10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Realtor

It’s time to buy or sell a home?  Where to start?  The first thing you’ll need to do is hire a Realtor.  Stop what you’re doing and call me now!  I’ll wait…
 
If you haven’t called me yet that’s ok.  Most people interview multiple Realtors before making a decision.  Here are some of the best questions to ask before hiring someone to represent you.
 
1. How long have you been in real estate?  
 
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a freshly licensed Realtor.  However, we do not have a school or training that teaches us how to handle challenges that will arise during a transaction We have on the job training so the more transaction an agent’s completed the more experience they might have.
 
2. Do you work full time or part time in real estate?  
 
Stands to reason that a full time Realtor might have more experience than a part time agent.
 
3.  Where do you work primarily?  
 
If you’re looking to buy in Napa, you might not want to work with an agent who sells in San Francisco.  I have turned down business because it is outside the area I work.  A Realtor should have their “boots on the ground” in the area they work.  They should know the nuances of the market.  I’m wary of an agent who works too broad an area.  You should be too.
 
4.  What’s your marketing plan?  
 
When listing your home with a Realtor you’ll want to know some of the following.
 
How will they photograph your home?  With their smartphone?  A professional photographer?  
 
Where will they market your home?  E-mail campaigns?  Direct mail?  Social media?  Do they have a dedicated website for your home?  Your Realtor should have a marketing plan for your home.
 
5.  Do you have a strategy for buyers?
 
Does the Realtor have the capabilities to send you information on homes the minute they hit the market?  With the lack of inventory this is a very competitive market.  You’ll need info on homes asap to get your offer accepted.
 
6.  Do you have references?
 
A good Realtor should provide references of past clients.  Contacting them would be a good idea too.
 
7.  May I see the documents I will sign when making an offer or listing your home?
 
Going over some of the documents before listing your home or making an offer will get you comfortable with them.  Please note:  Each transaction is different and the documentation will be different too.  There are a few docs that are in most transactions.  Your Realtor should be able to go over them in detail with you.
 
8.  Do you have a team of professionals you work with?
 
Your Realtor should have professionals they work with often.  Escrow officers, insurance agents, financial lenders, and inspectors are among the professionals needed to complete a transaction.
 
9.  Do you have guarantees?  
 
If you sign a listing or buyer’s agreement and find you’re unhappy with the Realtors services can you get out of your contract?  Has anyone ever cancelled a contract because they were unsatisfied?  Does the Realtor have a communication agreement?  How often do they intend to update you?  If they do not update you is there accountability?  
 
10.  Is there anything else I should ask you?
 
Pay close attention to their answer.  There maybe additional things you’ll need to know.  A Realtor should take their time with you.  They should make sure you’re completely comfortable with their experience and knowledge.  They should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to better serve you.
 
These are a few of the questions you should ask a Realtor before hiring them.  Take your time interview a few before making a decision.  Picking the right Realtor is a very key decision in the home-buying or selling process and I want to see you do it right. There are so many great real estate professionals out there willing to work hard for you, so consider the advice above as you make your selection.

 

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12 Reasons To List Your Home During The Holiday Season

Thinking of selling your home?  The holiday season might be a better time than you think.

  1. There’s less competition for buyers:   Many sellers believe it’s better to list their homes in spring, leaving less options for buyers.
  2. Winter prospects are more serious buyers:  Winter buyers are typically because of a time sensitive move and have a “need” to make a buying decision as opposed to a “desire” to make a buying decision.
  3. Your Home Looks Its’ Best During The Holidays:  Buyers make an emotional decision to buy.  Seasonal decorations, cozy fireplaces and the smell of freshly baked cookies and pumpkin pie makes are very appealing.
  4. One of the highest percentages of Listings Sold to Listings Taken occurs during this time of the year:  Statistics show housing sales can remain steady in the winter months, while the number of new homes entering the market decreases, creating a trend towards a seller’s market during this time.
  5. You may receive more money for your home:  With less competition, homes sold during the holidays tend to sell for more, in less time.
  6. You can restrict showings during the holidays:  Don’t worry about working showings around family activities. Sophisticated showing services, like the one used by yours truly, make it easy to keep buyer’s agents up-to-date on available showing times.
  7. Buyers have more time to look at homes:  School is out, many businesses close for extra days around Christmas and New Year’s, and out of town visitors abound. Buyers have additional time off to look at houses.
  8. January is traditionally the biggest moving month:  Primarily because of school calendars, many people will move during the single month of January, as opposed to over the four months of summer.
  9. You can sell now and delay the closing, or even extend occupancy into the next year when moving is more convenient:  Buyers taking advantage of holiday time off to search for a home may not need to move until spring, giving you plenty of time to find your new home and plan a convenient move.
  10. When you sell your home during the winter, you are in a position to buy in the spring when there are more homes on the market:  If you can wait until spring for your new home you will have many more homes to choose from and the advantage of negotiating without a contingency on the sale of your home first.
  11. There may be fewer showings during the winter, but more qualified and motivated buyers:  t’s all about the quality over quantity when it comes to winter buyers. Expect fewer showings, but be prepared for quick offers from serious buyers.
  12. Corporate transferees can’t wait until spring to buy a home:  Corporations like to move their employees at the first of the year, therefore, giving transferees a deadline to negotiate a home purchase in their new city.

I Wish You And Your Family A Fantastic Holiday Season!  If I can be of assistance in anyway please contact me anytime.

 

Warren Buffet’s Optimism About U.S. Economy

Warren Buffet the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway wrote his annual stockholder’s letter and made several interviews about the economy.  In short he’s not worried.  CBS reported the 3 reasons Warren’s optimistic about the economy.

One:  Warren says the economy is growing, maybe not at the rate we’d all like to see, but it’s growing faster than our population is. The Gross Domestic Product is $56,000, which is six times higher than when he was born.

Two:  Our standard of living is far greater than any other time in history.  The average life expectancy is now 78 years.  Advances in medical and technology all point to a better quality of life for us.

Three:  Warren believes, sympathetically, that even though the gap between the haves and have nots are growing the have nots will have a better quality of life.  Again advances in tech and medical are leading the way to improvement of our quality in life.

In summary Warren said that children born in the U.S. today are the luckiest in history.  That says a lot coming from the Oracle of Omaha.

Five Great Real Estate Apps

 The smartphone is an amazing piece of technology. It is perfect for real estate. There are thousands of apps for real estate. The question is which should I use? I did some research on the top apps and these are my top five picks.

  1. Dwellr: Dwellr taps the U.S. Census Bureau providing info on a number of subjects from median age of residents, percentage of families, commuting options, median price of homes, etc. Use this app to find the right neighborhood as you’re looking for a home. Dwellr is a free app.
  2. GreatSchools: GreatSchools is a great app for checking out the schools in a particular neighborhood. It tells you which school a home is zoned for and how they stack up against other schools. GreatSchools is a free app as well.
  3. Homesnap: Take a picture of any home. Homesnap will get the info on beds, baths, when it sold last, similar listings, nearby sales and more. If the home is on the market you’ll be able to see the pictures. Homesnap is a free app.
  4. AroundMe: Want to know where the coffee shops, ATM, grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants are? This app uses your location to give you that info. It’s a free app.
  5. My Personal Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices App: This is my personal gift to you! This app allows you to easily search for homes in your area, by city, by price, by street and much more. Once you see a house or area you love you can let me know through the app. To get the app go to app.bhhsre.com/BHHS1018501 You can also text BHHS1018501 to 87778 to download it.

The home buying process can be difficult. These apps will definitely help you on your way to buying a home. Your absolute best resource is me a dedicated, knowledgeable real estate agent who cares about you. Contact me to begin building your legacy. Go to www.GhislettaRealty.com today.

Year End Recap 2016 Forecast

As we begin 2016 it’s good to look back at the past year.  2015 has been a good year for real estate growth.

According to California Assoc. Of Realtors (CAR) sales in Napa county were down from 2014.  However prices increased 10.9% to a median price of $664,470.  California as a whole saw median prices rise by 5.7%.  Napa is outpacing California.

This past year has seen a increase in the number of single family permits drawn (21) and a huge increase in multi family dwellings (148).

Interest rates in 2015 hovered around 4% based on the CAR report.  An Article in SF Chronical states interest rates may slowly increase in 2016 as the market begins to normalize.  However the risk of increasing rates too quickly may halt a growing market so don’t expect a drastic increase.

2016 looks to be another good year.  CAR reports unemployment is predicted to continue to decrease, and the economy grows steadily. Housing Predictor’s forecast for 2016 says Napa prices could increase by 12.7%!  It looks to be another year of increasing equity in real estate.

Increasing prices, reasonably steady interest rates, job growth and economic growth make 2016 an excellent time to buy or sell.  There are changes in the market and the way real estate transactions are done.  Make sure you use a professional for all of your real estate needs.

I am always ready to assist you in any way possible.  Go to My Website for more info today.  Make 2016 your best year yet!!

Morning Rituals Of Successful People

With 2016 beginning tomorrow you’re probably thinking about what resolutions to make.  New year new me, I’m going to stop eating fast food, I’m going to do this that and the other thing.

Ever wonder if successful have routines which help them become successful?  It turns out they do.  In a web article titled The First Thing These 11 Highly Successful People Do Every Morning you’ll find out most successful people have a similar morning routine.  Here are a few things in no particular order that they do and I try to implement.

  1.  Wake Up Early:  It would appear that most successful people wake up early and get going.  A Forbes article advises getting up one hour earlier will make a world of difference.  It’s true.  I enjoy being up early once I’m up.  I put my alarm clock across the room so I have to get up to shut it off.  Once I’m out of bed it’s much easier to stay up.  Waking up early allows me to have some quiet time each morning to do some of the things on this list before everyone else is up.
  2. Reading Something Of Value:  While drinking her morning cup of tea Queen Elizabeth II reads the top British newspapers and some of the letters she receives from the public each morning.  Mark Cuban insists on reading 3 hours daily.  Warren Buffet reads Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Omaha World-Herald and the American Banker each day.
  3. Exercise:  Exercising early has many benefits.  It jumps starts your metabolism.  You get it out of the way before you’re tired from work.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment.  No matter what else happens that day you’ve worked out.  Scientific American has an outstanding article about the benefits of exercise.
  4. Meditation:  Oprah Winfrey starts her day with meditation.  She’s such a fan she and Deepak Chopra put out a 21-day meditation experience website.  For free info on meditation go to how to meditate
  5. Journal:  Quickly writing down things to be grateful for, fears, thoughts, to do lists, inspirational quotes, etc makes for a better day.  Tim Ferriss created a 5-minute journal to do just that.  Check out some of things he writes about in his blog post What My Morning Journal Looks Like

There are many other rituals or routines that the highly successful do daily.  I try to form some morning routine.  It looks something like this.

I get up before 6:30 am and drink some coffee while I stand outside and think about all I’m grateful for.  I come inside and write a little mostly my thoughts, my to do list for the day, and again I write who and what I’m grateful for.  Next I stretch and try to do some form of light exercise and stretching (I tend to get my main workout in the afternoon for me it works better).  I make a protein shake or a healthy breakfast.  Finally I read something of value for a while.  I don’t always do these things everyday but I try to.  My New Years Resolution is to do them consistently.

Google daily rituals/routines of successful people for more articles than you could possibly read.  Find a few that work for you.  Implementing these can lead to other successes like purchasing a home?  I hope you find this a valuable resource leading to a successful 2016!

What Are Home Inspections And Why You Should Get Them

 

You’re making the biggest purchase of your life. You need to know that what you’re buying is what you think you’re buying. Getting a few home inspections up front will help to insure that your home is in good repair and worth what you’re paying. Your offer is contingent upon inspections and you can negotiate any problems or repairs with the seller. A great resource is this article from Realtor.com
What kinds of inspections should you get? There are some major inspections you must get.

 

  1. Pest & Dry Rot Inspection: A licensed pest inspector will come in and check for termites, beetles and other potential pests that could damage your home. They also check for water damage and other wood damage. A good home inspector will find problems and help you make an informed decision. Napa is a valley and therefore water can build up underneath homes. Many homes have a sump pump under the house. These are things a pest inspector will check for.
  2. Roof Inspections: A licensed roof contractor will walk on your roof to ensure that there are no leaks. Any leaks to the roof will be noted and brought to your attention.
  3. Home Inspection: A licensed home inspector will check many things in the home. This maybe your most important inspection. A home inspection checks things like the appliances, furnace, air conditioner, plumbing, electrical, foundation, attic space and beneath the home to name a few. A good home inspection will give you an overview of the home. For more info of what a home inspector does go to: Home Inspections
  4. Chimney inspection (if applicable): A chimney inspector will ensure your fireplace is safe to use.
  5. Other specialists: You may wish to utilize a plumber, electrician, foundation contractor, heat and air contractor. These specialists will check the areas of their expertise.
  6. For other potential inspections go to: 6 Important Inspections

 

With these inspections you should understand what maybe wrong with the home. Once you know you can negotiate with the seller to reduce the price or give a credit for the repairs. You can also simply walk away if the damage is too extensive. A licensed Realtor will set up and help you understand the inspections. For more info and to discuss your options Contact me