transfer may make sense for couples such as their desire to refinance to a lower monthly payment (and the credit of one spouse is significantly better than the other), settling an outstanding debt or as a gift, or as is most commonly the case, when a divorce is imminent.

A mortgage transfer can be a cumbersome process but if you know the steps to take, who to contact, and the terminology involved, it can go relatively smoothly. In this detailed article, Anita Clark covers numerous Tips on Transferring a Mortgage to Your Spouse.

If you do decide you want to transfer your mortgage, it is a great idea to locate important real estate documents and information before you contact a lender to speed up the process. If possible, it is a good idea to keep your wits and seek counsel from multiple sources so that you can make informed decisions along the way.

As is the case anytime you want to know the liability issues involved in a home sale, contact a real estate attorney to get the latest information!

The Best Home Improvement & Remodeling Articles From 2016

Killer Home Improvement & Remodeling Articles From 2016

Killer Home Improvement & Remodeling Articles From 2016

7 Insane (But True) Factors That Pull Down A Homes Value

There are hundreds of things that can pull down a homes value.  Many of these factors are not that obvious and are surprising to homeowners.

For example, did you know that an out of this world bathroom can actually pull a homes value down?  It’s true, homeowners who go absolutely crazy with a remodel project such as a bathroom or kitchen can actually bring the value of their home down.

This article written by Xavier De Buck here on Rochester’s Real Estate Blog provides 7 surprising factors that pull down the value of a home.  There are some fantastic examples and insights into an important remodeling and home improvement topic.

Are Solar Panels A Smart Home Improvement?

One of the latest crazes in home improvement is adding solar power.  With utility costs going up all around the country homeowners are rushing to install solar power systems on their homes. While solar is a great way to reduce your energy bills, there is a lot of misinformation out there on how it affects the market value of a home.

We reached out to Bill Gassett who has covered this topic in detail in 2016 to get his thoughts on whether or not solar power really does add value. Here is what he had to say.

“Kyle in my experience despite what the solar power companies will tell you adding solar power will not increase a homes value by tens of thousands of dollars. In fact whether or not it adds any value depends on quite a few things including the following:

  • Whether the solar panels are leased or owned.
  • What part of the country your home is located in.
  • Where the solar panels will be located on the home.
  • The type of property you own.
  • What the starting value of the home is at the time of installation. (Higher- priced homes tend to receive more value).
  • How much energy you will be saving.


Each of these factors will have a bearing on how much solar power adds to the value to a home. If you are going to be purchasing solar for your home do it for the long term benefit of monthly savings to your energy bill not the instant increase of value.”

Tips For Increasing The Value Of Your Home

Are you thinking of remodeling your home? Whether you are thinking of selling in the near future or making the improvement for your own enjoyment, you should make sure to consider how your improvements will affect the value of your home.

Marin County Realtor, Sylvie Zolezzi discusses 12 tips to increase the value of your home. It is important to keep in mind that when you sell your home, you hardly ever get 100 cents on the dollar, no matter what the improvement.

The Best Social Media, Blogging, & Real Estate Articles From 2016

The Best 2016 Social Media & Blogging Articles For Real Estate

The Best 2016 Social Media & Blogging Articles For Real Estate

20 Real Estate Blog Article Ideas That Don’t Suck

All bloggers and content creators get writer’s block. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been writing award-winning articles for years or just finished your first post. Everyone gets stuck, or burnt out, or just tire of the constant demand. At Easy Agent Pro, they’re huge proponents of blogging and putting out original content to provide value for readers.

The challenge can often be that this is something that’s got to be frequently. Like, everyday. So, what do you do when you get stuck? For those newer to blogging or vlogging this can all seem pretty intimidating.

To combat some of these stresses, the great folks at Easy Agent Pro put together a list of 20 blog topics for real estate agents that don’t suck.

The title may come off a bit crass, but it’s also attention-grabbing. The content itself is actually really helpful. For this piece, they took generic, overdone subjects and made them relevant again. Sometimes all it takes is getting a fresh perspective on a familiar talking to get those writing gears going again.

Topics like monthly market reports, market stagnation, mortgage rates, debt…etc. can all be made interesting and readable with the right twist. A lot of this has to do with knowing your audience, but you can also get to know them very well by putting out valuable content regularly.

It may take your website blog or Youtube channel a while to gain traction and start attracting quality traffic and that’s okay! The more you write and produce content the more comfortable you’ll be sharing it weekly, if not daily.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in a bit of a rut, set some content-related marketing and lead generation goals for yourself and get started on them by reading this blog article!

Why Real Estate Agents Should Be Using Pinterest

If I told you that Pinterest was responsible for more traffic to Rochester’s Real Estate Blog than any other social network, would you believe me?  How about if I told you that it was responsible for more traffic to this site than Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus combined, would you believe me?

Well, you should, because it’s true!

Pinterest is the most underused social media network by real estate professionals.  Those who’re killing it on Pinterest cannot believe this but it continues to be underused.

In this article you’ll learn why and how to use Pinterest in real estate.  Check out this article, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Social Media Tips For Real Estate Agents

The importance of social media to gain brand exposure, share relevant consumer content, and to build a local niche resource for buyers, investors, and sellers is paramount to staying top of mind with real estate consumers.

In a recent article by Anita Clark over on, she shares several key Social Media Tips for Real Estate Agents to help propel your online presence to new levels. The quality of the information you provide, and the more ways that content can be found, the more consistent your opportunities will be to help consumers buy and sell homes.

Anita explains the importance of using social media as an engagement tool, including the key sites we should be using, as well as an incredible list of complimentary sites we can use to reach real estate consumers and increase awareness, exposure, and aid in the syndication of information. She also explains the importance of being ourselves and engaging as often as we can on social media.

For optimal results, we must engage with those who are responding to the content we are sharing!

Instagram For Real Estate Agents – 41 Professionals Who’re Killing It!

We’ve had a great time keeping up with all the rapidly advancing social media tools and trends for real estate agents this year. Easy Agent Pro has many, many blogs dedicated to Facebook marketing tactics, but one of our favorite articles of the year focused on a different social media giant.


Sure, the network might be owned by Facebook, but it’s a very different platform for agents. Like all social sites, it comes with its own set of guidelines for success. Only without any kind of user-friendly manual. So, to best demonstrate Instagram’s traffic and lead-generating potential for agents, we decided to find over 40 agent-run accounts that are totally dominating and write a post about them.

In this blog, you’ll find 41 of the top agents of Instagram and a breakdown of exactly how they’re using the platform to drive more qualified leads to their agent site.

From the use of hashtags, filters, to cross-promoting and network building, these agents are doing it all!

Easy Agent Pro has also published multiple blogs on the more technical aspects of Instagram, along with all major social platforms, but what better way to learn how to utilize a platform than by example?

While the digital landscape will continue to change and agents will always be having to focus on sharpening their tech skills and marketing tools, those who continue to dominate across the net, or even on a single social platform, will have a much better chance of adapting to new technology and using it to propel their business and better serve their clients.

Did you make the list? Check out the roundup from Easy Agent Pro to see the top 41 real estate agents who’ve been killing on Instagram in 2016!

Snapchat & Real Estate

2016 saw many changes and “evolution’s” in our communication options, and tools available for marketing real estate. On top of the many tried and true methods of marketing homes for sale, Facebook Live, and now Instagram Live hit the scene this year. They created a whole new marketing & branding opportunity to those who moved quickly to adopt and adapt.

But the social network that really shook things up in a BIG way in 2016 was Snapchat. Snapchat has been waiting in the wings so to speak, steadily gaining in popularity among millennials (the first-time homebuyers!). Snapchat actually surpassed Twitter earlier in 2016 in active users, but still was largely ignored by real estate professionals. It wasn’t until the first few months of 2016 when Snapchat burst onto the real estate scene and demanded respect.

Now, while most real estate agents still “don’t get it” and don’t yet understand how to even use Snapchat, many real estate agents are closing deals and growing their business as a direct result of their efforts on Snapchat. If you’re one of the many who don’t understand Snapchat yet, please accept and embrace this fact up front: Snapchat is VERY different than the others. It’s not like any other social network.

As you’ll learn from Dustin Brohm in his article, it would be a mistake to not at least start learning how to use Snapchat for real estate marketing. A few months afterwards, Dustin wrote a follow-up article about his success on Snapchat. He explains how the real, tangible, short-term benefit for Realtors to use Snapchat is not what you would think it is.

The bottom line is, whether you understand it or not, Snapchat is here to stay, and can no longer be ignored. Who knows, once you take the time to learn Snapchat, it may end up being one of your favorite ways to market your real estate business.

Final Thoughts

Thank you to all of the top professionals that wrote these excellent articles in 2016!  It’s incredible to see the continued growth of quality real estate bloggers.  I suspect that the 2017 edition (yes, you can count on it) will be even better!

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About the authors: The above article “The Very Best Real Estate Blog Articles From 2016” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock). With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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