Top Real Estate Articles Published by Bloggers in December

With November past us, it is time to “feast” your eyes on the best real estate articles for the month of December. Find articles on home buying, selling, maintenance, financing, and more in December’s best real estate articles.

Things You Should Never Say (or Do) In Your Real Estate Listing

When it comes time to list your home, your actual listing on various websites are generally the first contact a buyer has with your home. It is your chance to show high-quality photographs, data, and detailed descriptions of your home. There are certain things you should never say in your real estate listing.

But, this is a time to consider how you present your home carefully. The first and most crucial part of your online listing is providing quality, real estate photos of your home. There is no room for out of focus, poorly lit, crooked pictures.

Kevin Vitali also points there is no room for exaggerating the condition or size of your home. To bring buyers to your home under false pretenses will only lead to buyers automatically having a negative feeling towards your home.

Lastly, be aware of any fair housing violations. Every state has different laws, and it is essential to know what the protected classes are for your state as well as the federal government. Avoid any fair housing issues in your real estate listing.

Best Real Estate Articles December 2019 Real Estate Agent, Broker, REALTOR®…What’s The Difference?

Often when you are buying or selling a home, the terms real estate agent, real estate broker, and REALTOR are thrown around loosely as meaning the same thing. While they can all help you buy and sell a home, there are subtle differences.

Real estate agents must work for a broker and are doing business as a representative for the broker. A broker is a real estate agent who has had further education to be able to run a brokerage and have agents work for them. A REALTOR is an agent or broker that belongs to the National Association of REALTORS and in doing so, holds themselves to a higher ethical standard. They follow what is known as the real estate code of ethics.

Bill Gassett explains the difference between a real estate agent, real estate broker, and a REALTOR® in his detailed article. Consumers should understand that even though the words broker, real estate agent, and Realtor are used interchangeably they have different meanings. Buyers and sellers should understand that choosing the right agent is a crucial process.

Why Would I Get A Pre-Listing Appraisal?

Tom Horn covers the pros and cons of a pre-listing appraisal when you are considering selling your home.

So why would you even want to consider an appraisal before listing your home if a buyer is just going to get one for their mortgage?

At the crux of every appraisal or comparative market analysis is comps. Comps or comparable homes are homes that are similar to the subject home. But occasionally, an agent may run into a home that has no logical comps to compare to your home too.

This is a perfect time to bring in an appraiser before listing a home. The second set of eyes will help set a fair market price using exact guidelines that a bank will require of a buyer’s appraiser. The pre-listing appraisal can help you move forward with confidence with a home that is difficult to price.

FAQ’s From Buyers to Real Estate Agents

When you are buying a home for the first time, it can not only be exciting but scary as well. It is so easy to make mistakes that could cost you a significant amount of money. Given the high probability of doing something wrong, it makes sense for buyers to study up as much as they can.

You can start by understanding the answers to some of the most frequently asked homebuying questions. Dig in and get comfortable with everyday things you should know about in a real estate transaction. Avoid problems by becoming as knowledgable as you can.

Why Have a Buyer’s Agent?

Still, to this day, there are buyers who don’t understand the value of having their own buyer’s agent. These people often think that going directly to the listing agent is somehow going to save them thousands of dollars. What they fail to understand its that the listing agent works for the seller.

Getting a couple of thousand dollars rebate in commission is not worth risking all the things a buyer’s agent does for you during the course of a sale. The article at House Call explains all of the benefits a buyer’s agent provides.

Tips To Sell Your Home In The Winter

Everybody has it in their mind it is best to sell your house during the spring season. Yet many successful home sales occur at all different times of the year. One season sellers wonder about is winter.

And, there can be some great reasons to list your home during the winter season with one being the timing is just right. Winter is a great time as you are also competing with fewer homes for sale, and the buyers that are looking are usually earnest buyers.

Don’t hesitate to list your home this winter. Eric Jeanette gives some great tips to listing your home during the winter season. First and foremost… keep it shoveled and provide buyers with access to the house. Don’t forget to clear the back deck so your buyers can envision the warmer months outside.

Another tip is to light it up. With it getting dark early, make sure your home is well lit for your buyers to be able to considerate it.

With these great tips, don’t shy away from listing your home in the winter.

What Are The Upsides and Downsides of Rent to Own?

Have you been renting and would eventually like to own a place of your own. You are not alone. The American dream of homeownership is alive and well. Sometimes, however, buyers don’t have the financial means to jump right away into owning a house. Another alternative is renting to own. Do you know how a rent to own agreement works? Most people don’t.

In the article at Abodo, see a comprehensive explanation of the pros and cons of a rent to own arrangement. Before jumping in, make sure you know both the advantages and disadvantages.

Tips For Selling As A For Sale By Owner

Sometimes a seller decides to go it alone and skip hiring a real estate agent to sell their home. What motivates them to do so can vary.

Selling your home as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) requires pretty much the same steps as an agent selling your homes as Paul Sian points out in his article filled with tips for selling a FSBO.

Paul discusses how critical preparing your home and choosing the proper list price are prior to presenting your home for sale. Once you are on the market and are advertising online the quality of your real estate photos are extremely important

In summary, a successful sale is planned and usually doesn’t happen on its own. You have a lot of work ahead of you that an agent would normally do. You will earn every penny you may save if you list on your own.

Save On Energy Costs This Winter

Winter is now upon us and many homeowners are trying to keep their houses warm and save on energy costs as well.

In Joe Boylan’s article, about saving on energy costs, the first step is starting with an energy audit. Many utility companies offer inexpensive energy audits or even free. An audit will give you a plan to work on to lower those energy costs.

Two simple ways to start saving immediately is to convert all your bulbs to LED and to install a programmable thermostat. By taking both these steps you should see a significant cost in your utility bills.

Long term, think about adding weather stripping, insulation and updating your windows to further utility savings.

Tips For Buying A Fixer Upper

Not everyone wants the pristine home. There are buyers that love buying a fixer-upper. Their vision for the home is one that may be completed years from now. A fixer-upper allows them to renovate and finish a home the way they would like.

While buying a fixer-upper may have its appeal, it can come with downsides if you are not fully prepared.

Sharon Paxson provides some great tips for buying a fixer-upper. It is important to remember after you sink your money into renovations you want to be able to sell your house for what you spent on the cost of purchasing and renovating.

Sharon’s top advice is don’t forget basic principles like buying for location first, don’t skip the home inspection and be realistic on renovation costs. As a final thought, if you are doing some of the renovations yourself make sure you can complete them in a professional manner.

Avoid These First-Time Buyer Mistakes

When you are buying your first home blunders are commonplace, especially when you do not have a team of professionals in your corner such as a real estate agent, mortgage broker, and attorney. Most first-time homebuyer mistakes are avoided when you have people offering skilled guidance backed by years of experience.

Over at the Rochester Real Estate Blog, get some timely guidance on what not to do when purchasing your first home.

Visually Enlarging Small Spaces

Whether you have an existing home, just bought one or are selling one, most people want their living spaces to look larger, airy and spacious. Not every home is blessed with such living areas.

Anita Clark provides some awesome tips for visually enlarging your living space.

One of the first places to start is carefully choosing a color scheme. Using contrasting colors can help create depth and visually enlarge your space. For example, an off white wall with dark green accents or a light grey with navy blue accents will help create the depth that will help make your space look larger.

Also contrary to popular belief a few larger pieces of furniture will work better than smaller pieces of furniture to open up the space.

Don’t forget to check out Anita’s other tips on how to make your small spaces look larger.

What Renovations Give The Highest Return On Investment?

Almost no renovation will return you a 100% of your investment immediately after being completed. When considering a renovation project, it is important to check your motivation and be realistic about how long you are going to live in your house.

Chris Highland uses Remodel Magazines Cost vs Value annual report to determine what renovations have the highest return on investment.

No matter what you decide to do as far as renovations go, remember to keep them in the standard of the surrounding neighborhood. As agents, more often than not, we see sellers over-improving for the neighborhood while overestimating the value of the renovation.

Still topping the list is a modest kitchen remodel, returning over 80 percent of its cost.

It is best to plan carefully and maintain and remodel your home over time, so you get the benefit of the renovation and amortize the cost of the renovation while you remain in the home. Yet, it will still have relatively modern décor when it comes time to sell.

Should You Hire A Solo Agent Or A Real Estate Team?

When it comes time to hire a real estate agent to either buy a home or list a home with, you may run into two choices. Hire a solo agent or a real estate team.

Either choice comes with pros and cons and it is important you understand how each impacts your sale, as well as your interactions with your agent.

Teams have been in vogue for the past few years. While it seems like you have many agents or support staff working for you, the downside is you lose that one point of contact and individual attention you may have with a solo agent. On the other hand, maybe you like the structure a team can bring to the transaction.

Michelle Gibson suggests asking the right questions to decide whether a team or solo agent is right for your individual circumstances.

Financing Your Home Improvements

Do you have big plans to do some home improvement? But your funds don’t match your budget?

Eric Jeanette covers the three most popular ways to fund your home improvements. Each has its own pros and cons. You may already have a home equity loan on your home that is untapped that you can draw on for that new bathroom remodel.

If not, you can consider opening one or a cash-out refinance where you can tap into your home’s equity to fund your renovation.

As a third option, you can consider an FHA Rehab Loan which will allow you to borrow 110% of the finished value of your home after the improvements.

Whatever your project, discover the pros and cons of each with Eric’s article.

Comparing Different Types of Home Improvement Loans

Are you considering doing some home renovations at your place? One of the first considerations should be the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs. Two popular choices are an FHA 203k Loan and a Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loan. You can see a comparison of these two types of renovation loans in the article from Luke Skar. Luke offers up some valuable tips.

What Is Trending In 2020?

Petra Norris has put together a thoughtful article on where the real estate market has been and where it is most likely headed.

Not only does she discusses 2020 real estate market trends but she discusses how that effects the two groups of buyers we will see in force for 2020. Those two sets of buyers will be first time home buyers and move-up buyers.

Learn how to have the most successful sale you can with each group of buyers.

Previous Best of Real Estate Roundups

Use these additional roundups to get informed on numerous topics to help buyers and sellers to make informed business decisions.

Kevin Vitali


About the author: The December 2019 Real Estate Round-Up was provided by Kevin Vitali. Kevin helps residential home buyers and home sellers achieve their housing goals in Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties in Massachusetts.