Best Google+ Real Estate December 2016
















This is the final month to feature the best real estate articles for 2016. Winter weather and the holidays haven’t interfered with our favorite Real Estate bloggers. We found new articles for home buyers, sellers, owners and Realtors. Without further ado check out the best of Google+ real estate for December 2016!

Best Real Estate Articles of 2016

It wouldn’t be fitting on the last best of Google plus real estate for 2016 to feature Ryan Fitzgerald’s mega post at the National Association of Realtors blog offering up 28 of the best real estate articles from 2016! Ryan has featured some of the best real estate bloggers from around the country all in one encompassing post.

There is a wide variety of topics on so many great subjects. If you don’t look at any other real estate article, this one will be worth your time!

What if My Mortgage Doesn’t Get Approved?

One of the worst things that can happen to a buyer is to get turned down for their mortgage. Kyle Hiscock outlines steps you can take if your mortgage application is rejected.

The first step is to find out why you didn’t qualify. Poor credit? Too much debt? Not enough money saved for the down payment and closing costs? Those are some of the reasons a lender may not approve your mortgage.

You should find out if there are other mortgage programs that would be available to you. I recently helped buyers who had been rejected by one lender by introducing them to a new lender. The new lender was able to get their VA Loan approved and they’re now homeowners.

What Should I Do After Being Rejected for a Home Loan? is an excellent resource for buyers.

No Down Payment Mistakes To Avoid

No down payment loans help buyers get into a home without having a big down payment. If you qualify to buy a home without a down payment, you still need to be prepared for other costs.

Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage Madison points out some of the mistakes to avoid. Even if you don’t need the down payment, you’ll still have closing costs. Moving is another expense. You’ll need to pay for home inspections and the appraisal.

Buying a home without a down payment can save you tens of thousands of dollars but you won’t get a free ride. Saving money for the other items can determine whether you can buy or not.

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Buyers

7 New Year’s resolutions to help you buy your new home is the latest blog from Debbie Drummond.

So many would be buyers dream of owning a home but forget to prepare for the purchase. If you’re planning to buy next year you should start with a budget. Don’t forget the extra expenses you’ll have as a homeowner. Those include property taxes, insurance and the maintenance your landlord now handles.

You should work on your credit. This includes paying down debt. Your debt to income ratio will be a key factor in determining how much you can borrow to buy your home. Take a look at your credit history. Are there any inaccuracies? If so, you should contact the credit bureaus and have them removed. You’ll need to explain any negatives. Make sure you pay your bills on time as you’re preparing to buy.

What Should You Disclose When Selling Your Home?

Bill Gassett gives us an excellent article on a touchy subject. Most homeowners know of a thing or two that isn’t perfect about their home. They naturally want to get the best price and may be tempted not to mention any issues. What do I have to disclose? is a common question from home sellers.

The answer to this question varies from one State to another. This article points out that Massachusetts is far more lenient than Nevada. In Massachusetts, the seller only has to disclose if the buyer asks. They operate under the “Let the Buyer Beware” approach. However, even in Massachusetts, the Realtors must disclose any known defects.

Failure to disclose can be more costly in the long run. Major defects that aren’t disclosed often lead to lawsuits. Major items like roof leaks, foundation cracks, lead paint or other toxic items in the home should always be disclosed. The buyer may ask for repairs or a price reduction but you won’t have to worry about the consequences when the buyer discovers them.

10 Steps to Finding the Best Real Estate Brokerage

One of the questions on the minds of many new real estate agents is Which office should I join? Whether you’re an experienced agent or a newbie, finding the office that provides the support level you need is a crucial step to your success. With 11 years in the business, Joe Samson shares what’s important to him in picking an office.

The first point is it isn’t about the money. When you go to one of the offices with minimal fees, they’re likely to cut down on the support they offer. At the other end of the spectrum are the offices with well-known names. They may sell you on their corporate marketing program. Just remember, you will be paying for it.

After the financial considerations, find out what training and mentoring the office provides. This is especially important for new agents. Innovation and technology are another consideration. Does the office still require you to turn in paper files or have they gone paperless? Samson believes, “The goal of every real estate brokerage should be to make it easy for the agent to run their business.”

There are many items to consider, including how solid the brokerage is financially. You’ll find additional tips from some of the most successful Realtors in the business. This is a valuable resource for Realtors who are evaluating their options.

Paying Off My Mortgage Early

Who doesn’t dream of the day when we can enjoy our homes without having a mortgage payment? Nathan Garrett gives Seven steps to pay off your mortgage early. The steps he gives are simple and most wouldn’t put too much stress on our budget.

Starting with something as simple as “rounding up” your monthly mortgage payment. Each month you simply round up the payment to the nearest hundred. He provides the math to show that on a $1024 monthly payment, you’ll pay an extra $9120 over ten years.

Other tricks include using bonuses and tax returns. Bi-monthly payments are another tool. One of the easiest ways is to add the 1/12th payment. Again, he provides the math to demonstrate how it works. Doing a refinance or shortening the length of the loan are the final options.

Home Buyer Mistakes Not to Make with Gift Money

Tis the season and giving the money for a down payment on a home is one of the most generous gifts you can give. Teresa Cowart provides tips to make sure the gift is handled appropriately. Avoiding these typical mistakes will help get the loan approved.

First, the gift must be documented. The buyer needs to write a letter that documents the exact amount of the gift. They should specify that it’s a gift and not a loan that must be repaid. They should specify their relationship to the person giving the gift and both must sign the letter.

It’s important that the buyer doesn’t raise any red flags. Red flags include not keeping records of the gift. Too many deposits in different accounts and not communicating with the those giving the gift.

Negotiating 101 – How To Get The Best Deal

This article is useful for buyers and sellers. As David O’Doherty points out, negotiating isn’t all about price. Sellers always want to get the best possible price for their home. Buyers want to make sure they don’t overpay. It’s easy to get so focused on the price that we forget other things.

Does the buyer want the seller to contribute to closing costs? A full list price with 3% contribution in closing costs is not a full list price offer. The buyer may need to raise the purchase price above the list price to get the deal. The problem with that is whether the home will appraise.

Other items that are negotiable include how much Earnest Money is required. Under some circumstances, the buyer or seller may want to delay the closing date. Following the inspection, repairs may need to be negotiated. Sometimes appliances and personal property can be included or excluded in the sale.

Disastrous Affects of Over-Pricing Your Home

Kevin Vitali points out that pricing the home right is 80% of selling your home. Not getting the right price can have disastrous consequences.

There are many reasons sellers overprice their homes. Sometimes they spent more than they should in improvements. Most improvements don’t return 100% of their price. Other sellers base the price on how much money they need. Or they leave bargaining room or use a Zestimate. Using these methods to price a home is a mistake.

So what happens when you overprice your home? You may get a few showings in the beginning. You might be excited when people show up for the first open house but the curious will always show up. As the weeks go by, you get fewer and fewer showings.

You become angry with your agent. You want more advertising and more open houses. What you don’t realize is your home is being rejected every day. It’s in the MLS. Buyers have access to it and they’re deciding it is not worth the price.

Your agent tells you the home is overpriced. You say, “Well they can at least put in an offer”. The offers don’t come because the buyers who would make an offer aren’t looking in your price range. There are many downsides to overpricing your home. The listing will likely expire if you refuse to lower the price.

Vitali suggests pricing your home based on the basics. These include: location, square footage, comps that sold within the last 3-6 months, the number of beds/baths, style, age of the home, condition and features. Work with an experienced Realtor and listen to their suggestion for pricing your home.

How Accurate Are Zillow Estimates

Are Zestimates Acciurate? This is a common question in real estate.

Ferris Property Group is the latest to take a look at how their values compare to real life.

There are many different methods to determine the value of a home. Zillow’s “Zestimate” is based on a proprietary formula but it is not an appraisal.

The formula is applied exactly the same to every home. It doesn’t take into consideration many special features of a home. This can lead to some huge differences between the “Zestimate” and the home’s value. Inaccurate Zestimates can be harmful to both buyers and sellers.

As Ferris concludes, Zestimates often miss the mark. Your best source for determining an accurate property value is to consult with an experienced Realtor.

The final two best blogs of December are for Realtors. The first is to improve your website’s rankings. The second is for the agents deciding which office to join.

One Realtor’s Insight – Building a Powerful SEO Strategy

In Zurple’s How to build a powerful SEO strategy, Alexis Craig gives advice to help agents maximize their website’s visibility. She uses an interesting analogy about “tacking to cover” in sailing.

Craig looks at some of the typical Real Estate practices, like calling expired listings or spending a fortune on postcards. Those are typical “tacking to cover” or do what everyone else does approaches.

Her approach is to use her website. She suggests writing good content for your site and building links to the site. Her approach works. She emailed me one of her offers to write for my website. I receive a lot of those but I liked her writing style. Agents who want their website to rank higher will enjoy her article.

Previous Google Plus Article Re-caps

Have a look at these recent Google+ real estate articles for other great buyer and seller tips!

Each of these former Google Plus real estate round-ups is jam-packed with great advice. Take a look and enjoy!

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.