The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent

When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to work with a qualified real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a market expert. So how do you ensure you’re hiring an amazing real estate agent?

There are currently more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many options to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose the right agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors®, trust and reputation are the top deciding factors consumers use when hiring an agent.3

But how do you measure trust and reputation … and what criteria can be used to help you make your decision?

In this guide, we’ve outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you can ask to make sure you’re working with the right market expert to achieve your real estate goals.

5 ATTRIBUTES OF AN AMAZING AGENT

As we mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents.

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Top 12 Apps for Homeowners and Renters

More than 77 percent of people own a smartphone.1 The average person checks their smartphone 46 times a day, with people under the age of 24 checking it an average of 74 times a day.1 We check it while we’re waiting in line and during our leisure time, whether we’re scrolling through social media, reading emails or getting up-to-date on the latest news.

Smartphones are not only a useful tool for communication. With the following apps, you can get organized (whether you plan to buy or sell), save money, learn about the homes in your neighborhood and get inspired for your next renovation project. If you’re like 81 percent of people, you have your smartphone with you during most of your waking hours; let it help you stay organized and make your life easier.3

Apps For Homeowners: Get Renovation Inspiration

These apps not only offer ideas for your next remodel or home décor project, some of them even give you a preview of what your home may look like once it’s finished.

 1.) Houzz (Free)

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Understand the Difference between Assessed Value and Market Value

Real Home Value Calculator: Assessed Value vs Market Value

Understanding a home’s true market value is about more than pictures, software assessments and price-per-square-foot. Whether you’re a current homeowner thinking of selling or are house-hunting, it’s crucial you understand what factors affect home valuation. By partnering with a local market expert, sellers will avoid pricing their house out of the market (the kiss of death in real estate) and buyers will ensure they get a good deal on their next home.

So, how do you accurately calculate a home’s value? After all, the value a home is assigned by its town or county and the one it’s given when it’s listed are often dramatically different from one another. Which one is accurate and what does it all mean? Read on to learn more.

Assessed Value vs Market Value: What’s the difference?

When it comes to home value, you’ll often hear two terms, assessed value and market value.

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Find your Perfect Home with the Austin Board of Realtors’ Official Site

The Austin Board of Realtors has an official site where everyone who is not a broker or realtor can search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  You can find your next home, find out about open houses, or just poke around and see what activity is going on in a certain part of town.

Just go to this website: www.AustinHomeSearch.com

Once you arrive at the site it is similar to other search sites.  One the home page you will see a search box where you can enter the basic criteria for your search.  For a more detailed search you can click on the “Find a Property” tab near the top of the page inside the green banner and you will be able to enter more detailed search criteria. You can search by zip code, region, price range, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and square feet to name a few.  You can also select the type of property such as single family home, condo, townhome, mobile home, etc.

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What’s Your Home Buying Power?

If you’re in the market for a new home or investment property, one of the first questions you’ll probably ask is, “What can we afford?” Many buyers become so caught up in how much they can afford that they don’t realize their total buying power—that is, the total amount of purchasing potential they actually have.

Buying Power Defined

oan amount you’re willing to finance and qualify for.

Most lenders advised buyers to spend no more than 35 to 45 percent of their pretax income on housing, meaning all your income and sources of revenue prior to paying taxes. Make sure you factor in not only your mortgage payment, but also property tax and home insurance to the cost of housing.2 However, other financial experts advise spending no more than a very conservative 25 percent of your after-tax income on your housing expenses.2  Whether you plan to spend the average, play it conservative or split the difference is up to you.

Traditionally, mortgage lenders have targeted the ideal housing expense amount to be a ratio of 28 percent or less.3

However, these figures bring up an important point: you don’t have to spend all of your savings and available monthly income on a mortgage payment. It’s important to set money aside for regular home maintenance, unexpected repairs and monthly fees, such as a condominium or homeowners association fee. While the above ratios are commonly accepted, a lender will look at your total financial picture when they decide how much they’re willing to lend. It may be tempting to take out a large loan in order to purchase the home of your dreams, but keep in mind the less money you have to borrow, the stronger your buying power may be.

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Just listed – 9206 Lantana Way, Austin, TX 78749 – Large Spacious Home in SW Austin

9206 Lantana Way is now on the Austin market and available for sale.  This 2-story home was built in 1999 and boasts a very spacious 3456 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms.  The master bedroom/bath are downstairs and the 3 other bedrooms are upstairs.  There are two bathrooms on the first floor and two bathrooms on the second floor.  It has a spacious kitchen with recessed lighting, lots of cabinets and countertop space, a built-in microwave, a built-in oven, an island and a gas cooktop.  The countertops have a breakfast style bar and there is a place next to the kitchen with lots of windows that has enough space for a full-sized table.  The floors are wood, hard tile, and carpet.  This house has 2 living rooms downstairs and 1 game room upstairs and a large office near the front entrance.  The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and a gigantic bathroom with a garden tub and a tiled and separate walk-in shower.  There is a large second story open balcony that you access from the game room.  The house has a medium sized private backyard.  The trees are between 20 and 40 feet tall and the yard has a sprinkler system.  The front yard has an elegant brick walk-way and the tree in the front yard has a brick basin.  The home has an attached 2 car garage.  This home has both electricity and gas.  There are arched passageways and built-in niches in the walls to hold paintings and decorative items.  The home has a rich colored brick masonry exterior on all four sides with some hardboard only in the back of the house on the second level.  This home is on a quiet cul-de-sac. 

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Price reduced to $699K on 1304 Leona St. – New 2 Story Home in East Austin Neighborhood

We just lowered the listing price on 1304 Leona Street.  This is a brand new home built in 2016 and it has never been lived in.  It is a 2-story home with 2235 square feet of living space with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. All 3 bedrooms are upstairs.  It has an amazing kitchen with granite countertops, pendant lighting, dark cherry color cabinets, and a center island.  The floors are dark cherry wood floors and tile and there is no carpet in the house.  This house has an incredible 3 living areas with two downstairs and one upstairs.  The master bath has a garden tub and a full-tiled walk in shower as well as a double vanity and a walk in closet.  The master bedroom has its own balcony so you can enjoy the outdoors before going to bed or just after waking up.  The house interior of the home is painted in a warm Tuscan yellow color that will make you believe you are on an Italian villa.  The kitchen and dining room and living room are all combined with an open floor plan.  The kitchen also has a place for a breakfast table.  You won’t believe the amount of windows in this house and you can bet it will make sure to keep the house looking bright.  The house has a first floor covered patio and a small private yard.  The home has a full finished attached 2 car garage that is accessible from the alley.  The home has hookups for both electric and gas dryers.  The new reduced listed price for this beautiful home is now $699,000

Contact me here to schedule a showing: http://torobravorealty.com/contact-us/

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Top 5 Home Design Trends of 2017

The current trends are all about utilizing rich color, maximizing texture and creating comfortable interiors you can’t wait to relax in. Use these trends to get inspired to makeover your home’s interiors and create spaces you love that also appeal to your personal style. Remember, if you plan to sell in the next few years, you may want to avoid doing anything dramatic and instead incorporate small changes that would appeal to buyers.

Why are these trends gaining popularity?

The underlying theme of these trends is creating a home environment you love; one that appeals to your emotions and feels like a retreat from the stresses of the world. Although the home is a place where you can relax and spend time with loved ones, work expectations are beginning to blur the line between work and home. Even if people don’t work from home specifically, many are stretching their work hours into their evenings and weekends to complete work projects.

It’s no wonder the Nordic concept of hygge (most often pronounced “hoo-gah”) has become a hot trend. A centuries-old concept, incorporating hygge in the home means creating simple and comfortable spaces that make you feel cozy and safe and appeal to your senses.1 The emphasis is on simplicity and fostering positive experiences, whether you’re spending time with family, reading a good book or catching up on work emails. 

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Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

  1. Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent return on investment.1

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The Compound Effect: Building Your Household’s Wealth

The Compound Effect: Building Your Household’s Wealth

Wealth is within reach for many people; however, according to a recent study, 63 percent of Americans said it’s not likely they’ll become rich.1 While younger people are more likely to say they’ll achieve wealth one day, only 34 percent of people aged 30 to 49 and 21 percent of people aged 50 or older say the same. There is no secret to becoming rich: it takes time, sacrifice and good financial sense. Here are a few ways to build your household’s wealth.

Let Compound Interest Work for You

Compound interest is your interest earning interest. While the concept may work against you when you take out a loan to buy a car or use your credit card, it works in your favor when you’re saving money. For example, if your savings is growing at a rate of four percent, your investment will double in eight years and quadruple in 16 years. Your money will grow exponentially the longer you save: the more money you’ve saved, the more your money will grow.

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