Homeownership isn’t always easy or cheap. There are often expenses you would rather not pay but are unavoidable or recommended. December’s best real estate articles offer some valuable advice for homeowners regarding these expenses.

When it’s time to sell, there are many things that you could be doing to improve your chances of getting the price you want. If you are about to sell your home, some of the articles this month provide information that could be very valuable.

Reasons to Have Your Property Surveyed

When you own property, there are always bills to pay. While you will want to avoid as many of these as possible, some can save you money later.

Property surveys can become very important when you own land, providing helpful information about the topography, structures, utilities, and more.

Bill Gassett takes you through all the essential things you need to know about surveys and the reasons to have your property professionally surveyed. He helps you understand the process involved in a survey and how it can be useful to the homeowner.

Do you know if the boundaries and fences around your property are in the right place? Boundary disputes can quickly arise between neighbors if it isn’t clear where the property lines are.

A professional survey should clarify boundary mistakes and reveal other violations or encroachments. If you are planning improvements, a survey can prevent you from making a costly mistake.

Best Real Estate Articles Dec 2023

Revealing the Hidden Costs of Ownership

When you want to move from renting to owning your home, saving a down payment can take many months. You might think you are ready to buy when you have your down payment. However, there are more expenses you will need to cover when you become a homeowner.

Luke Skar reveals the hidden costs you must pay when buying a home. He will show you how to set a budget so you don’t spend more than you can afford, requiring mortgage payments that take too much of your monthly income.

While you might know about property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and HOA fees, there are less obvious costs.

It could be a nasty surprise if you aren’t ready for these additional costs. Luke advises you on what to look for and recommends an emergency fund to cover you if the worst happens.

Why Dual Agency Should Be Avoided By Buyers and Sellers

Dual agency in real estate refers to a real estate agent representing the buyer and the seller in a transaction. While it may seem convenient to have one agent handling both sides of the deal, it can negatively impact buyers and sellers.

For buyers, dual agency can create a conflict of interest. The agent may prioritize the seller’s interests over the buyer, as they have a legal obligation to act in the best interest of both parties. This can lead to the buyer receiving less favorable terms or missing out on important information about the property.

Furthermore, dual agency may limit the buyer’s negotiating power. Since the agent has access to confidential information from both parties, they cannot fully advocate for the buyer’s interests. This can result in the buyer paying more for the property than in a transaction where a buyer’s agent protects their interests.

On the other hand, sellers may also be disadvantaged by dual agency. The agent may not be as motivated to negotiate aggressively on their behalf, as they have a vested interest in closing the deal quickly to earn their commission. This can result in the seller receiving a lower price for their property or less favorable terms.

Additionally, dual agency can create a lack of transparency in the transaction. The agent may withhold certain information or fail to disclose potential issues with the property that could affect the buyer’s decision-making process. This lack of transparency can lead to legal disputes and a breakdown of trust between the parties involved.

From many years of experience selling real estate, agents who practice dual agency will never explain the downsides. The double commission is far more crucial to an agent than doing what’s right by their client.

Making the Most of an Open House

If you’re going to have an open house to help sell your home, you’ll want to make the most of it. Finding a buyer could be a great chance, but it can create potential safety problems if you aren’t careful.

To help you better use an open house event, Kevin Vitali walks you through what you can do to make the most of the opportunity. He looks at preparation, planning, timing, and the marketing that needs to happen to help your home find a buyer.

Unfortunately, not all the visitors to your open house will be there for the right reasons. Kevin advises keeping you and your possessions safe since you invite strangers to walk around your home.

While you might expect to sell your home because of an open house, he warns you must scale back your expectations. He also helps you question if having an open house is the best option and if, instead, it might be better to turn down this opportunity.

Steps For Terminating a Real Estate Agent

Unfortunately, in life, there are times when we all make bad choices. One such instance is picking a real estate agent. The best way is always through a thorough interview process. That doesn’t always happen, which commonly leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Both buyers and sellers will research how to fire a Realtor. Look at what you can do to end the relationship with a real estate agent and why you may want to do so. You’ll see actionable advice on getting rid of an underperforming agent.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Design Choices

Stainless steel appliances and fixtures have been popular for a long time, but do they still make a good choice nowadays?

Should you choose stainless steel if you will replace an appliance or plan to remodel your kitchen? Karen Highland looks into the current popularity of stainless steel and what might affect availability and your choice.

Karen finds that stainless steel remains a popular option that compliments many different kitchen styles, though more alternative options are increasingly used.

If you are looking to replace appliances or fixtures, many more choices are available than once. Karen looks at the other metals and finishes that might suit your kitchen and be a more exciting choice to fit with the style of your home.

How Long Will Your Home Take to Sell?

When selling your home, you’ll probably want to get the papers signed as quickly as possible to move on. But how long will the selling process take?

In Paul Sian’s article on how long it takes to sell a home, he reveals the factors that could significantly affect the timeline. If you are preparing to have your home listed, this will give you a lot of information on the steps you can take to speed up the process.

He writes about how vital pricing the home is and how you can create more interest with the listing price. He also covers what to expect when accepting an offer so you don’t unnecessarily delay the sale.

Things can always go wrong before closing, and Paul gives you the information to prepare you for the problems that could derail the process.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

When your home is listed for sale, you naturally want the best price, but things often go wrong. It is easy to make mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars when trying to sell your home.

Kevin Vitali offers some precious advice to help you learn from other people’s mistakes. He provides 23 tips to help you get the best price for your property. For example, when you have lived in a home for a long time, it is easy to overlook some problems.

You might think your home is clean and tidy enough, but potential buyers might have a different opinion. Buyers will look at your home with new eyes, and while you no longer notice that stain on the carpet, they will.

Deep cleaning, decluttering, and home staging are essential but often overlooked by sellers.

Types of Real Estate Listing Agreements

You could sign a few different listing agreements when you hire a real estate agent. The real estate agency agreement will set out the commission, the length of the arrangement, and the marketing methods used.

The three most common types of listing contract include:

  • Exclusive right to sell
  • Exclusive agency
  • Open listing

If you are considering signing a list agreement, you will want to read this article by Bill Gassett before you do.

Bill takes you through a careful review of each of these contracts to make the best decision. You will see the pros, cons, and considerations.

Is it Time to Replace Your Roof?

The cost of replacing your roof will not be cheap, and it is certainly something you will want to put off if you can. So, how do you know if now is the time that you need to replace your roof? This article from Michelle Gibson discusses the warning signs indicating a roof needing replacement.

If you have damaged or missing shingles on your roof, will repairs be good enough, or is it time to replace the whole roof?

Perhaps a leak has you worried you need a new roof. Michelle talks you through all indications that show it’s time to spend the money on a new roof. She also explains the different roof types and what to consider before hiring a contractor.

Final Thoughts

These articles for December offer more valuable advice to homeowners planning to sell, maintain, or make changes to their property. Navigating the sales process can be challenging for sellers, but with some of the advice offered this month, you should get a better result.


Look at some of the excellent advice from past real estate roundups.

Luke Skar


About the author: the above roundup of the best articles from December 2023 was written by Luke Skar. Luke is a 20+ year veteran of the mortgage industry. He strives to stay updated with the latest changes and trends in mortgage lending and real estate.

Through his mortgage blog, websites, and social media accounts, he aims to help the community with as much factual knowledge as possible that benefits all parties in real estate transactions.