Warning Signs of Roof Disrepair

Burned out house

A home is only as strong as it’s roof, and if the home a buyer is looking at seems to need a roof re-do, the likelihood that the asking price will be offered drops significantly. From outdated appearances to downright dangerous damage, a roof is typically inspected by a professional home inspector prior to any insurance policies being written for the new owner. Imagine what a disaster it can be to discover a major roof issue after a buyer has purchased their dream home! There are some simple ways to tell if a home should be fitted with a new roof prior to listing it on the market. While the expense of replacing the roof may be burdensome, the benefits will be seen when offers come in much higher than expected!

Some simple ways to tell is a roof needs replacing without hiring a professional include:

Look to History: Whether or not it is known when the last time a home’s roof was serviced, consider that any roof older than 20 years is typically in need of replacement. Experts recommend ensuring that any previously layered shingles or other roofing material be removed to make sure proper ventilation and insulation are established.

Shingle Shakeup: A simple visual inspection can help determine if shingles on the roof need replacing, and in some cases replacement of the entire roof is necessary when cracking and disintegration become apparent, or when some of the shingles are no longer attached to the roof. This can be especially difficult to access in the area known as  “roof valleys” due to their consistent abuse by debris and water. Another sign of shingle degeneration is the presence of shingle granules mixed in with gutter debris. This tends to happen as a roof is nearing the end of it’s lifespan.

Chimney Sweep: If the home has a chimney, be sure to take a look at the flashing to determine it’s condition. Chances are, if the home is older, it will need to be adapted with a metal, water-tight flashing system.

Get High: Climb into the attic of the home and inspect the inside of the roof as best as possible without endangering anyone’s safety. If sunlight is visible through any of the rafters, the roof needs to be replaced. If the threat of animal infestation or water damage aren’t enough to get an homeowner into the attic, call a professional and have this kind of inspection performed before listing the property on the market.

So get checking and be sure to call in the big guns if any of the signs of roof disrepair are present before trying to sell a property.

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Are you a Social Media Savvy Agent?

Pretty female with computer at home with social icons aroundWith social media usage at an all time high, the average smartphone-wielding real estate agent can provide their followers with content that is consistent, relevant and interesting. Between sharing blogs about trending real estate topics, posting photos from an open house, and notifying your subscribers of a new listing in your portfolio, there are many ways to capture the interest of potential home-buyers in your area.

Experts agree that visualization is one of the most effective marketing tools in any industry. The postings on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that draw the most attention typically include a graphic or video to grab the attention of someone scrolling by. Stop their finger in it’s tracks by sharing a show-stopping photo-collage of your newest listing. Consider dynamic drone-captured video which can attract the interest viewers, who will likely share your post simply for the spectacular views.

Social media may be worldwide, but using local community groups and pages to connect with a target audience is another method for agents to gain followers on social media. Take advantage of novelty hashtags (such as #ThrowbackThursday) by including historic photos of your community, easily found online, to create a wave of hometown reminiscence in your social network.

Share listings, but do so in moderation, and with the utmost professionalism. A posting that doesn’t provide enough information, which includes misspelled words, incorrect details, or poor-quality photography is likely to be ignored by all who see it in their feed.Once professional quality photos of a listing are available, consider blogging about the property, for several reasons – firstly, because it will allow for more details than a simple status update, secondly because it will remain on the web as a shareable and discover-able page for as long as it exists, and lastly, because it will look much more streamlined and professional when you share the blog to your social media page as opposed to just pictures with some candid text.

Feedback and analytic information can make-or-break an agent’s social media success. Stay in touch with your followers, responding promptly to their comments, and providing interesting and relevant content to supplement your postings about properties for sale. By providing consistent and positive feedback, as well as nurturing your network with answers to inquires, you will gain attention and provoke action in your followers. When you provide content worth sharing, such as unique graphics and videos, your fan-base will grow, thus increasing the likelihood your listing is seen by its eventual buyer. Another great way to network with potential buyers, as well as other agents, is by using RealEstateAgent.com, the web’s premier networking site for real estate professionals and home buyers,

 

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Baby-proofing Before Move-in Day

Child in a cardboard box with a strongly expressed perspective view.

Moving can be a breeze or a burden, depending on the energy you put into planning and coordinating the details that matter most. When we upgrade to a family home before or following the arrival of a new addition, the challenges of baby-proofing the new space can seem daunting, to say the least.

Get Down to Toddler Level

Start out on your knees, or seated on the floor, to shift your “eye-level” to a toddler’s perspective, then take a look around. Everything that can be reached will be a potential hazard, so keep any electrical outlets, phone jacks, and surge protectors safely covered or out of reach. Once your belongings have been placed inside the new home, you can go from room to room at “Toddler level” tucking away exposed electrical cords, removing debris from moving boxes, ensuring stacked boxes are secure or out of reach, and double-checking that cabinet locks are installed throughout the home.

Unpack Quickly

Ensure that boxes are never stacked higher than one or two at a time, because a curious crawler could topple them, leading to injury. If possible, unpack boxes rapidly to get them out of the way, or keep them in one general area of the house until you can get to them – ensuring this room is off-limits to little ones.

Peanuts, Peanuts, Everywhere!

Packaging materials are a necessary annoyance that comes with moving our valuable and fragile possessions. When moving with small children, the cleanup of all moving-related debris and equipment must be meticulous to ensure a rogue Styrofoam noodle or two don’t end up on the dinner menu for your darling. Eating packaging peanuts and other moving fodder can cause injury in small children during the moving process, a headache no new homeowner needs during this time!

Baby Gates are Your Friend

Love them or hate them, baby gates have earned the respect of families everywhere, because creating “Baby-Free Zones” in your home is often essential. Protecting baby from harm, as well as keeping your home office, exercise equipment, kitchen, or bathroom off-limits to your toddler is vital to their safety in the new home. The many dangers in these rooms will be safe from curious kids with a securely closed baby gate blocking the door. These gates can also be used to block the base of a stairway, or the lip of a fireplace. Many stores offer expandable kits to allow larger areas of your home to be sectioned off with connected panels and gates.

Set Up a Safe Play Zone   

When unpacking in a jiffy just isn’t possible, set up an area of the new home that’s completely baby-safe for your tot to explore and enjoy. The process of opening and organizing may take days or weeks, but having a space for your little one to play without worrying about boxes will prove to invaluable. No-one wants to play “Helicopter Mom” while trying to settle into a new home, so avoid the risk of a post-move mess and reserve a room for your rascal to roam!

All in all, baby-proofing can be a time consuming step in the moving process, but completing the basics before you move in will dramatically reduce the risk of an injury to your child. Remember to sweep thoroughly and remove any remaining tape and clutter from baby-accessible areas after you finish moving in your belongings. Try to remember that moving is a stressful and exciting time for your littlest family members, and add extra cuddles to your moving-day to-do list!

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Selecting a Home Inspector

A man in a hard hat standing in front of an old rundown house holding a clipboard in his hand.

A man in a hard hat standing in front of an old rundown house holding a clipboard in his hand.

When buying, selling, or simply maintaining a home or business, a home inspector can provide insight and information that saves property owners time, money, and potential headaches. Certified home inspectors are generally qualified to determine the condition of a property’s structural integrity, it’s sale and rebuild value,  and the likelihood for future damages due to improper construction, natural disaster, or deterioration over time. They’re also available to perform testing to detect the presence of mold, radon, and other harmful household toxins. Beware, however, because selecting a trustworthy and qualified home inspector makes all the difference, a truth that many homeowners discover the hard way.

 

Licensed and Certified

 

Ensure that the home inspector performing the inspection is licensed and certified by the state where their services are being offered. Certain states, like California, do not require special licensing or certification for home inspection, leaving the field open to undereducated and downright dishonest inspectors. While a license or certification doesn’t guarantee professional and accurate inspection, it is an indication of the minimum acceptable level of education required to perform the services of a home inspector. Finding a licensed and certified home inspector is possible through the American Society of Home Inspectors, The National Association of Home Inspectors, or by simply asking your real estate agent.

 

Experience Is Essential

 

Not only does a lengthy business history offer credibility to upstanding home inspectors, it signifies a level of operational knowledge that is only obtained through hands-on experience. Spending several years inspecting homes in the same area can allow an inspector to cultivate a wealth of locally specific insight. This foresight can offer unique perspectives, and allow your inspector to find regionally common flaws or risks that the new guy may not notice. Asking around town should help with locating a trustworthy home inspection company that knows the ropes in your region.

 

Continued Education is Key

 

Hiring a licensed and certified home inspector with a decade or more of experience in your town will certainly increase the chances of an accurate and helpful inspection report, but the true test of an inspector’s worth is their commitment to keeping up with industry standards and new property risk evaluation information. For real estate agents, home inspectors are the go-to experts that make or break sales. Employ them to give home buyers the confidence they need to sign on the dotted line!

 

Partnership Makes Perfect

 

When you’re buying or selling your property, you can rely on your real estate agent to provide a recommendation for reliable home inspection services in your area. If you don’t have a real estate agent on your side yet, try searching for one using the database at RealEstateAgent.com, an enormous online network where agents, buyers, and sellers can communicate, learn and develop lasting professional connections.Check out the benefits of membership, and find an agent who can recommend a home inspector for your next property evaluation.

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2015 Pinterest Giveaway

1-2 (2)

As Real Estate Agents, we help so many families begin their journey, find a new home, and select a neighborhood based on great local schools for their children. Having a trusted agent to help you make big decisions for your family is like having a friend who you trust to guide you, whether you make a big move, or just transfer across town. As the most reliable source for trustworthy Real Estate Agents, as well a place where dedicated professionals in the industry can come together for the latest information about current market trends, selling strategies, and more, realestateagent.com is proud to have made such an impact with our last Backpack Giveaway, during which we were able to give school supplies to several families in our REA network! After receiving such outstanding feedback about our 2014 Backpack Giveaway, Realeastateagent.com is once again planning to celebrate the end of summer by selecting 20 of our followers to receive brand new back-to-school backpacks!

Stuffed these new bags with the supplies that will help start them off on the right foot this school year, and send them off for the 2015-2016 session with a backpack they can count on to carry all their gear. From pencils and notebooks to rulers and more, school supplies can add up quickly, and we at Realestateagent.com are excited to help some of our followers avoid the high cost of replacing your kids backpacks every year. The rules of the contest are simple, so get your camera ready and involve the whole family in the process!

To enter, make sure you are following Real Estate Agent on Pinterest at Pinterest.com/RealEstateDIY or ‘like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/RealEstateAgent.com. Once you’ve completed the first step, take a few minutes to explore the exciting and helpful content for both homebuyers, sellers, and agents on our Pinterest and Facebook pages! Then create a new board titled “Back to School” and pin photos of your family with your most creative captions explaining why you deserve to win one of our grand prizes! You can also post your pics to our Facebook page with the reason you deserve to win a free backpack. Be sure you use the hashtags #REABacktoSchool and #BackpackGiveaway to ensure we receive your entry!

Make sure you share your entry, and encourage your friends and family to ‘like’, ‘pin’, and share your post! Winners will be selected based on the creativity of their photo captions, and the attention their postings receive on our Pinterest and Facebook contest pages. Remember that this contest is only available to individuals 18 and older, so get your parents in on the fun and tell us why you should receive one of our free back to school backpacks! For the full contest rules and information, including eligibility restrictions, entry deadlines, and conditions for winning, please review the official contest information.

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RealEstateAgent.com Spotlight

In pursuit of the unique, the closers, and the tough-sale champs, the team from RealEstateAgent.com likes to feature Real Estate Agents who exceed the status quot. We want to share their tips and experiences with other agents, to both teach and motivate our followers.

This time, we sat down with Frances Hicks (SFR, ePRO REALTOR, Evergreen Realty~ Homesmart) of  Laguna Niguel, California. This is and agent whose political involvement, photographic talents, and sales-minded outlook have led to success for over 13 years in the industry. Specializing in residential sales throughout The OC, Frances especially loves selling homes along the Coast.

Excitingly, Frances is the only REALTOR listed on the first ever Destination Dream Home Raffle in Laguna Niguel. For more information on the contest, which ends with a grand prize drawing on July 25th, visit the official contest website here.

Frances Hicks, SFR, ePRO REALTOR, Evergreen Realty~HomeSmarDSC00252 (2) frances in coral sweater (533x800)t

When did you start working in the field?
In September of 2002, I was elected to the Orange County Board of REALTORS, just 18 months after I received my license. I served two 3-year terms, and served on the State Association also. I have been a political advocate during the last 16 years, and I am currently active in the South OC Economic Coalition Committee. 

What made you decide you wanted to pursue this career path?
It was the 3rd time I was going to do it, and finally did…

Who/what was the biggest influence when you were starting on this path?
I had some close friends that had done very well in the business and I have always been my own boss. So it was perfect! 

What is the favorite aspect of your career?
I like helping people. I have a knack for teaching people with a flair for using common sense. I give them the Service, they desire and the Results they require… 

What sets you apart from others in your field?
I am a true solutions person and I am mature and people believe me when I say something. I am not a game player. They know they can trust me and I will steer them clean of any challenges. I get the job done, I am also a photographer, and use professional equipment and get the best photos. People want to see what is real. I know to put the toilet seat down!  I am a true MARKETING person, and think outside the box. 

What are your 2015 Goals?
My goals are to be the best REALTOR that I can be, and help 20 families have a great experience whether they are selling or buying a home. Get my entire business online and making the digital world work for me. I also want to mentor a few new agents just coming into the business. I spent 4 years as the “New Member Orientation Chair” for the Orange County Association of REALTORS. I like teaching and transforming information into understanding.

Contact information for the featured agent:

 

Frances Hicks, SFR, ePRO REALTOR

franceshicksREALTOR@gmail.com

949-456-9777

www.FrancesHicks.com

 

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Overall RealEstateAgent.com Reviews

house market symbol

house market symbol

Real estate agents spend a lot of time on the net, spreading word of their hottest listings and trying to organize open houses. Between social media, email, telephone calls, meetings, and more, it’s often overwhelming to create a web of fellow agents and potential buyers and sellers. Realestateagent.com has done just that with their revolutionary networking site, which offers agents and home buyers instant and easy access to resources like helpful sales tips and trending blogs, a place to post listings, agent information, and more. Users of the RealEstateAgent.com website include real estate agents, home buyers, sellers, and other professionals who enjoy the ability to communicate with and learn from others in the industry while forming business relationships that will mutually benefit all involved.

Whatever your interest, whether you need to brush up on your internet sales, connect with more potential sellers, or find an agency to work with in a new town, a membership to RealEstateAgent.com will provide all the necessary avenues, while offering great user perks and up to the minute market information.Thousands of satisfied members are chiming in daily on social media about their experiences. If you’re a real estate agent interested in the benefits of a RealEstateAgent.com membership, check out all the perks and get additional information here.

Check out these testimonials recently posted by users of RealEstateAgent.com:

“I would like to take a minute to address how helpful your Account Manager Sue Taylor has been for my account. I normally do not pay for listing services, but she explained her company’s services and proved to me that we would be great partners to expand my business. She was courteous and patient with me during the numerous times I needed to make changes to my listing. She always answered my emails within a reasonable time period and called me to make sure I was satisfied with my listing. I know service like this will be a win, win partnership to expand my business. Thank you!” -Elizabeth J. Morse Rhodes-

“I’ve been using using RealEstateAgent.com for several years and I have many more leads going to my webpage now. They are also very flexible with helping me with my needs and no high pressure sales. Thank you for the great service. “ -Brenda Trevino-

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Optimize Your Next Open House

House Hunting

How to plan an open house that gets noticed

In a market so saturated with competition, agents are often confronted with the prospect of hosting an open house to which no potential home buyers show up. To avoid this unfortunate, and often discouraging experience, there are some easy and efficient ways to get noticed, attract serious buyers, and close the deal.

Start With the Invitation

A unique invitation is sure to get noticed among the shuffle, and while email is typically the standard for contacting homebuyers for an upcoming showing, there are newer, more effective ways to invite clients, and other potentially interested parties to the event. Social media is a powerful tool in any real estate agent’s arsenal, and can be utilized for invitations, sharing the open house information, posting enticing photos of the home for sale, and even for engaging potential buyers in conversation that will better the chances of them showing up, and perhaps, even bidding on the property in question.

Try to use dynamic images of both the home and yourself to entice homebuyers to check out the event info, and then, impress them with the unique touches that are added to the event itself to give an experience that goes beyond walking halls and counting bathrooms.

Not Your Average Open House

Finding a new home is a process that often includes many open houses, with the same cheesy music in the background, fruit platters, and drab flower arrangements. Amp up the open house in 2015 with interactive events, contests, unique food and drink offerings, live and  trending music, and more! One agent recently drew a crowd using a professional harpist to help demonstrate the elegance and timelessness of a large old home, and the visitors to his open house couldn’t wait to post a pic to Instagram as they strolled the halls holding antique crystal champagne flutes topped off with mimosa. The atmosphere led to a perfect match, and the buyer remarked about how the experience really imparted to them a special love of the old house.

Follow-Up with Finishing Touches

Ideally, a buyer will approach during the open house to make an offer on the property, but even if they don’t, never fear! Be sure to collect contact data from any interested parties and follow up with them promptly to ensure they don’t lose the sensation they felt walking through their future home. Social media can be extremely effective in this way, because it acts as a method of casually contacting clients, as well as a forum to open up a discussion about the home and its selling points. If an agent is really smart, they probably also utilize a membership with RealEstateAgent.com, where networking with untold numbers of potential buyers, and even other agents, can bring about the lead that you need to close the sale and please your client. Whatever you do, remember to make it memorable, provide great food and beverages, and use social media to host invitations, forums, and follow-up conversation until a “Sold” sign is hanging in the front yard!

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Back to School Backpack Giveaway Reviews

kids backpacks

In 2014, Realestateagent.com decided to start a new end-of-summer tradition, celebrating the 2014 back to school season by giving free backpacks to some of our followers, stuffed with goodies from pencils to protractors in preparation for the upcoming school year! The contest was intended to give back to those who have made Realestateagent.com what it is, the foremost online networking tool for agents and homebuyers. School shopping can get expensive, and we wanted to give back to some of our loyal followers.

Our expectations were more than met with the influx of entries coming from families across the country, all hoping that their cleverly captioned photos would win them a brand new bag full of all the supplies they needed for school. When the entry period for the 2014 Realestateagent.com Backpack Giveaway ended, we were amazed at the level of creativity that went into the entries received, and in the end, 8 families were selected to receive the grand prize.

There were Facebook posts with photos of smiling kids proudly displaying their winnings shared to the Realestateagent.com Facebook wall, where they received tons of likes and shares from elated friends and family members alike. Likewise, Pinterest was dotted with snapshots of eager little learners awaiting their fall semester to begin! We were humbled by the appreciation shown by the winners, who were of various ages and grades, from neighborhoods across the country.

Many of the families we helped expressed that our contest had allowed them to indulge in other ways, because a little extra cash can go a long way in a family that is always on the go! Real Estate Agents care about your family and we know how hard it can be to fill up your child’s knapsack for the beginning of a new school year. We are happy to be able to give back to the communities we serve, and we hope that our Backpack Giveaway winners from 2014 enjoyed their school supplies and backpacks throughout the school year. We also hope all of our entrants had fun taking their entry photos and coming up with clever caption ideas to get the picture noticed on our Pinterest board and Facebook timeline.

After so many great reviews of last year’s contest, Realestateagent.com has decided to once again host a Backpack Giveaway for the 2015 school year. In order to allow us to help more families than ever before, we’ve changed the grand prize, and will now be giving a free Backpack to 20 kids whose parents help them enter the 2015 Pinterest and Facebook Backpack Giveaway. It isn’t too late to get in on this year’s contest, so check out the official rules here, and enter to win a FREE backpack to start the school year off right!

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Real Estate Scams — Avoid Becoming a Victim

Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Agent Reviews, Scams, Real Estate ScamsReal Estate directories like RealEstateAgent.com serve to connect buyers and sellers with reputable Real Estate Agents. Having access to these directories allows the average consumer to have confidence in buying or selling property via a trustworthy Real Estate Agent by having access to Real Estate Agent’s reviews, network and listings.  

Unfortunately, most Real Estate shoppers do not use safe, reputable directories and instead take to the Wild West of the unregulated, unchecked internet for the home of their dreams. With “unchecked” and “unregulated” come much more sinister words like “untrustworthy” and “scam.”

As is any business with the potential for a big sum of money to change hands, scammers and grifters of all shapes, sizes and skill levels invade the legitimate Real Estate business to score a big, illegal pay day at someone else’s expense. To avoid becoming a victim of a Real Estate scam, follow these simple rules in all Real Estate interactions.

Phantom Properties

Beware of properties that do not exist. Whether it is to rent or to own, do your research. A simple browse through an online map, now available on most smartphones and all computers with an internet connection, can give you an idea of whether the listing is under a wrong or non-existent address. If it is a an apartment or condo unit, be sure to check it out yourself, or simply call the building or property manager to find out more. If the property is not listed for sale, or doesn’t exist at all, you may want to ask more questions.

Money Upfront

Living in a world of ordering goods online, we are used to paying first and receiving the goods later, so paying a security deposit or first month’s rent right away may not seem like a big deal. However, in order to avoid a scam, be sure to always sign a contract prior to paying anything. Real Estate scammers make it seem like the apartment or condo is a hot deal, and if you don’t pay something to reserve the place, you’ll lose it. Once you pay, the scammer disappears with your money, and your dream property that probably never existed.  

Out of the Country

Claiming to be out of the country is a very popular method of scamming people looking to buy Real Estate or automobiles. Usually, the scenario involves the seller having to leave a prime piece of property due to work or family emergency abroad, and selling/renting the property at a very cheap price… almost a steal! Most of the time, it is. Since they are “out of the country,” they are magically unable to sign or verify any legal documents, but do require a deposit. No matter how sincere someone seems, if they are out of the country, avoiding the deal may be the safest course of action.

Check back soon! Next month, we will be RealEstateAgent.com Reviews, RealEstateAgent.com Agent Reviews, your own Agent Reviews, and how to keep your Real Estate business competitive utilizing Social Media and Real Estate Directories.

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