Five Tips for Finding Your Ideal Long Neck Real Estate Agent
A few of Long Neck's professionals operate as one-person enterprises, but that’s unusual. Even a one-doctor medical practice has back-up staff. Most lawyers, even if they aren’t in a partnership arrangement, have at least one assistant or secretary to help. Small commercial businesses are called ‘mom and pop’ operations because…well, you get the picture. Almost any serious enterprise takes a team effort to get anywhere—especially in this day and age.
So it’s no surprise that when they set about buying an area home or selling their own, most Long Neck folks don’t take on the project all by themselves. Even though the average American family buys a new home every 7 to 10 years, constantly changing state and local regulations make keeping up with them a professional-level challenge. And even though the first part of the buying process—finding the most likely listed properties—can be started from your computer, as soon as the winnowing begins, the knowledge of a Long Neck real estate agent—someone who lives and breathes real estate—soon becomes crucial.
As we wade deeper into the 2016 election cycle, one of the themes that keeps coming up is “leadership”—the ability to recruit and direct expert help. When buying or selling an Long Neck home, it’s no different: you want the team you assemble to be as strong as possible. That will free you for your most important leadership role, the decision-making. The first order of business is to find an agent who will not only assist with all the real estate transactional details, but also help identify and recommend other reliable professionals you will need in successive steps of the process. Since finding that agent starts with you, here are some tips to help focus your selection:
· Everyone responds differently to differing personalities. What type of person do you click with? Do you envision a real estate agent who is a straight shooter—who will deliver realistic advice, a bubbly personality full of optimism—or perhaps a bit of both? Jot down the personality traits that you would like to see in your agent.
· Identify needs unique to your situation. If you’re house hunting on a tight budget and need a home fast, you want an agent experienced in finding affordable options. If you’re selling an expensive home in a much-sought-after neighborhood, you might want a Long Neck real estate agent who’s sold high-end properties in the neighborhood.
· Ask colleagues, neighbors, and friends for recommendations. Don’t collect referrals from just one source. Everyone in your neighborhood might use the same agent, but a colleague might have another recommendation. You want to shop around for an agent, so don’t rely on just one referral.
· Check credentials. A credentialed real estate agent is absolutely essential. Of course, nix any agent who isn’t licensed in our state.
· Interview your short list. When you meet with potential agents, ask for a list of recent sales completed near your price point. See if you are comfortable with how the agent prefers to communicate: phone, email, text, or a mix. Finally, request the contact information for a few recent clients to check references—and then check them!
- Written by Russell Stucki
Long Neck Homebuyers Should Check on Credit Report Inclusions
Here is a one-question True or False exam that every future Long Neck first-time home buyer should take:
True or False:
One sure way to build a strong credit report is to pay your bills on time.
Particularly for a first-time Long Neck home buyer, being able to present a strong credit report can make the difference between being able to afford a quality home that satisfies all your ‘must haves’—or one you just sort of settle for.
It’s about how much you can comfortably afford. The interest rate you will be offered is directly related to your bill-paying history, and a percentage point (or more) can make a big difference in your monthly budget. Because lending institutions charge more or less based upon the degree of risk they believe a loan carries, the stronger your credit report, the “more house” your monthly payment will cover.
Of course, since a string of unbroken records of punctual payments is what lenders look for, you might think that the answer to my one-question True or False exam would be an unqualified ‘True’—but not so fast. There’s a small catch is in the unbroken records that they look for. The word records.
Just paying your bills on time doesn’t build a strong credit report unless there are records of it—and for Long Neck first-timers who have been paying rent for years, all those prompt payments could well be missing in action. The surprising reason lies in the nature of our whole credit reporting system.
As the L.A. Times spotlighted last summer, landlords, phone and cable companies, “and many other creditors don’t report your payments” to the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). They aren’t required to do so. If you’re planning on becoming one of our Long Neck first-time home buyers, that might be a big deal—especially since rent payments usually make up the lion’s share of what you buy on credit. But you can do something about it!
Recognizing the difficulty some first timers were having in qualifying for home loans precisely because of such missing data, about five years ago, the credit bureaus teamed up with services like RentTrack that enable tenants to pay their rents online—and get credit for them. TransUnion and Experian also introduced services like “ResidentCredit” and “RentBureau” that encourage property managers to report rent payments for their tenants. That makes sense for landlords, too, because when rent payments are recorded, it enables them to better gauge the creditworthiness of their next batch of applicants.
- Written by Russell Stucki
Long Neck Home Inspection Should be Positively Negative!
Whenever we think of how our Long Neck home staging professionals approach their craft, it’s all the positives that come to mind—how they transform a ho-hum living room into a welcoming showplace; a run-of-the-mill front porch into a curb appeal magnet, etc. That is true, but equally important are the negatives they address. Stagers locate and eliminate elements that detract.
This is all by way of pointing out that another element of the Long Neck real estate industry—the home inspection part—provides an extremely positive contribution by zeroing in on negatives. It’s pretty darned important that a Long Neck home inspection do just that!
Picture this: it’s just under a year since you bought your home, but what started out as a dream home is beginning to take on aspects of a nightmare. Cracks have appeared in the foundation (were they there all along?); asphalt tiles are raining down onto the driveway (am I seeing gaps up on the garage roof?); and puddles are springing up in the basement underneath the network of pipes that (now that I’m looking closely) do seem to show a bit more rust than they probably should…
This is the kind of evolving nightmare no Long Neck home buyer should have to deal with. A thorough home inspection unearths problems before you close on the home—so while it may require an investment of a few hundred dollars, it’s the most sensible way to prevent expensive (but foreseeable) maintenance surprises down the road. Going about tapping a professional whose home inspection credentials measure up won’t take an undue chunk of your time:
· Survey the ratings
This is an area where the Better Business Bureau is truly invaluable. Likewise, customer feedback sites like Angie’s List offer reviews of Long Neck home inspection services that are full of useful information. The only detail that’s less attention-worthy is cost. When you’re in the process of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, paying a bit extra for a superior home inspection is “pound-wise.”
· Note ties to the Long Neck community
Home inspectors who have maintained strong ties to the Long Neck business community have their reputation riding on the line with every inspection. Their incentives are perfectly aligned with yours for providing a thorough inspection with written findings that will hold up over time.
· Consider a structural engineer or another specialist
If there’s a question about the structural integrity of the home, look for an inspector with engineering credentials. Likewise, if there are questions about other areas of the house (like the electrical system), be open to calling in an appropriate specialist to take a look. It’s really your peace of mind that will benefit.
- Written by Russell Stucki
Danish Home Interest Rates Spawn Negative Mortgages
Since Long Neck home interest rates continue to play such a leading role for buyers in today’s real estate market, any relevant news items bear watching. For quite a while, home interest rates in Long Neck have cooperated nicely, dwelling at tantalizingly low levels. It’s been helpful to sellers and buyers alike.
Meanwhile, some strange headlines about European home interest rates have been appearing from time to time. They never seemed to make much sense, but it’s Europe, after all—and we have our hands full trying to clarify our own economics right here on this side of the Atlantic.
Yet there are some headlines you just can’t ignore. Late last month, this one appeared in Yahoo Finance:
“NEGATIVE MORTGAGE RATES IN DENMARK”
After pausing to be certain the item wasn’t under an April Fool’s dateline (it wasn’t), further examination didn’t dispel the feeling that someone at Yahoo had spent too much time reading Alice in Wonderland. The article said that bank interest rates had declined so far that home interest rates in at least one country had now fallen below zero.
In other words, through the looking glass.
Now, before leaping to the conclusion that home buyers in Denmark would therefore expect banks to pay them every month, this seemed to be the point at which bringing a little common sense would be called for!
That, according to Yahoo, is exactly what’s going on in Denmark.
Since we’ve all been hoodwinked by silly news items on the web, here is where it was clearly time to check out other authoritative sites. A respected European blogger named Jan Oravec stated in no uncertain terms, “Many economists consider negative interest rates impossible.” But reading further, Oravec admitted that nonetheless they do exist.
Per Market Realist: “In Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, and [you guessed it] Denmark, it was about time we saw negative mortgage rates in Europe as well.”
Bloomberg Business quoted Danish Business Minister Henrik Larsen: “There’s a need for us to create clarity over how we can best handle this situation going forward” (that seems to be something of an understatement).
Yahoo got specific: "Nordea Bank’s IT systems need to be reprogrammed as it’s not accustomed to situations where the bank isn’t receiving interest payments on outstanding mortgages.”
According to a Google translation of blogger gjohnsit, banks there “have had to pay interest back instead of charging them.” Reading our minds, he asks, “How is it possible, that someone could go to a bank, take out a mortgage, and expect the bank to give them money every month?”
The answer, according to economists, is Euro deflation (but then again, wasn’t it economists who considered negative interest rates to be impossible?)…
We might be tempted to wish for the same situation for our own Long Neck home interest rates, but I don’t know. There is an aura of something-for-nothing hovering over the whole idea. Besides, today’s mortgage rates are already quite reasonable—and a solid reason to give me a call!
- Written by Russell Stucki