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11 Of The Most Underrated Places In Texas That You Really Should See

Texas is easily the size of three of most other states. In such a huge place, there are bound to be a lot of hidden treasures to find that don’t get quite enough credit. Whether it’s a city with an undeserved bad rap, or a hidden nature preserve, we’re highlighting some amazing locations that you may otherwise overlook in your journey across the Lone Star state.


1. El Paso, TX

El Paso is usually an underdog in the eyes of Texas tourists, but it actually has quite a bit to offer. For instance, the Scenic Overlook gives an amazing view of the town and Franklin Mountains. The Plaza Theater has NYC style seating, and has a very high review rating. You can also take the Wyler Aerial Tramway across the mountains for an amazing view of the surrounding nature.

Via Twitter

2. Galveston, TX

Galveston isn’t just about the beach. Not only does this place have great restaurants, and serve as the docking bay for several major cruise liners, but it also has a number of other entertainment options. There is the 4D Theater which takes 3D movies as far as you can go with all sorts of sensory stimulation. There are several pyramid buildings with different themes, such as a deep sea aquarium and a rainforest. There is even a seasonal Festival of Lights that illuminates the night sky in November.

Via Tumblr

3. Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth is a large part of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. From a distance, this place may look like just one big sprawl of steel and concrete. While that may be partially true, there are some real gems hidden in this big, bad boy of a city. There are the Stockyards National Historic District, where the wild west is represented for tourists, day and night. The Fort Worth Zoo is considered one of the top ranked zoos in the nation. If high adrenaline is your flavor of choice, the Texas Motor Speedway can keep you entertained for hours. Finally, check out the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame to learn about the brave women of the wild west.

Via Flickr | H Medcalf

4. The Big Thicket National Preserve

The Big Thicket National Preserve is about 97,000 acres of underrated forest, located near Beaumont, Texas. It has over 40 miles of hiking trails, nine different ecosystems, and a very wide variety of animal and plant life. It is an excellent location for bird watchers.

Via My San Antonio

5. Austin, TX

Austin hides many gems for recreation, relaxation, and pure entertainment. One of these gems is the Hope Outdoor Gallery. It’s a three-story, educational art project meant as a positive outlet for graffiti artists, muralists, and any artist that wants to display an uplifting piece in such a fashion.

Via Pinterest

6. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife refuge offers an elevated, 2.2 mile Rimrock Trail, as well as prairies, desert, and wetlands all mixed together.

Via Flickr | mlhradio

7. The Pedernales Falls State Park

This beautiful park is located near Austin. It has a trail known as the Wolf Mountain Trail which ascends 1,000 feet, and many areas for swimming and climbing along the falls. This hidden jewel is well worth taking a camping trip for.

Via Flickr | jdeeringdavis

8. Seminole Canyon State Park

This state park has a number of wonders. Fate Bell Shelter has some of the oldest Native American pictographs around, as well as being one of the oldest known cave dwellings. There is also an interpretive center with exhibits relating to the canyon’s history. Throw in the camping, mountain biking, and extensive nature, and you are set for at least a couple of days.

Via Flickr | mlhradio

9. Balmorhea State Park

This is a hidden oasis in the deserts of West Texas, and is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. There is a variety of wildlife here to enjoy, as well as plenty of opportunity for scuba diving, swimming, or just relaxing on a float to enjoy the scenery.

Via Flickr | Angi English

10. The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

The amazing preserve is 227 acres of Hill Country beauty, including a waterfall. This place has 2.5 miles of hiking trails and a Creative Research Center, owned by the St. Edwards University. This center serves as a welcoming hub, as well as a research center for the University students.

Via Flickr | Zahid

11. The Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail

This trail system is located in San Antonio and has 47 miles of developed trails, as well as 1,200 acres of creekside park lands. This trail is perfect for hiking, or biking.

Via sanantonio.gov
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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy A For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Home

Realtors and agents across the country dread the FSBO (For Sale By Owner), and it’s not just because these sellers are playing dress-up and pretending to be real estate agents. There are all sorts of headaches and hiccups that can happen when not working with a professional, and here are the top five:

1. Trust

A FSBO is the owner of the home they want to sell, and they are not a licensed real estate agent. They aren’t bound by the Code of Ethics that Realtors are, and may do and say whatever they want to get their home sold. This is like buying sand from a guy on the beach, or taking nutrition advice from Little Debbie.

2. Documentation

It is required by law for disclosures to be made about the condition of the home, and if any repairs were made. A real estate agent will have access to the database of paperwork and have it properly documented, and know how to pull records to verify there aren’t outstanding liens, assessments, or back taxes owed. A FSBO may not even know this documentation is required, and possibly may try to cover things up.

3. Negotiation

Throughout a real estate transaction, there are so many back and forth negotiations going on you’d think it was a tennis match. This is because real estate agents are hired to best represent their clients, and there are so many complexities involved, including: the offer, closing date, financing terms, comps, appraisal report, inspection report, daily occupancy rate, and more—so it’s best to let the professionals handle it all. FSBOs, on the other hand, are representing themselves and don’t care what you need or want.

4. Finances

It’s easy to assume that a FSBO is broke; otherwise they would’ve hired a professional real estate agent. If the seller is broke, then what happens if the home doesn’t appraise? Or if the inspection report reveals the furnace and roof are on their last leg and need replacing? It’s also easy to assume that a FBSO is just cheap; otherwise they would’ve hired a professional. This may be worse, actually. Do you really want to buy a house from someone who might have also cut corners on their home instead of paying a professional to fix the plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.?

5. Sense of urgency

Anyone who wants to sell their home, and wants it to sell it quick, will hire a real estate agent to get the job done. Maybe the sellers are relocating, or need a larger home and want to move over the summer before the kids go back to school. Or, maybe they’re just really smart and trust a professional to do the job right! You won’t find as much urgency with a FSBO, because most times they have no clue where they’re moving or when. And according to a recent news report, you could even run into problems getting them to vacate after closing!

In summary, why do some people think they are qualified real estate agents and list their homes FSBO? Statistics show that an overwhelming 85% of them do list with a real estate agent eventually, so that speaks volumes. As for the 15% that don’t? Well, most will probably die trying… in the same house that’ll be eventually sold by a real estate agent.

The Bottom Line

There are some wonderful homes on the market that are listed by owner. It’s not that you should necessarily turn a blind eye to them; rather, don’t go into the situation alone. If you don’t have an agent, hire one to represent your best interests. And if you already have one, now is NOT the time to go rogue. Oftentimes the only thing that’s able to salvage a FSBO deal is the help of an experienced agent.

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Why Buying A House Is Like Planning A Wedding

Location, Location, Location! It’s just as important in real estate as it is in executing the wedding. It basically sets the mood for the rest of your life. Do you want a country setting? A city high rise? Cozy backyard shindig?

And just like a wedding, there are multiple players involved in purchasing a home. Each has an important role to play in making things go down without a hitch. Here are the main players:

Bride = Buyer

As long as she thinks she’s in charge, it’s all good. Expect momentary flashes of schizophrenia and crazy texts over nothing of actual importance. Normally, a very nice person but always be on the lookout for Bridezilla to emerge.

Groom = Moving Company

Not really an important player until after the paperwork is signed.

Mother of the Bride = Home inspector

“Nope. This house sucks. No good. Needs to be replaced. Might as well start over and find a new dream property. I said no. No means no. Fine do whatever your want.”

Minister = Insurance Agent

Mostly along for the ride after the union passes regulated counseling. Likes to be paid (and fed) handsomely at the reception.

Bridesmaids = Buyer’s Agent

These are the people who will walk hand in hand with you to see 14 different dresses/houses. They will laugh, cry and stress over every little detail with you.

Best Man = Listing Agent

Been buddies forever. Lots of embarrassing stories but we will all try to ignore those because we are serious, sophisticated adults now. Mostly just involved for the drinks and witness the bridal party meltdown.

Father of the Bride = Loan Officer

Also known as the gatekeeper for the whole transaction. Usually bringing all the funds to closing. Don’t lie to this person. Your fate is in their hands.


RELATED: Top 10 Reasons You Should Date or Marry a Real Estate Agent


Wedding Planner = Title Agent/Closing Attorney

This is the person running the whole show from behind the magical curtain. Deserves a pay raise and WAY more credit than they usually get.

Flower Girl = Appraiser

Sure, she’s been cute for 6 months leading up to the big day. However, by the bridal luncheon the day of, she seriously needs a nap, a lollipop and a bribe to behave like a sweet little angel until we can get this knot tied up. Pretty please?!

Photographers

Crucial in both weddings and real estate. Overpaid but totally worth every penny.

Oh, and although the following isn’t a “person”, it’s a crucial component of both a wedding and real estate transaction:

Engagement = Due Diligence

During this period you’ll want to check for:

  • Leaky pipes (i.e. a gossip-driven Mother in Law)
  • Roofing issues (how long until hubby starts balding?)
  • Code restrictions for expansion (you promise you won’t get fat, right?)
  • Potential for future development in the neighborhood (KIDS!)
  • Architectural drawings of original site map (dang, you were an ugly kid… sure glad you grew into those ears!)
Whitney Nicely is the queen of real estate in east Tennessee. She teaches women how to begin a cash flowing real estate portfolio. All Real Estate, All the Time with Whitney Nicely is THE BEST podcast to learn about flipping, flopping, listing, buying, investing and learning about real estate. Whitney shares tip, tricks and tidbits to being successful in real estate- no matter what stage of the game you’re in on her Instagram account @WhitneyBuysHouses! Ladies are welcome to join the Cash Flow Queens of Real Estate Facebook group.
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3 Reasons Your Real Estate Agent WANTS You To Bother Them

Real estate agents hear this all the time…

“I wish I had called you before. But I just didn’t want to bother you. I know you’re busy…”

…after it is too late.

There are times when you might feel like you shouldn’t “bother” the real estate agent you know. (Could be your friend, a neighbor, your brother-in-law, cousin, your sister…)

Maybe you’re truly trying to be considerate.

But, maybe it’s because you’re not even aware that you should.

Or, you just don’t want to feel obligated or pushed into doing something. (Despite what many people think, most agents are not pushy. Most are the exact opposite.)

So, let’s go over a few times that you should “bother” your real estate agent. Because it really isn’t a bother.

In fact, we’ll get into why it will bother them if you don’t reach out to them for any of these things.

1. You just want to check out a house.

You see a house online. Or a For Sale sign. Maybe even just stumble across an open house.

You’re not all that serious about buying a house. Maybe you’re only just starting to think about it. Or, maybe you have no desire at all to move, and you’re just curious and want to take a peek.

So, you don’t want to “bother” the agent you know to show you the house.

Instead, you call the listing agent. Or some random agent you don’t even know. Or just walk right into the open house.

Next thing you know, you love the house. You’re making an offer. The offer is accepted. And then you regret it. Or problems come up. Or the process is miserable. Or you don’t feel like the agent you’re dealing with is giving you the best advice.

And that’s when you call the agent you know.

Too late. At that point, the agent you know can’t help. (Or at least shouldn’t…) Because now you are represented by another agent. The agent you know can get in a lot of trouble for even giving you friendly advice.

As innocent as it seems, when you just want to go see a house… you are inadvertently making a bigger decision than you think — you are deciding who will represent your interests, advise you, and help you through the process.

Even if you just go see a house with another agent, and before you even make an offer you decide to have the agent you know write up the offer and represent you… the agent who simply showed you the house could claim you as their client. It’s called “procuring cause”. I won’t get into the details here, but it can become messy.

You’re better off calling the agent you know to show you the house in the first place. You won’t be considered a bother.

What will bother him is to have to bite his tongue and not give you the help you want further into the process.

2. You want to know how much your home is worth.

Maybe you’re just curious about how much your home is worth. Or, maybe you’re actually thinking of selling. It might be because you want to get a feel for your net worth.

Nowadays, you can hop online and check out any number of sites that will give you the value of your home.

So, why “bother” the agent you know about this?

Because most of what you will find online is highly inaccurate to begin with. They are “automated” valuations. They are based upon data and algorithms. They have never even seen the inside of your home. They do not take into account your local market conditions.

And if you base your hopes, dreams, and decisions off of an inaccurate value, that can hurt you quite a bit.

Again, asking the agent you know to do an analysis and give you a true market value… not a bother.

But, it would be bothersome to hear that you’ve based important life decisions off of an inaccurate value once it’s too late.

3. You are considering a home improvement project.

The real estate agent you know probably isn’t an architect. Or a builder, a plumber, an electrician, a painter, etc. So, they probably can’t advise you about the ins and outs of a specific project or costs.

But once you have a sense of the proposed cost of a project, before you just pull the trigger and move forward, you really should “bother” your agent for their input.

Putting on an addition? That will surely increase the value.

A kitchen or bathroom remodel? Yep, your house will be worth more.

But will the value increase more than the amount you spent? Will that matter in your situation? Will the choices you make in decor, layout, or fixtures appeal to a buyer down the road? Does that even matter, given your future plans?

All questions and thoughts your agent can get into with you. Before you spend the money and go through the headaches of a huge project.

On the other hand, if you go forward with a home improvement project and spend, let’s say $60,000, and then call your agent…

You could seriously regret how much you spent, or even doing the project at all.

Your agent doesn’t want to break the news to you that your home is only worth $38,000 more after you spent $60,000. There is no joy in that. There is nothing that can be done at that point.

That’s just three examples. There are certainly more. But you get the point…

So, reach out to your agent before you do anything real estate related… and just trust that it isn’t a “bother”.

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It’s Time We Had A Realistic Discussion About Your Home’s Value

When you go to sell your house, there’s a good chance you’re not going to agree with what a real estate agent suggests for a list price.

It’s one of the most common issues real estate agents deal with, and help homeowners understand.

Problem is… many homeowners don’t necessarily see it as agents trying to help them, so much as convince them to do something they don’t want to do.

Naturally, you want as much as you can get for your home. And, you’ll certainly have your own opinion on the value of your home. You’re totally entitled to your opinion. And it’s totally your call to ignore the agent’s advice, and list your house for as much as you like… if the agent is still willing to work with you.

But if the agent is not willing to, it doesn’t matter, you can always find any number of agents who will put it on the market for as high of a price as you want.

But, it might be the biggest mistake you can make…

In the least, you’ll just waste your time. (And the agent’s time.)

But, it could also lose you money, instead of make you money…

There’s lots of ways this happens, but one of the biggest reasons is that the longer you are on the market, the more it impacts how buyers perceive your home, and what it is worth.

And that is hard to hide…

It has become more and more of an issue as so much data and information has become available online. Like, how long a house has been on the market, and how many times it has been listed without selling.

So, the best thing to do, is list your home based upon the current market data… not what you want, wish, or think.

When it comes to pricing your home for sale, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has such an appropriate quote…

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”

Let’s break that down and apply it to pricing your home… starting in reverse.

As You Wish It To Be

This is so human, isn’t it? Everybody has things in life they wish were different and better.

C’mon, we all wish we were millionaires. Or even just hundred-thousandaires. But why wish for just hundreds of thousands. Almost everyone wishes beyond that. Why not? It’s a wish. No harm in that. It might even motivate you to do something that gets you there…

Because you can certainly do things to make it your reality. But you’re probably not going to just wish yourself into becoming a millionaire. And you’re probably not going to become a millionaire by simply doing whatever it is you have been doing, which has not gotten you there yet.

But there’s hope. Always hope.

And so it is when many homeowners want to sell their home.

Not to say that everyone thinks that their home is worth a million dollars. But almost every owner feels like their home is worth a good amount more than the actual market value. Usually by tens of thousands of dollars. Regardless of price range.

But the market value is based upon what buyers have paid for similar homes recently. So you need to base your price against the prices similar homes have sold for.

You can’t expect your 3 bed, 1 bath Ranch style home, to sell for as much as a 4 bed, 3 bath Colonial in a similar (or better) location and condition than yours.

You can wish it would. But it probably won’t.

With that said, you can make your home worth as much as a 4 bed, 3 bath Colonial… if you make it into one. But the point being… you would need to do something to make it so, not just wish it were.

Not As It Was

A lot of times, when they hear how much their home is worth in the current market, say something along the lines of…

“There’s no way my house is only worth $525,000. Back in 2005 my house would have gone for $700,000! And, sure, I know that the market was crazy high back then, and the market took a dive. But the market is bouncing back now. So, I can’t see asking anything less than $650,000.”

OK. Deep breath. Phew. Here we go…

Half the time, you can’t even prove that a house would have sold for, say, $700,000 back in 2005. That is often just what an owner personally thought it was worth in their mind. But that was never tested. The chances are… it wasn’t worth that back then. Or ever.

But, let’s just say it was worth $700,000 back in 2005. And now it truly is only worth $525,000. That is the reality. Now. And that is all you can deal with. You can decide not to sell. Wait out the market until prices go up to a point you are happy with.

You cannot, however, turn back time. You can’t price your home based upon such distant history… as it was. It won’t do you any good.

Face Reality As It Is

It is that “simple”. But yet, so hard.

So many homeowners overprice their homes, and lose money in many ways by not facing reality as it is.

And a lot of real estate agents reluctantly allow homeowners to do it.

It takes a pretty special agent to be firm about pricing with a homeowner.

Because many agents will do as you wish. And they’ll put your house on the market and wish right along with you.

First, they’ll wish for a miracle…

Then, they’ll wish they were firmer with you on the price to begin with…

And the whole entire time, they’ll wish that you would just lower your price already…

And they will bring up lowering your price. Constantly. And you will be annoyed. And feel like that’s all they are doing. And you’ll start thinking about who the next agent you hire will be, once your listing contract expires with the agent who did as you wished.

So, save yourself some time, aggravation, and make as much money as you can and should on your home, by facing reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.

You’re better off listening to and hiring an agent, who is firm about your market value, and helping you face reality, than you are working with an agent who is, well… wishy-washy.

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4 Reasons NOW Is The Time To Buy A Home

If you’re considering buying a home, ask any real estate agent worth their salt and they’ll tell you: NOW is the time to do it.

The real estate market is seemingly changing by the day, and if you want to get a great home for a great price, making a move now is in your best interest; conditions a year from now (or even six months from now) aren’t likely to be as hospitable.

And why is that? Why shouldn’t you, if you’re interested in buying a home, wait? Why is NOW the time to make a move?

1. Interest rates won’t stay this low

via GIPHY

The first reason you should buy a home now is that interest rates are extremely competitive. While they aren’t at the near-historic lows homeowners enjoyed in 2016, they’re still hovering in the high 3%’s for 30-year fixed mortgages and the low 3%’s for 15-year loans.

But that’s going to change.

Mortgage rates are scheduled to rise at least 3 times in 2018, with many experts predicting the interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage to reach 5% by the end of 2018.

But what does that mean for you as a potential homeowner?

Let’s say your mortgage principal is $200,000. If you secured your mortgage with a 3.87% interest rate, the total interest you would pay over the course of the loan would be $138,571 (360 monthly payments of $940, for a total of $338,571).

Now, if you secured a mortgage with a 5% interest rate, the total interest you would pay over the course of the loan jumps to $186,152, a difference of $43,581 (if you’re interested in how changing interest rates affect the total cost of a mortgage, you can check out this interest rate calculator tool).

Locking in a lower interest rate on your mortgage will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your loan, which is why securing a loan now is in your best interest.

2. Competition is getting fierce

via GIPHY

Another reason now is a good time to purchase a home is that housing markets are growing more competitive every day.

Now that much of the country has recovered from the recession, more and more people are in the position to purchase real estate. And the more people there are on the market, the more competition there is for homes.

Competition is getting fierce in markets across the country. Homes are sold almost immediately, often at above asking price, and sellers are often dealing with multiple offers.

The competition in most real estate markets is still manageable and deals are still to be found, but as the economy continues to improve, the competition will heat up even more – making finding and buying the home of your dreams significantly more challenging (not to mention expensive).

3. Homes are getting more expensive by the day…

via GIPHY

Speaking of expensive, homes are (literally) getting more expensive every day. In fact, as of June 2017, home prices have been rising every single month for well over 5 years.

And that trend shows no sign of slowing. Experts predict home prices will jump up to 5% more in 2017 and another 3.5% in 2018 (with hot markets, like the Pacific Northwest, seeing even greater increases). Which means that if you purchase a home at the end of 2018, you can expect to pay an average of 8.5% more than you would pay today.

Combine the rising interest rates with the rising home prices and you’ve got a recipe for paying a lot more for a home a year from now than you would pay today.

4. … And there are fewer to choose from

via GIPHY

One of the factors in rising home costs is low inventory. When there are too many people who want to buy homes and not enough homes for them to buy, it drives up prices and competition in the market.

We have a huge problem with low inventory now, but unfortunately, that problem doesn’t have a simple solution. As interest rates rise, people are less likely to put their homes on the market in an effort to preserve the lower interest rates on their mortgages.

The moral of the story is: there’s low inventory now, but there’s likely to be lower inventory in the future, which means prices will soar even higher. It’s better to buy now then it is to wait for the problem to get worse.

Buying a home is a big decision. But if it’s a decision you’re considering, now’s the time to make a move. You’ll enjoy lower interest rates and an overall less expensive (and less stressful!) experience today than you will if you wait. So get out there and find your dream home!

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Top 10 Real Estate Agent Clichés That’ll Make You Squirm & Laugh at the Same Time

In this video, David Flemming, a Realtor from Toronto, counts down the most common agent stereotypes in what he calls his:

Top 10 Real Estate Agent Clichés

  1. Business cards at the car wash (:26)
  2. The Realtor wave (1:11)
  3. The leather padfolio (1:43)
  4. How real estate agents dress (2:17)
  5. The mother-daughter team (2:53)
  6. Fitness model turned Realtor (3:36)
  7. Realtors at banker bars on Thursday nights (4:19)
  8. Real estate agent headshots (4:52)
  9. Cheesy Marketing (5:45)
  10. The car (6:33)
Via David Fleming on youtube.com
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There’s A Place In Alaska Known As “The Town Under One Roof.”

In the isolated cold of the largest state in the U.S., nestled in the mountains and behind a glacier, sits Whittier Alaska. This town, founded in the 1940’s as a military base in response to the ever-growing Japanese threat, is now a quiet burg that houses almost 200 residents and a slew of unique attributes.

First, getting into the town is a journey that requires patience and a stoic approach to claustrophobia. The only entrance to the town is a two-and-a-half-mile tunnel that is only one lane wide. There are lights outside of the entrance that tell you when you can enter the mountain. This happens every half hour. If you don’t get there at the right time, you are in for a wait.

After you brave the trip through the tunnel (for some a white-knuckle trip) you emerge on the other side greeted by a beautiful expanse of water, mountains, waterfalls and a singular tower complex that shoots straight up into the sky.

See it for yourself in this video (and in the gallery at the bottom):

Via Field Day

Begich Towers, which is the central hub of Whittier, houses almost the entire town. From the school, to the theater to the local grocery (one of only two) the entire town seems to be under one roof. The residents seem to prefer it that way, enjoying the tight sense of community and amazing level of security and isolation Whittier offers. The town even closes the gates of the tunnel from 10pm – 5am every single day. Whether it be Russian invasion or Zombie Apocalypse, these folks are set.

The folks of Whittier don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression and think they are a community reminiscent of Silent Hill. They are a welcoming group who cheerfully greet guests of the town and welcome more to come. Though the living arrangements may be strange in what the building’s superintendent refers to as life inside of a “big copper-covered Rubik’s cube”, they are a happy and comfortable group.

If getting away from humanity and moving to a town that is funnier than most is your dream, come visit Whittier. Just make sure you get there before 10pm or you’ll be in for a very, very long wait.

Scroll through these 32 images to get a sense of living in a town under one roof.

Source: Reddit

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4 Behind-The-Scenes Ways Your Real Estate Agent Supports Your Home Sale

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.

But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.

Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:

1. Performing market research

via GIPHY

When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.

Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.

All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes research are crucial to pricing your property correctly — and wouldn’t be possible without your agent’s hard work.

2. Gathering relevant information for buyers

via GIPHY

A critical part of the home selling process is providing accurate and complete information to potential buyers. But most of the information buyers want isn’t something you, as a seller, will have ready and available.

Your agent gathers all the information a potential buyer might want to know so that if and when they request it, it’s ready to go. Agents research things like the average utility usage of your property for the past 12 months, a breakdown of the home’s floor plan, and a list of all available electricity and gas vendors in the area to make it available to buyers, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.

3. Phone calls and scheduling

via GIPHY

As part of their marketing efforts, your agent likely has your property listed on both the MLS and multiple public forums in order to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as popular. And while the increased exposure is great for driving interest in your home, someone needs to manage all the inquiries, follow up with interested buyers, and schedule viewings.

And that person is your real estate agent.

When your agent calls you to schedule a tour, that’s just a small part of the process. Before they called you, they’ve already answered email inquiries, fielded multiple phone calls, talked to buyer’s agents, and weeded out people who aren’t serious about viewing — and potentially buying — your home.

The call you get to schedule the tour is the last step in a lengthy scheduling process — most of which your agent manages behind-the-scenes.

4. Managing the close (and all the logistics that go with it)

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Now, once a qualified buyer makes an offer on your home — and you decide to accept it — your agent’s job goes into high gear. Now, that’s not to say that managing the close happens entirely behind-the-scenes; obviously, your agent is going to work with you to get the job done. There’s plenty of the closing process (from negotiating with the buyers to reviewing contracts) that you’ll get to witness up close and personal.

But there’s a lot more that goes into managing the close of your home then what you actually see from your agent.

They have to make sure the signed contracts are sent to everyone who needs a copy, including the lender, the buyer’s agent, the title company, and any involved attorneys. They have to file a status change with the MLS from “For Sale” to “Pending” and, finally, to “Sold.” They need to schedule the final walkthrough with the buyers and their agent.

Closing on your home? It’s kind of a logistical nightmare.

But luckily for you, when you work with a real estate agent, they take care of all the (many) details and logistics that need to be managed throughout the closing process, saving you immeasurable time, money, and frustration.

When you work with a real estate agent, it’s easy to see the value that they bring to the table during the process of selling your home. But what you see is just the beginning. The hours you see your agent putting in — the home tours, the open houses, the phone calls — are just a tiny fraction of the work they’re actually doing. Your agent is working around the clock to get your home sold… and the majority of that work takes place behind-the-scenes.

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Real Estate Agents Are Like Stay-At-Home Moms

Ahhhh, to be a stay-at-home mom.

Hanging around, playing with the kids all day. Taking naps. Watching TV. Eating snacks… perhaps some bon-bons.

And then they get to have Mother’s Day. A whole day to be pampered and waited on. Like they need a day off, right?!

It’s not like they have a real job…

Must be nice having such an easy life, not having to work.

Oooooph.

That’s pretty rude to say, let alone think, right?

And it’s ignorant.

You probably cringed reading it.

Depicting a stay-at-home mom that way has become less common…less tolerated.

But you’ve certainly heard them depicted that way at some point.

It’s no walk in the park

If you do think the life of a stay-at-home mom is easy, you don’t even need to walk a mile in her shoes. Just offer to take her kids to the park for an hour or so. That’ll give you some perspective.

Sure, there’s fun and joy being at home with her children. But there’s also a whole lot of stress, worry, and frazzled nerves…and a whole lot of work.

Being a stay-at-home mom is no “walk in the park”.

It’s busy days sandwiched between early mornings and sleepless nights.

Often there’s an entire lack of understanding and appreciation for everything she does all day. Every day.

Sure, over the years, what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom has become more understood. People tend to have empathy.

Yet, there’s the ever-present question moms often feel the need to justify and explain to others — “What do you do all day?”

It’s not like they need to answer that question, or prove anything to anyone. But it sure is nice when someone understands, empathizes, and respects what she does — and not just another stay-at-home mom.

It’s similar to being a real estate agent

While stay-at-home moms have gained understanding and empathy for what they do on a daily basis, real estate agents have not.

Not that it’s an issue most people have on their minds. But real estate agents certainly do.

It’s not uncommon for a real estate agent to hear someone say how nice it must be nice not to have a “real job”, and so much free time. It’s not unheard of for an agent to hear someone ask them if they are ever going to get a “real job”.

But it is a “real job”…and a tough one at that.

Not that agents need to justify, explain, or answer these questions for anyone but themselves…

…but it sure is nice when someone understands, empathizes, and respects what they do — and not just another real estate agent.

Like a mom

Most real estate agents aren’t rolling in dough, despite what many on the outside seem to think. Sure, some do. But very few…

But all real estate agents work tremendously hard for whatever amount they earn. Most work much harder, and much longer for every penny they earn than they would in a “real job”.

More often than not, it’s busy days sandwiched between early mornings and sleepless nights. Every day of the week, month, and year.

Sure, their days can be filled with fun and joy. It is fun to be with different clients every day, and go in and out of houses. It’s fun not to be tied down to a desk every minute of the work day. And there’s tremendous joy in getting a client’s home sold, or getting them into their dream home.

But there’s also a lot of stress and worry.

There’s stress and worry for their clients, their family, and themselves. (In that order for most agents.)

Yet, like a mom, they keep their cool, calm, cheerful demeanor. No need to worry their “children” with how they feel, or the weight of the world they help others navigate.

Not to refer to clients as children at all. But the care and concern for a client is much like a mom’s concern for her children. There’s a care for their clients that comes before their own needs and concerns.

Walk a mental mile in the shoes of an agent

Going back to the beginning…

At this point, it’s cringe-worthy to portray the life of a stay-at-home mom as easy and not a real job.

There was no formal movement that got people to start seeing things differently…just growing awareness and consideration. Bit by bit. Year by year. Decade by decade. Who knows who or what day that started?

While it may take years to get the same sort of growing respect and appreciation for what life as a real estate agent is truly like, let’s start it today.

Walk a mental mile in the shoes of an agent. Picture the stress, worry, and lack of guarantee they deal with every day.

And, in time, perhaps we’ll all cringe whenever someone claims it must be nice being a real estate agent, not having to have a “real job”.

Maybe, just maybe, someone will create a holiday called “Real Estate Agent Day”. But it better not be held on Sundays… ’cause they’ll probably all be working.