Best Google+ Real Estate February 2016
















Choosing the top real estate articles for February was a challenge. The list could have been twice the size. The selection is organized with articles for home buyers first. Articles for sellers are next. Without further adieu lets have a look at the best real estate articles for February 2016.

Preparing for the Emotions Involved in Buying and Selling a Home

In this humorous article, Janis Borgueta explains that home buying can be like Valentine’s Day. Home buyers need only make one mistake and the fallout can be dreadful. Passions, expectations, chemistry all play a roll in buying a home. Planning ahead will help you avoid a lot of the dangers those emotions bring to the process.

Get pre-approved. Finding a good Realtor. Determine what you really need. These are all steps you should take care of before you start looking. The article closes with a quote from L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs. “Houses are like people – some you like and some you don’t like – and once in a while there is one you love.”

Lee Davenport also checked in with an article explaining how home selling and a Valentines Day break up can be similar. Most people who have ever broken up on Valentines Day probably have “stress”as one of their top emotions. Anyone who is selling a home probably has experienced the same. Lee ties the two together in this interesting post at The Huffington Post. Anyone who says that buying and selling a home is not emotional experience probably has a heart of stone!

First Time Home Buyer Mortgage Mistakes

First time home buyers often want to start looking at homes before they’ve even talked to a lender. Not a good idea. You have no idea how much home you can afford until you understand how much mortgage you qualify for. You should review your credit scores before talking to the lender. As Xavier de Buck points out 80% of credit reports contain errors.

On top of qualifying for the mortgage, buyers will need a down payment. Even when using a VA 100% mortgage, the sellers expect an Earnest Money Deposit. It’s necessary before they’ll take their home off the market.

With a VA loan, the EMD gets refunded at closing. Other loans need at least 3% down. Xavier explains, putting more money down can make it easier to qualify for the mortgage.

The deal isn’t done just because the loan is approved. Avoid changing jobs or incurring more debt until the loan has closed. Other mistakes include not planning for closing costs or the costs to maintain the home once you own it. You’ll want to avoid making the mistakes in this article.

Home Inspection Questions

Home buyers are always have questions about home inspections. Example should I attend the home inspection? David Cronin recommends that buyers attend the home inspections if possible. I agree. You will understand anything the inspector finds better if you’re there in person. I recommend my buyers show up at the end if they can’t be there the entire time. The inspector can show them any issues they’ll be reading about in the report..

David gives estimates of what inspections cost in his area. They’re similar to prices in Las Vegas for typical homes. Luxury homes tend to cost more due to the size and the sophisticated systems they have. Cronin includes great tips for hiring an inspector and what to expect at the inspection.

Before You Buy a Short Sale

We don’t see as many short sales available as a few years ago, but they can still be good values. As Ferris Property Group explains things to know before buying a short sale. The most important advice they give about short sales is not to fall for the home. Less than a quarter of short sales actually get to the closing table.

Short sales can be great values if you have the luxury of being able to wait for them to close. If you decide to buy a short sale, work with a Realtor who has short sale experience. They’ll be able to help you know what to expect. They’ll work with the listing agent to bring the deal to the best conclusion.

Realistic Expectations When Searching for a Home

We all dream of getting lucky, especially when buying a home. We picture a beautiful home with all our favorite features. And we expect to find it at a great price. It’s easy to search website after website until we drive ourselves crazy.

Are you searching for a home or Bigfoot? is my latest blog. It looks at tips to help us stay focused and realistic in our home search. Start by finding a good local real estate website. Sorry, but those National sites sometimes show homes that aren’t for sale. Some of them don’t have access to all the current listings. Best of all, find a good Realtor who knows the area. They’ll be able to send you the latest listings that meet your criteria and budget.

Who Should You Hire to Sell Your Home?

Joe Manausa believes you should hire a real estate marketing expert to sell your home. Realtors who are good “Content Marketers” know how to get online exposure. They do it for their blogs. They do it for their website. They do it for the homes they list.

Their experience gives them insight about what buyers want. They’ll know how to make your home appealing. This article is the shortest of the ones picked for January, but one of the most valuable for sellers.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

As we head into Spring, many homeowners are preparing to put their home on the market. Teresa Cowart takes us through seven of the biggest mistakes you can make. Picking the wrong agent is one of the first mistakes. That is often a result of hiring the agent who agrees with your unrealistic price.

Once the home is listed, don’t forget to make it show worthy. Get rid of the clutter. Touch up the exterior and the landscaping. And always disclose, disclose, disclose.

David R Miller wrote house not selling, try this. It shouldn’t be a surprise that many of his suggestions are also the Top Home Selling Mistakes. Tons of articles have been written about pricing and staging. If Sellers didn’t make these mistakes, their homes wouldn’t languish on the market. Sellers would be well advised to read both of these articles before putting their home on the market.

Selling Your Home and Taxes

If you show a profit when you sell your home, it may be subject to Capital Gains taxes. They’re currently at 20%, which would be a big chunk for most homeowners. Sylvie Zolezzi has written an outstanding guide to cut capital gains taxes when selling your home.

She starts with the basics that apply if you’ve lived in the home for at least 2 of the last 5 years. It’s $250K for single homeowners. $500K for married homeowners. She gives details for how home improvements can increase your tax basis. You can even use your sales expenses to reduce the taxable amount.

If you’re selling an investment property, you’ll find her information on 1031 exchanges valuable. The article also covers seller financing and what if the home doesn’t sell in your lifetime. This one’s a great resource to keep on file even if you’re not selling soon.

Selling Your Home During Divorce

Selling a home can be nerve-wrecking under the best circumstances. Even friendly divorces are unpleasant on some level. Selling a home while going through a divorce is a double whammy. Kyle Hiscock authored a guide for selling your home during divorce.

One of the first steps is to find the right Realtor. Ask the agents you interview how much experience they have with sellers who are divorcing. Find out how the Realtor will handle conflicts. Ask how they will communicate with both of you. Both partners in the home should be informed of offers, updates, etc.

Things will go much better if both parties are on the same page. Price the home right so that it doesn’t sit on the market forever. Even in a divorce, best marketing practices pay off. Don’t forget to prepare your home for showings. Not preparing it will cost you both. On top of the excellent advice in this article, Hiscock provides links to other excellent resources.

Is a Home Energy Audit Worthwhile?

Whether it’s saving on energy during the cold Northeast Winters or the hot Desert Summers, energy efficient homes are popular. Bill Gassett asks if a home energy audits are worth the money. The HERS index allows you to compare your home’s energy efficiency to that of a new home.

An energy audit is one of the best ways to find out what areas may need improvement in your home. Of course, getting an energy audit may not be too useful if you aren’t prepared to make some upgrades. The cost of the suggested upgrades will vary. If you plan to sell the home right away, you may not be there long enough to recover the cost thru energy savings. The amount you can recover through improved resale value will vary depending on the improvement and your local market.

You should check with your local power company. In some areas, they will provide an energy audit for free. A free energy audit is a no-brainer. If your utility charges, consider how long you plan to stay in the home. If you plan to stay, you could easily save the cost of the audit on your monthly bill.

The Best Tech in Real Estate

Dallas Broker, Jeff Knox is a self proclaimed “techie Broker”. In a recent RISMedia article he states if you’re not using Tech in 2016 you’re potentially losing big money each day. Websites come in a variety of styles and price ranges. As Knox says, “Nowadays, all good agents have a website”. We couldn’t agree more.

After the website, you need to develop your follow up and drip campaigns. Follow up is something I wish I had known as a newbie agent. My database has grown quite large over the last several years. It would be at least 25% larger if I had maintained it in the early years. The drip campaigns are essential to follow up with online leads. They’re also great for keeping in contact with current and past clients.

The final part of the tech pyramid is video. If you haven’t considered video as part of your marketing, you should. YouTube now has over a billion users. It’s a market waiting for you. Producing good videos doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Knox confesses he still uses a cheap, easy video editing program that he only paid $100 for. He shares great resources for everything from website companies to software for drip campaigns and video editing.

Have you enjoyed reading so far and want more? Check out 6 more featured writers who have exceptional real estate expert posts on multiple topics regarding buying and selling a home.

There you have it – the best Google+ real estate articles from February 2016. I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed reviewing them!

Previous Google+ Real Estate Article Recaps

Debbie Drummond About the author: Debbie Drummond is a full time Las Vegas Realtor with over 13 years experience in The Las Vegas luxury homes and high rise market. She’s worked through the boom, the bust and now the recovery. During that time she’s earned numerous designations, including the CRS, CNE. Debbie and her team have sold homes that ranging from entry level to multi-million dollar luxury homes