7 Questions to Ask as You Choose a Real Estate Agent to Help You Sell Your House

I’m at a very exciting crossroads. We might be moving in the next few months. My husband is interviewing for a job in another state, and so far, we feel good about the whole situation.

For us, this means that we might have to sell our home. Yes, we could sell it ourselves without the help of a real estate professional to take a cut, but we also know that we don’t want to deal with the hassles associated with the whole process. Unfortunately real estate agent commissions are one of the hidden costs of owning a home.

And if we have to move before the home sells, I’d rather have a knowledgeable and trustworthy real estate agent available to take care of everything while we’re trying to learn the ropes in a new city.

questions to ask your real estate agent

An alternative would be to rent out the house, but there are a lot of things to consider before becoming a landlord.

In order to make this work (if it really does come to it), I’ll need to “interview” potential agents. Here are 7 questions I plan to ask the real estate agents I consider during the vetting process:

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How to Add Real Estate to Your Investment Portfolio

This is a guest post by Brandon Turner from BiggerPockets.com

how to add real estate to your investment portfolio

There are a lot of ways to retire wealthy.

Stocks, mutual funds, building businesses, and numerous other “investment vehicles” that you can take to get you to a relaxing and wealthy retirement.

However, while most professionals understand that saving a good portion of your paycheck and investing it in the stock market can help you get there, many do not understand how to add real estate into that portfolio without ending up a tired, busy landlord with more problems than time.

It’s for this reason I want to share my thoughts with you today on how you can add real estate investing into your portfolio to accelerate your savings, add to your net worth, and retire with a larger investment portfolio.
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Planning a Short Sale? Why You Need to Consider Completing the Transaction Before the End of the Year

short saleAn increasing number of homeowners are turning to short sales in order to unload their homes without going through a foreclosure.

If you decide that a short sale is right for your situation, it’s important to understand that you will need to complete the transaction before the end of the year if you want to avoid running into tax problems that can weigh on your finances.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the mortgage lender agrees to accept less than you owe on the home in the name of selling the house. If you owe $200,000 on your mortgage, but home values have dropped in your neighborhood so that you can only get $180,000 for the home, a lender might be willing to allow you to sell the home “short” of what you owe. Short sales also come into play when you are having problems staying current with your mortgage payments.

A short sale can help you avoid a foreclosure. This means less hassle for the lender in many cases, and the lender might get more with your short sale than with an attempt to sell a real estate owned property.

You are forgiven the difference between what you owe and what the home sells for. In this instance, you are forgiven $20,000.

“Wait… this sounds too good to be true!”

There are a few other things you need to know about the short sale process, especially for this year: [Read more…]

Home Sweet Home: What is the True Cost of Having Your Own Home?

Waking up in a place of your own with the birds chirping right outside your window is a great feeling.

You go outside and enjoy your coffee on the back porch, simply enjoying the quiet that comes with not living in an apartment.

Your neighbors are friendly, the sun is shining, and you know it is going to be another great day of owning a home.

true costs of owning a home

Everything is going great… until the peaceful morning is ruined by the sound of your air conditioner going out.
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What Your Home is Worth to You vs. What It’s Worth To Someone Else

how much is your home worthOne of the most difficult things that many of us have to come to terms with is that our stuff is worth more to us than it is to someone else.

Anyone who has tried to sell a formerly-treasured possession, sure that it is worth $50, knows the disappointment of realizing that someone else only thinks it’s “worth” about $25 or $30 — or possibly even less.

The same thing can be true of your home.

Chances are that you think your home is worth more than it actually is.

When you go to sell your house, it’s hard to think that the home that you have put so much into just isn’t worth as much as you thought.
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How to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment

appeal property taxFew of us like paying taxes.

Especially if we feel as though we are paying more than we should.

One of the ways that some local governments have been raising revenues in recent years has been through higher property taxes.

Governments don’t have to raise the property tax rate to see a boost, though; all they have to do is change the assessment on your home.

The more your home is “worth,” the higher your property taxes.

I know I was surprised two years ago to see that my home had increased in by about $10,000 — in spite of the fact that homes in my neighborhood were selling for $20,000 less than their original owners paid for them.

If you have questions about what your home is worth, and how it’s been assessed by your city, county, or state, you can appeal the assessment, and possibly pay less in property taxes. Here’s what to do:
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Mortgaging the House, Not the Marriage

should you pay pmi just marriedMoney is a difficult issue for many couples to discuss.

As I talked about in a previous video post, money issues are the #1 cause for strains on a marriage.

It brings out insecurities, fears, anxieties, feelings of competitiveness and many other not-so-great emotions.

But money is a fact of life, and taking control of finances is vital, especially in an uncertain economic climate.

For newlyweds, the issue of financial planning can cause enormous rifts. According to a recent Forbes article, 10 Ways Budgeting Saved My Marriage,

In the article it states,

“Over 50% of marriages end in divorce.  Over 50% of those splits cite financial disputes as the primary reason for the break-up.”

One of the greatest things a young couple can do together is to buy a home. It screams optimism for a shared future. But house payments and mortgages can also be a huge source of stress and cause divisiveness that can be irreparably damaging down the road.
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Why My Family Decided To Become Landlords

read this before becoming landlordsThis is a guest post by Hank Coleman who writes about personal finance, investing, and retirement on his blog, Money Q&A. Hank shares his story about how he and his wife decided to become landlords.

I will tell you that I don’t know the first thing about this topic, so I would encourage anyone that is considering it, to read this first before becoming a landlord. I know there are pros and cons into becoming a landlord, so weigh all your options before diving in. Enter Hank…..

Many corporations in America require their employees to move every so often in order to give them with career progression, new opportunities, and challenges as they move up the ranks.

My employer is no different and recently told me of an impending move.

Like many Americans, I’m faced with a daunting choice.

Do I try and sell my home or become a reluctant landlord?

The anxiety of losing large sums of money or equity is one of the greatest fears for most homeowners with an impending move. I wanted to share with you some of my family’s thought process as to how we came to our decision to become landlords for the first time instead of selling.
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Should You Buy a Timeshare Now?

Buying a Time Share

Timeshare worth it?

When I was in college, one of my roommates’ parents had a timeshare.

They weren’t going to use it one of the weekends it was their “turn,” so we decided, as roommates, to take a mini-vacation and stay in the timeshare.

It was a lot of fun, and it got me thinking that maybe, when I grew up, I’d like to rent or buy timeshare.

I’ve changed my mind since then, however. I don’t think a timeshare is right for me — and certainly not the type of timeshare that locks you in to one specific location. What happens if you don’t want to vacation in the same place year after year? There are other timeshare options available out there now, and some might even be a good deal, if you are a certain sort of person. [Read more…]

The Must Read Property Guide to Buy Foreclosed Homes and Make Money…Serious Money

This is the 2nd installment from my buddy Eric Moorman, who I consider to be a real estate investing genius. Be sure to check out his first post “How I make $250,000 a year investing in real estate“, in case you missed it.Also, if you want to learn more about real estate investing, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter below.
How to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Buying a Foreclosure

I t is no surprise; there are a LOT of Foreclosures in the Real Estate market right now.

It is also no surprise these houses can be bought at steep discounts.

In fact, Foreclosures, in my opinion, are the hottest thing going in Real Estate investing.

The market is full of them, and the banks are holding thousands back, so as not to flood the market even more. As most of you know, banks are not in the business of Real Estate. They are in the business of loaning money. When a bank gets a Foreclosure, it is a toxic asset on the banks books. Now, more than any other time in history, banks are dumping these toxic assets for pennies on the dollar.
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How I Make Over $250,000 a Year in Real Estate Investing (And I’m Only 29)

A few years ago, after watching nearly every single episode of Flip This House, I was determined that I was going to be a real estate mogul.

I remember bragging to a friend, after making my first offer on a duplex, how I planned on buying 10 more rental properties in the next year.

Reflecting back, I was an idiot.

I severely overpaid for my first property and was fortunate to get out of the deal without losing any money.

I was lucky. I quickly learned that I had no clue about how to really make money with real estate.

Never forgetting my real estate investing blunder, I was thoroughly impressed when I met my buddy Eric Moorman. How fitting that I met Eric when he came to the door of my old home when we were trying to sell it “For Sale By Owner”.

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Rent Vs. Owning: When Does it Make Sense to Buy?

Yesterday, I offered my take on when it might make sense to rent a home vs. buying. Today, Miranda offers her two “cents” on the topic.

One thing that the housing market crash taught us is that not everyone is ready to buy a home. We are so used to thinking of home ownership as part of the American Dream that we sometimes forget that it is impractical for some people to buy a home. However, if you are in a stable financial position, and you have prepared ahead of time, it can make sense to buy. You can use an online calculator to help you make that decision. Here are some things to think about as you consider whether or not you are ready to buy a home or keep renting:
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