From the category archives:

General Real Estate

The Very Best of Google+ Real Estate Articles

Best Google+ Real Estate Articles October 2014








If this is the first recap of the “Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles” you’re reading, you’ve missed out! Google Plus is a great place to find real estate content from some of the best real estate bloggers. There are many Real Estate communities that are geared towards real estate industry professionals who create and share excellent articles, tips, and tricks! Google Plus communities are not only a great place to find excellent content, but also a place to network and interact with top real estate industry professionals! One of the most popular real estate communities on Google+ is where all of these monthly featured articles come from. Every month the real estate advice is hand picked among all of the posts shared on Google plus.

Thank you Bill for asking me to once again put together a recap of the Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles for October 2014! So without further ado, here is a recap of some of the most informative articles found in the Google+ real estate community in case you missed them the first time around. If you are in the real estate industry or just like reading about it consider joining the group where there are already nearly 14,000 members.

Surviving the home loan process

The first article of this month’s Google+ recap comes to us from Grace Keister, the content marketing specialist for First Team Real Estate. In Grace’s article, surviving the home loan process: Homebuyer FAQs, she does an excellent job breaking down the process of a home loan. The article explains the importance of being pre-approved when it comes time to negotiate on a home. There are many people who think a mortgage pre-qualification letter is the same as a mortgage pre-approval, which is completely false! A pre-qualification is not worth the paper it is written on as it does not assure the seller of anything. A pre-approval on the other hand checks the buyers credit, income and employment history.

In many regions of the United States, the cooler and cold weather is certainly upon us! This means it’s time to inspect and clean those chimneys and fireplaces. The next article by Tammy Behnam, regarding fireplace and chimney maintenance, gives some very nice tips to those who have fireplaces in their homes. The article points out some simple but important maintenance tips. Only burning wood, burning dry wood, and building a fire slowly are just a handful of useful tips that are found in the article. Take a look as you are sure to learn a trick or two about having a wonderful fire in your home!

Writing excellent real estate headlines

Learning to become a successful blogger is not impossible, even for those who feel they are “bad writers.” One of the most important tips for someone learning to blog is understanding the importance of creating quality titles and headlines for articles. Our next article, how to write successful real estate headlines for increased sales, comes to us from the folks over at HomeFolio Media. In this excellent article there are many tips provided for writing successful real estate headlines. Does the article sound useful? Is the headline unique? Does the title provide an urgency? These are all questions that a blogger should ask themselves before hitting that “Publish” button! You only have a few seconds to capture a reader and the title is a critical aspect in achieving this goal.

Why you need home owners insurance

Buyers commonly ask for recommendations to insurance companies as they are required to have home owners insurance. But the question I pose is, do they really understand what Homeowners Insurance is? In our next article done by Anita Clark, what is Homeowners Insurance and Why Do I Need It?, she has done an excellent and in-depth job explaining homeowners insurance. In the article you’ll find not only an explanation of what homeowners insurance is, but also quality tips such as knowing what your credit score is as it can impact the premium and also finding out if the home is located in a flood zone. This is a helpful article on home owners insurance you won’t want to miss!

Buying a home with little or no money down

Much of the general public has the misunderstanding that the only way to purchase a home is with a large amount of money down. This is not the case at all! The next article done by Luke Skar at Inlanta Mortgage, 6 ways to buy a home with little or no money, which was featured on my blog provides 6 methods to purchasing a home without “breaking the bank!” There are many grants, incentives, and mortgage products available to buyers who don’t have buckets of money laying around. One example is the 100% Financed VA Loan which allows a Veteran the option to put no money down! The are also additional programs where home buyer are able to put down 3 to 5 %.

Selling a home with tenants

Selling a home that is tenant occupied is less than desirable. If at all possible, it’s best and easiest to sell a home that is vacant or owner occupied. Coordinating showings, inspections, and bank appraisals are normally more difficult with a tenant in place, in most cases. This is especially true if the tenant has no desire to leave. Our last article done by Bill Gassett, how to sell a house with tenants, provides some awesome tips for selling a home with a tenant. As Bill points out, it’s best to wait for a lease to expire, but if this isn’t possible, he provides some actionable tips that will help your transaction proceed more smoothly. In addition, Bill explains the importance of knowing the tenancy rules and also establishing a rental game plan. This topic is rarely talked about, so make sure not to miss Bill’s article!

The above recaps and articles are just a teaser of what to expect on Google Plus, especially within the Real Estate Communities. If you haven’t started using Google Plus, don’t wait any longer and you won’t have to miss out on other great articles!

Previous Google Plus Real Estate Reviews

Best Google+ real estate articles September 2014
Best Google+ real estate articles August 2014
Best Google+ real estate articles June- July 2014

Do you enjoy the Google+ real estate article reviews? Take a look at all of the above links where you will see additional real estate articles that have been highlighted from previous months on Google Plus!

Kyle Hiscock is a top producing Webster, NY real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, based out of Rochester, NY. He has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers move in and out of the Greater Rochester, NY area. In addition to his vast real estate knowledge, Kyle is very active on many different social media websites! Connect with Kyle on Google+.



First Time Home buyers Mistakes

First Time Home Buyer MistakesRight now, the US housing market has yet to fully recover from its peak in 2006. Yes, things are healing quite nicely in many markets with some decent price appreciation, but the costs of buying a home are still very affordable. Between low home prices and favorable interest rates, this is a great time for first time home buyers to get into the real estate game.

But, becoming a first time home buyer can be a daunting decision. These are just so many complexities that jumping in at the wrong time might not be the best decision. Instead, it’s much wiser to be prepared for the ups and downs of home buying.

Getting into the market when you are certain it’s the right time is one of the best moves your can make as a first time home owner. When the time is right here are seven common mistakes made by first time home buyers that should be avoided at all costs.

Not Getting The Right Real Estate Agent

When you set out to buy your first home one of the top priorities should be finding a Realtor you are comfortable working with. The agent should have some experience and be competent enough to answer questions pertaining to buying and selling homes. Never under estimate the important of having a good agent. Just like any other business this really matters. You wouldn’t just hire any doctor to operate on you would you? Buying a home is a very large investment. You want to have someone in your corner that is a real pro! Here is a neat info-graphic that summarizes the importance of a real estate agent. You will realize this is great advice the moment you pick any ole real estate agent to work with you and find yourself in a tough spot where a great agent would be welcome.

Not Considering Renting May be Better Decision

Home ownership has long since been the American Dream. But, that same dream had thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure just a few years ago. So, be wise. Weigh your options. If the costs of owning a home are unaffordable or not feasible for you at this time, continue renting until you’re ready.

If you are going to make the leap into home ownership you want to be aware that you costs are not just principle, taxes and insurance but also the day to day expenses of owning a home. Buyers should always have emergency funds available for those occasions where financial difficulties arrive. As Kyle Hiscock, a New York Realtor points out in his first time home buyer advice, understanding your complete financial picture is an important element before jumping in and looking at properties. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to be a fiscally irresponsible home buyer. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

Not Prepared for All-Cash Competitors

In expensive, competitive markets, such as the San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles and New York City areas, all-cash offers are very common. That’s because they almost guarantee potential buyers’ winning bids. As a first time home buyer, be prepared for this competition by being well educated on the current market. Above all else make sure you have your finances in order. Make getting a pre-approval letter from a lender one of your top priorities.

Not Taking DTI Seriously

DTI stands for debt-to-income ratio. It’s one of the very first things your lender will investigate when assessing your mortgage borrowing power. So, if you’re planning to buy a home in the near future, do not pick up any new debts, especially unaffordable ones. Many buyers have made the mistake of going out and finding their dream home while also deciding to purchase a car. When the lender finds out you have done this you could be facing the fact you might not get the loan. So be smart with your finances when purchasing a home.

Not Working with Lenders in Person

Starting your search for mortgage information online is okay. But, this should not be your last stop when shopping for mortgages. You need to personally work with a lender in order to get a full line of mortgage options, such as FHA loans and VA loans, as well as any local first time buyers programs that may exist. Do your home work on choosing a lender to work with. Not every lender has the same rates or even the same loan programs. Ask around with family, friends and your Realtor on who they would recommend to work with for financing.

Not Getting a Home Inspection

Finding the “perfect” home can be very exciting. But, don’t get too carried away. You still need to protect yourself by investing wisely. Oftentimes, first time home buyers try to cut costs by skipping the home inspection. Having a home inspection is for your own protection. There are lots of qualified home inspectors that a Realtor can recommend that will look for defects in the property. Not having the home inspected by a professional could result in thousands of dollars worth of defect damages later on down the line. This could easily become a first time buyer’s nightmare, just to save around $500. Here are some examples of  home inspections problems that would be real problematic to deal with after purchasing a home. Not only could they be expensive to remedy but also affect your health and well being.

Skipping home inspections has become quite common in areas where the market is booming as buyers are doing everything they can to win some of the crazy bidding wars that are taking place. Unless you are 100 percent certain there are no major defects in the property, skipping a home inspection is a big mistake!

Not Leaving Negative Emotions at the Door

The current market trends are leading to sellers receiving multiple offers on their homes. Not all of them allow the highest bid to make the final decision. Oftentimes, sellers will choose the buyer who seems to have the most love for the property. Smart buyers are even using emotion as a tool to win over the seller. Hand written letters are delivered by the buyers agent explaining how much the buyer loves the property and the years of enjoyment they can see ahead with their family. Buyers who come in complaining, adding unreasonable terms into an offer and having a generally negative attitude tend to get passed over. When buyers do this they make it easy for a seller to choose the best real estate offer for them!

Not Understanding How Home Value Appreciation Works

Many first time home buyers invest their entire life’s savings into buying a home. These buyers hope to make a hefty profit on the property’s appreciation within just a few years. But, a home is not a very liquid investment. It will take time to appreciate. So, be sure you’re investing for the long haul as a first time buyer. If the last ten years is any indicator you should be buying a home for the use and enjoyment. A place of shelter for you and your family. Not your ticket to paradise and ultimate wealth. More than likely those days are gone for a while.

Other Excellent First Time Home Buyer Articles

Use these additional resources to make sound decisions when buying your first home. Research and education provides a great way to go in with your eyes wide open when purchasing your first home.

The best first time home buyer tips come courtesy of Jackson Cooper who is an agent with Jensen and Company. You can visit their website at for all of your Park City Real Estate needs. Jackson loves working with first time home buyers and would love to share his expertise.


Google Plus Real Estate Articles

Best Google Plus Real Estate ArticlesIt’s that time again, time for a roundup of the best Google Plus articles of the month. You will find some great real estate content from the Real Estate Community on Google Plus for the month of September. It’s all right here.

If you are a real estate professional and you are not currently networking with other professionals on Google Plus, you are missing out. I network with professionals on many social platforms and Google Plus is my favorite, by far. Great discussions happen every day in this community and the original content from other real estate professionals is second to none. This group will inspire and encourage you as a real estate professional.

Let’s start off with a great article from Lynn Pineda entitled 41 Home Selling Mistakes That Prevent You From Having Success.

This is an extensive list covering every aspect of selling real estate. If you have every had your home stuck on the market waiting months for an offer, then you know the agonizing tension that haunts the home seller in this position. The bottom-line is that there are always recognizable problems that keep a home from selling. Lynn’s comprehensive list of problems can help any home seller who is wondering why their house hasn’t sold, and also offers some top level advice for other Realtors who may have a house on the market that won’t sell.

Continuing the discussion on home selling, Bill Gassett discusses some timely advice in his article entitled fall home selling tips. Selling a home this fall? This is one you won’t want to miss.

Seasonal home selling tips can be great for those looking to put their house on the market, or those who have had their house stuck on the market and need a new perspective. In Bill’s article, he discuses tips such as the importance of keeping your yard clean of fall leaves, decorating for the fall, and many other timeless tips to increase your potential success in selling your home in the fall. These tips are great for real estate professionals as well. Take advantage this seasonally relevant advice and learn some new fall selling tactics to implement into your home selling tool kit. Bill advice is always right on track and very valuable.

Our next article covers a topic that is relevant to both home buyers and sellers alike. Kyle Hiscock’s article entitled “Are Home Warranties for a Buyer Worth It?” covers some great points on this common selling tactic.

Home sellers are often coached by their Realtor that offering a home warranty can help sell their house faster. Whether a home warranty is really worth it to a buyer has been a topic of debate in the real estate community for some time. Kyle does a nice job of laying out the pros and cons and really hammers home that a home warranty can definitely be beneficial to home buyers. Seasoned agents know the value of offering a home warranty to home buyers and Kyle’s perspective on this topic makes it easy to understand why home sellers should seriously consider offering a home warranty to buyers when listing their home for sale. This article is easy to follow and a must read for real estate professionals who are on the fence about home warranties.

In our next two articles, we’ll be discussing real estate investments. First, Debbie Drummond wrote an excellent article for investors entitled “Is the time right to Invest in residential Real Estate?”

Debbie does a great job discussing the up and down cycle of the real estate market to help gauge how an investor should react. She explains the difference between the Florida real estate market today in comparison to Las Vegas market. She makes a great case for Las Vegas being a prime investment market and how you can leverage this current market to do very well with your real estate dollars. Debbie’s in-depth analysis of the Las Vegas real estate market is valuable and well laid out. Definitely a must read for real estate investors in Las Vegas, or any market for that matter.

Continuing our discussion on real estate investments, Seth Williams discusses more market timing details in his article entitled “What Investors Needs To Know About Choosing The Right Real Estate Market

Seth illustrates the importance of identifying markets that are easy to work in, compared to others. Choosing an area that allows for easy access to county records is important. Communicating with the county office and obtaining good local mailing lists make some areas easier to deal with than others. Seth also talks about the value of working in an area that has a solid government structure, which makes real estate investing more desirable. The accessibility of the County Treasurer and the Assessors fees can real make a difference when dealing with local investment properties. Seth makes a strong case and helps direct investors to research and compare areas. His advice is timely and well laid out. Anyone who is currently investing in real estate, or has future plans to do so would benefit greatly from this article.

Our final blog entry comes from myself and is entitled “First Time Buyer Tips: Buying a First House”.

In this article, I break down the process of buying a home into an easy to read visual guide (infographic) and then elaborate in more details through the text. Buying your first home can be extremely intimidating. I spent a lot of time trying to simplify the process for first time home buyers and make it as easy to follow as possible, while still making sure to not leave any steps out. If you’re looking to buy your first house and you are wondering how it works, this is a great article to help you feel more comfortable with the home buying process. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Previous Google Plus Real Estate Reviews

Take a look at these Google Plus articles from previous months.

{ 1 comment }

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

If you have ever lived through a flood you know first-hand how devastating they can be. Not only can they destroy a home and its belongings but in the ensuing aftermath they can bring about mold, bacteria, and unsafe living conditions. It is not surprising they are the most common natural disaster in the world, accounting for billions of dollars in damage and countless claims each year.

Some of the more common reasons for flooding are:Why is Flood Insurance Important

  • Dams/levees
  • Flash floods
  • Heavy rains
  • Ice jams
  • Mud slides
  • New/under developed areas
  • Snow melt
  • Tropical storms

Flood Tips You May Not Know

A common misconception is that if you do not live near a body of water you are not at risk of flooding. The truth is every home is at risk of being flooded! An overflowing dam, a broken sewer line, an unkempt or overwhelmed drainage system, or even a major storm can cause flooding. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone with devastating results.

Another misleading thought is that the Government will step in and bail you out. Think again. Unless your area is a federally declared disaster area (i.e. New Orleans and surrounding coastal towns after Hurricane Katrina hit or nearly the entire eastern seaboard after Hurricane Sandy), you could find yourself without federal, state, or often even local assistance. If you are in an area that does receive assistance, it is important to note you will have to pay back (with interest) whatever amount you receive. This assistance is not meant to compensate you for your losses, but rather, it is given out as a low interest loan to assist you with critical expenses incurred as you start the process of getting things back in order.

Most alarming is that many homeowners believe that when a flood disaster occurs, their home insurance will pay for the damages. That misnomer is quickly replaced with panic as they check with their insurance company and find their insurance policy does not cover for floods. A typical home insurance policy will cover damages in case of a fire, robbery, and other incidents, but will not include flood related damages, meaning homeowners must take care of their flood losses from their own pocket. All the more reason to make sure you have a flood insurance policy on your home.

What is Flood Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

Be Prepared For a FloodAs you would expect, flood insurance takes care of damages relating to flood and is the first and most important step to take if you want to protect yourself from a flood disaster. What you need to know about flood insurance is something every homeowner should consider! The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) a program directed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is the leading provider of flood insurance policies to protect homeowners from flood related losses.  Here are 3 reasons you need to consider getting flood insurance:

The primary reason is because you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) that requires a mortgage from a federally regulated lender. In an SFHA, where it is likely flooding will occur while you own your home, flood insurance is mandatory. This could include oceanfront or near-ocean properties or living next to a major body of water like a big river, lake, or creek. For some of these areas, heavy rainfall can cause the body of water to swell over the banks, flooding houses and destroying properties. For others, the potential of large waves or tropical storms puts them in the highest risk category. While the allure of living near water has its advantages, there is an inherent flooding risk that consumers need to be aware of and understand.

A second reason you should consider getting flood insurance is because you live in a community that benefit’s from the NFIP. The benefit is receiving flood insurance that is backed by the government. Whether you reside in a SFHA or low risk area, as your community benefits from the program, and nearly 21K communities do, it is hoped that all the residents will take advantage of the program. There are no fees to live in an NFIP community but each area is required to have a flood plain management ordinance, enforced by a local official. The official ensures the flood plain is periodically inspected and that no violations of the ordinance occur. If your community is not NFIP supported, then you would have to look for a federally supported private insurance company that offers flood insurance.

Third, although they are not the most dangerous natural disaster in the world, floods are the most common, causing incredible amounts of damage around the globe every year. According to, the cost of flooding goes up exponentially with each inch of water in a home. For example, one inch of standing water can cause nearly $21,000 worth of damage while one foot of water puts the damage over $52,000. While these are only estimates, it is clear that any amount of flooding can have serious consequences for every homeowner and property affected.

How Flood Insurance Works

When you pay for flood insurance, and your insurance policy is handed out to you, it takes a whole month (thirty days from the issued date) to take effect. So if you decide to wait until the storms come a calling before getting a policy, you will definitely be paying for your losses yourself. If you have not gotten your flood insurance policy yet, it is advisable to seriously consider it before a calamity occurs.

Your flood insurance policy is dependent on how much coverage you are willing to buy. You could decide to cover both your home (the building) and the contents of your house, with the maximum limits of flood coverage for your house of $250,000 and the contents of your home with a ceiling of $100,000. The flood insurance policy pays for the estimated value of the damaged property, or the total cost of replacing your property up to the coverage limit.

In addition, the cost of flood insurance may vary depending on the flood zone you live in. High risk zones usually pay a higher sum compared to the medium and low risk zones. The FEMA maps out the flood risk zones, and it is advisable to check out your address on FEMA’s flood risk zones chart to find out what zone your locality falls under.

If your community has taken preemptive measures to reduce flood risks, you get as much as 45 percent off on flood insurance costs. You should meet with your insurance agent to find out what coverage and cost would be suitable for you, or you could decide to use the website calculator on the NFIP site to have an idea of the cost and the benefit.

Flood Insurance Advice

Like any other insurance policy, obtaining flood insurance should definitely put your mind at rest, especially with the unpredictability of floods and flooding occurring at a moment’s notice. As a reminder, it takes 30 days for your policy to take effect, so if you do not currently have flood insurance, it would be of great benefit to get a policy immediately.

If you think you are safe because you live in a low risk area, think again. A report from FEMA says that twenty five percent of all flood insurance claims since 1978 has been from low risk zones. Every homeowner is potentially at risk, regardless where you live!

Unless it is mandated to have flood insurance, many will roll the dice and opt to save those extra funds for something else. Depending on your tolerance for risk and where you live, that may be a bad gamble. For most, the results of a flood would be devastating, and the ensuing financial burden crippling…all it takes is better planning to give you peace of mind and security knowing your home is covered. Why risk it!

Other Useful Flood Insurance Information

Use these additional resources to understand all you need to know about flood insurance.

Anita Clark RealtorThis article was written by Georgia real estate professional, Anita Clark. Anita works at Coldwell Banker SSK Realtors in Warner Robins, GA. 478-960-8055

{ 1 comment }

Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles For August 2014

August 26, 2014

Google Plus For Real Estate                         What better place to find a wealth of useful Real Estate articles than on Google+. On Google+ you’ll find some of the best Real Estate professionals located in states nationwide. What do you do when you come across […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Protect Your Home: Stay Ahead of Summer Storms

July 22, 2014

              Severe summer weather, such as hail, thunder, and heavy rain, can result in a great deal of damage to your home and other property. There are many steps that homeowners can take to protect themselves from the flooding and power outages that can result from severe weather events, […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Best Google Plus Real Estate Articles June to July 2014

July 16, 2014

              The internet makes it incredibly easy for information to be found. The problem is much of the information that is found on the internet is junk. Google Plus is one of the best places, if not the best place, to find quality real estate information! Google Plus communities, […]

10 comments Read the full article →

Helping a Buyer Purchase a Home From a FSBO

June 26, 2014

We talk a lot about buyer’s agents and listings agents and the benefits of both but what happens if your buyer finds a home that’s not listed with an agent? This is actually not that unusual because buyers will look for homes everywhere and they don’t really care where they find the house, only that […]

0 comments Read the full article →

How To Get The Best Photos When Selling Your Home

June 20, 2014

Photography Helps Sell Real Estate If you’re like me, you probably enjoy looking at homes online. Many people browse homes on the internet for fun. My wife and I like to look online at homes for sale in Colorado Springs, deep in the quiet mountain areas where we could never live, with our current lifestyle. […]

22 comments Read the full article →

Don’t Get Too Emotional When Buying a Home

June 18, 2014

Keep Emotions in Check Purchasing Real Estate Getting too emotional when buying a home can cost you big time! The last thing you want to do is create a lot of extra stress for yourself when buying in home. In order to make your purchase go smoothly we have consulted with Lolly Spindler of HouseHunt […]

0 comments Read the full article →