How to pick a real estate agent that suits your needs.

 

Many factors contribute to the experience and success of buying and selling homes, but even in the digital age of a more transparent real estate market, working with a good real estate agent continues to be one of biggest impacts on either side of the transaction.
But how do you pick the right person to represent you or your home?
Before you just start asking your friends or digging through the fliers in your mailbox or hunting online, here are a few dos and don’ts you should seriously consider when selecting an agent.

 

Do:

 

  • Ask people you trust for agent recommendations, but take what they say with a grain of salt. Did they recently buy a home in your same price range?  Have they had a      successful time selling their home? Just because this agent worked out well for them does not guarantee the same experience for you.
  • Research. Most real estate websites, including Zillow, have online agent reviews. This can be a good starting place.
  •  Find an agent that specializes in what you’re trying to do. Don’t select an agent who sells $2 million homes to help you find a $200,000 home. Check out current home      listings. Do you like the photos, the description? Try contacting the agent to see if they’re available for you.
  • Interview the agent. What is their specific marketing plan for your home? How will they negotiate so that you can be the winning bidder on your dream home? Why are they the best option for you? Can you call some of their past clients?
  • Set up expectations. What do you want from them? Outline your needs from the get-go so there won’t be any surprises down the road.
  • Make sure you get along with the agent. You don’t need to be best friends, but ultimately there should be some sort of rapport that allows for a successful business      relationship.

 

Don’t:

 

  • Pick friends or family. You don’t want to jeopardize a friendship if the buying or selling process gets difficult. Also, be wary of hiring even a friend of a friend, or someone recommended. If you’re serious about real estate, find someone that you can be honest and professional with. Unfortunately, that may not include your cousin or your best friend’s spouse.
  • Pick someone who dually represents the buyer and the seller of the property you’re looking at. They may not be able to be fully transparent with you.
  • Be afraid to break up with your agent. Be honest and simply tell the agent it’s not working out. List your reasons and be respectful.
  • If you’re not quite ready to be tied down to a particular agent, it’s better not to engage one until you’ve made a formal decision. You can communicate with an agent and ask    for advice, but be clear upfront where you stand.

article by Erika Riggs/Zillow

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Useful tips for the First Time and Experienced home buyer

Here are some great tips for the First time and experienced home buyers by Diedre Wollard-Real Estate News

What You Need to Know About Radon and Asbestos Before Buying

When you are buying a home, making sure that it is safe for you and your family is of prime importance. It’s not just critical for your health; it’s also vital to ensure that the home is a sound investment. As you go through your inspection process, your agent may recommend inspections for both radon and asbestos, especially if your home was built before 1960. Both of these materials are carcinogens known to cause cancer through heavy, repeated exposure. Radon is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, according to EPA estimates.

What is radon?

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Because the air pressure inside your home is usually less than that of the soil it stands on, this acts as a vacuum, drawing radon gas (if it is present) into the home. Radon is a fairly common occurrence. Half of American homes have a radon level above the average level. One in 15 homes has a level high enough that the U.S. government has recommended that action be taken to control the leakage. Radon comes in through the foundation, where the foundation comes in contact with the soil; through gaps, cracks and cavities in walls where plumbing enters; and through construction joints.

A simple home test shows whether radon is above the safe level. The kit is placed in the lowest lived-in area of the house, generally the first floor or basement, for two or three days. The average outdoor level of radon is 0.4 pCi/L,  and the average indoor radon level is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L. Generally, a level below 4 pCi/L is considered safe. If testing reveals an unacceptable level of radon in the home, the good news is that radon remediation methods are highly effective. Your inspector can make recommendations for licensed treatment experts, or you can find one online or through your real estate agent. Radon mitigation is like many other home repairs — you may want to get a few estimates before choosing your radon contractor.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a heat- and fire-resistant material that was used in homes before 1960 in insulation for heating pipes and attics, as well as roofing and siding materials. Asbestos is made of long fibers that can be breathed in easily. When inhaled, these fibers can become lodged in internal body tissues, and this can cause cancer. Most people develop no symptoms unless they are exposed to high amounts of asbestos. In older homes, often the best thing you can do is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. You are not in danger unless the material is damaged and fibers are released and inhaled. The inspection will determine if the asbestos is deteriorating and causing a problem and needs to be removed.

If either radon or asbestos is found in the property and you like the home, you shouldn’t necessarily pass on buying it. With the help of your real estate agent, you can get a recommendation for experts who can prescribe treatment and give you estimates. From there, you can decide whether it’s worth it to negotiate purchase price of the property with the home owner. Often the professionals licensed to treat these problems are licensed for both radon and asbestos, so you can deal with one person. Both situations are common enough that they can be taken care of easily and do not need to stop you from buying the home.