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What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate

Have you been stuck on your sofa wondering how to get your own five minutes with high quality real estate agents and brokers? Well, believe it or not, there are ways to make this a possibility for your selling experience. Whether you are new to selling or have moved multiple times and want a better experience, here are some tips on how to find the best broker for your house.

  1. Talk to former clients: The best way to find out what a broker is like is to talk to their former clients. Were they satisfied with their service? Where they happy with the house they ended up with? Were they represented fairly? These are all important questions to ask that a broker themselves would always answer: “Absolutely.” If you want honest answers, look to former clients who will give you the truth about the shining smiles that grace the billboards or commercials on television.
  1. Make sure they have the right credentials: Anyone can become a real estate agent, and if you do not know what you’re looking for, you can easily fall prey to a newbie who does not know what they are doing, and may be the foot that sticks out and causes you to fall. In order to avoid this ordeal, double checking the credentials of your real estate broker enables you to be aware of their education background and certification that can save you money and many headaches along the way.
  1. Find out how long they have been a broker: Similar to the above tip, a new broker can cause major losses in the real estate market. You or your family want a seasoned, experienced broker who knows that they are doing and could do it with one hand behind their back and their eyes blindfolded. You also want an agent who is actively engaged in the area that you are looking at and the price range that you are comfortable with. This enables you to be secure that you have made the right choice and will make the transition from home to home easier as you know that they are familiar with your needs and, more importantly, able to meet them.

    Happy family with agent realtor near new house.
    Happy family with agent realtor near new house.
  1. Ask about other houses nearby: If you choose to go with the agent that you are most comfortable with, another important aspect is how much they know about the other houses in the area that you are looking at. Casually mention other houses to test the waters. Your broker should be able to tell you all sorts of information about them, and this should secure your confidence in their competence and ability to be the best broker for you. You want someone who is sitting at the top of the market and holds most, if not all, of the golden nuggets of information that will allow you to be represented with the quality and assurance that you deserve as much as any of their other customers.
A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video on March 24, 2015 shows search and rescue personnel near scattered debris while making their way through the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps above the southeastern town of Seyne. The plane, which had taken off from Barcelona in Spain and was headed for Dusseldorf in Germany, crashed earlier in the day with 150 people onboard.  AFP PHOTO /DENIS BOIS /GRIPMEDIA / AFP TV

3 Places in America Where Property is Doomed


America has long since become the world’s idea of Neverland – a place with endless opportunities and where anyone can make it if they really try. Well, I have no rebuttal to that claim, but there are certain parts of America that appear to be feeling less like Neverland, and more like Never going to profit land. Housing demands are rising, but the house-prices are slowing. In most places, however, you can still get value out of your home, but here are three places where, if you have invested in property, your investment is falling through and deeper by the minute.

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Downtown Detroit instead of Suburban Detroit

The housing market in Downtown Detroit was accurately portrayed by the movie 8-mile. You know what I mean, the way Eminem and his friends were always driving through, dank, abandoned houses and the way they just burnt one down at one point and no one cared? The average price of a home in the metro Detroit area is something like $21,102 and showed an 8% fall between 2014 and June 2015. Its neighbour, the suburban Detroit area, however, is actually one of the hottest markets in the US nowadays. The average price of a home in the suburbs is $162,900, showing a 13% increase. So, if you live in the Detroit metro area and are standing on your roof, watching the neighbours’ house price raise like the sims, we’re so sorry


In March of 2013, a giant sinkhole opened up and swallowed a man’s entire house, with him in it. That man was in Florida, and that sinkhole was not alone. There are more than 15,000 verified sinkholes in Florida. This has a lot to do with the fact that the Earth under Florida is heavily made of Limestone. When groundwater goes through that limestone, it erodes away. As the water tables rise and fall the spaces under the limestone can no longer support the weight atop them and they crumble away. You can expect to see more sinkholes appearing in Florida throughout the century, so we seriously suggest that it you have property there, sell it while it’s not in hole.



There have been an enormous increase in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma since last year. It went from less than two a year, to 585 in 2014. You can thank your old friend Fracking. Originally, the state denied that fracking had anything to do with, but right now, you can go to a website that maps the earthquakes and their strength. Instead of being spread out across the state, the earthquakes are clustered heavily around the areas where drilling operations are disposing of fracking water. As is always the case in a place that is prone to earthquakes, the property value falls unless the houses are earthquake-proof. Even if the house is earthquake proof, it may still be difficult to shift a property in a place where the potatoes mash themselves.


Gentrification and you


Gentrification is the process by which a previously run down area is renewed and rebuilt after the influx of the middle class. This leads to things like new roads, new school and an increase in house prices. However, it also leads to the displacement of the poor members of the community. Let’s start with the upsides.

The rise–

Because of gentrification, areas that were previously considered unsavoury and impoverished are showing serious growth in terms of economy and housing prices. Places like Detroit and the Bronx now have some of the hottest housing markets in America. The average price of a house in the suburban part of Detroit is, as of 2015, something like $167,000. This is the same city that filed for bankruptcy in 2013, in an attempt to deal with its mass unemployment, then saw a housing price rise of 13%.

The same thing appears to be happening to the Bronx, where companies big and small are flooding in to buy properties at an astronomical rate. The investors are buying both multifamily buildings as well as sites that they consider to be ‘ripe’ for development. There was a 39% increase in sales of properties made in the Bronx in 2014, with the price of multifamily assists going up by an astounding 67%. This is all coming out of a place that was considered the urban scar on the face of America, being plagued by everything from burned down houses and foreclosures to a staggeringly high crime rate and a wide-wash of drug use. It seems perfect, like a little salvation for the area, but there is a dark underbelly being hidden by the Starbucks and the condos.


–and fall

Detroit’s population now falls somewhere on the 700,000 mark, with most of its people being African American as well as falling below the poverty line. These people are being forgotten. Because, while suburban Detroit’s housing market sores, the prices in downtown Detroit are low ($21,102) and falling. The people in these areas, who already can’t afford to pay their rent, are at a high risk of being displaced from their homes and jobs to make way for in incoming apathy of the middle class.

The same applies to the Bronx. Unless the newly found funding is used to benefit the long standing community by investing in public schools and jobs for the working class, it will simply lead to the poor, no longer being able to afford their own community. But, believe me, they will not leave quietly. It has already began. On the 25th November, the guardian reported on the anger of the residents of the Bronx when gentrifies announced their plans to rename the South Bronx ‘The Piano District’.

Protesters were found chanting the slogan “The Bronx is not for sale!” It’s not because they are afraid of change, it’s not that they don’t understand the revenue that could be brought into their struggling community by making it more tourist friendly. It is because changing the name of the neighbourhood is a little too similar to Christopher Columbus landing on occupied land and naming it America; it did not end well for the Indians.

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Your Piece of Real Estate

Real Estate

Have you ever asked yourself if you really, really knew what you were doing with your piece of real estate? This is a question that many landowners ask themselves whether it’s a condominium, apartment, or home. Listed below are some of the most common pit falls that real estate owners find themselves stuck in just because they were not informed. Don’t be one of those owners! Read the list below and start becoming a smarter owner of your property.

1.     Not being educated about the real estate market:


It is easy and affordable to get an education about how the real estate market works. It is an incredibly important aspect of being involved in the real estate market and is essential to treating the properties you own with smart, profit-focusedintentions. Not pursuing this simple education can expose you or your partners to economic pitfalls, monetary losses that could have been avoided, or even losing your real estate property. The value of a good education can be reaped and sowed for many years after you participate in a class or a series of courses that significantly increase your ability to aggressively navigate the real estate market. And do not forget to get your education from an accredited source. Do not fall prey to an unaccredited university or an online scam.

2.     Having unrealistic expectations:

Sometimes, when people start working in the real estate business, they have unrealistic expectations as to how fast their properties should sell or how much money they should be raking in as profits within the first few months of hopping over the ropes and joining the fight. You have to be disciplined about your properties and realistic as to how the market works. Our first tip, getting an education about the real estate market works, can truly help achieve this in your own real estate experience.

3.     Being impatient:

It has been long said that patience is a virtue. This is true in the real estate market as well. Being impatient can cause huge losses and even create an atmosphere of distrust between you and potential clients. Not everyone has the level of discipline that it takes to be their own boss, but if you are wanting to dive into this business, it is extremely important that you learn how to be patient with how the market works, and how to be patient and wait on the best deals.


4.     Running away from bad deals too slowly

Have you heard the story of the turtle racing the hare? Do not be the hare in this situation. Be like Bolt and run from bad deals like a tornado is chasing you down the highway. Too many times, real estate newbies get caught in bad deals simply because they refuse to recognize the warning signs of a rotten piece of real estate.

5.     Not making good goals

What makes good goals? First, try writing your goals down. This makes them physical and visible to you so that you will not forget them. Then, tell a friend. This keep you accountable for your mistakes and if you happen to get off track then they can yank you back to the trail that you said you wanted to walk on. These are two easy solutions to staying on target while you begin to start participating in the business world.

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5 Ways to Increase your Property’s Value


Create Space

If it’s not a load baring wall, it’s got to go. New buyers are all looking for floor space that they can work with, open plan houses are all the rave, but pretty expensive so the closer you can get to that feel, the better. That kitchen island can go, that doorway isn’t needed. If there’s no direct purpose and it’s taking up space, it can go. It may be a little expensive, but in the long run, you stand to gain about three times as much as you spend in terms of the value of your property.


It may seem a little strange, but landscaping is an important aspect in raising the value of your house. Overgrown garden accoutrements block out the light, promote mould and just aren’t very good. However, according to a 2007 survey, an investment between $400 and $500 focused on the landscaping, could profit four times over in terms of increasing the value of your home. So consider Cleaning up the hedges, having that tree stump professionally removed and if you insist on having bushes, learn how to use pruning shears.



We are in the age of selfies, if your house is too dark to take a picture in, that’s not a good sign. No seriously, you’re going to want to make sure that every room has ample lighting. Darkness creates a dank mood that you really don’t want associated with your property, and it encourages mould. Not only are you going to want to install new lighting fixtures, but you may want to consider dimmer switches. They give each room a sense of ambience and an atmosphere of its own. Essentially, your property is going to be the cool, hip property on the block that all the other properties wish they were. So, get to work!

The kitchen

A solid 53% of real estate professionals assured us that kitchens are among the most important room to make sure is in good shape when you’re trying to sell. It’s important that all of the appliances in the kitchen (if appliances are included) are up to date i.e. made in this decade. You also want to avoid things like cracked titles or grotty kitchen services. We suggest laminate or vinyl. You will also want to make sure all of the lighting fixtures work and that you haven’t overlooked things like an extractor fan or storage space. Your kitchen can make or break the deal, so you really want it to be everything it can be. So get to work installing those new faucets!

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The bathroom(s)

If you’re lucky, all of the wall-knocking-down you did for our first suggestion gave you enough room to install a new bathroom. If not, don’t worry, because along with looking at the number of bathrooms, a big part of the resale value of your property is the condition of the bathroom. You’d be surprised at the amount your home can gain just from you re-grouting the tiles or caulking the bathtub. Storage options, mounted mirrors and wall sockets (with covers because safety) are all things that will cost you pennies, but you will be so happy you’ve done!


The Perfect City


Are you looking for a new home? Does your current living situation no longer meet your needs? Do you need to move out of your parent’s house? Then this list is perfect for you. It outlines the top places to look for the perfect place for you.

1.     Detroit, Michigan

The median asking price for a three-bedroom house in the Detroit area is around $44,900. Median rent per month for a three-bedroom house is $850. Some people cringe at the mention of Detroit, remembering the automobile industry crash and the negative representation of the city in Dream Girls. Unfortunately, this is a dated perspective, and you could be missing out on a great living situation. Famous for their historical nightlife and bars like Slow’s Bar B Q, Detroit could be the next best place for you to begin this part of your life.


2.     Chicago, Illinois

The median asking price for a three-bedroom house in the Chicago area is around $134,900. Median rent per month for a three-bedroom house is $1,700. Featured in Travel Magazine and on U.S. News, Chicago is home to some of the greatest sightseeing attractions that will have you coming back again and again. From the Field Museum, to Grand Park and Buckingham Fountain, there is no shortage in entertainment opportunities for the single wanting to experience new things or the family wanting safe and fun places to visit and explore.

3.     Houston, Texas

The median asking price for a three-bedroom house in the Houston area is around $149,111. Median rent per month for a three-bedroom house is $1,400. Not only did Business Insider rate Houston as the best city in American, but almost all of Texans agree. Houston is the number one city for job creation by 85.4% and is home to more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere in the United States, second only to New York. It also is home to the largest medical center in the world. It is clear that this is the perfect city for budding professionals who want to step into the business world.

4.     Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

The median asking price for a three-bedroom house in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is around $184,900. Median rent per month for a three-bedroom house is $1,710. If you love winter or shopping, then this is the perfect place for you. Minneapolis-St. Paul has a frigid winter but is also home to the Mall of America, a mall with an indoor rollercoaster. Yes, an indoor rollercoaster. There are also a handful of universities in the area, including Concordia University, Metropolitan State University, and the Art Institutes International Minnesota. Not only was the founder of the pop-up toaster a resident here, but the iconic Minnehaha Falls is also found in Minneapolis, which the famous poet Henry Longfellow based his poem off of.


5.     Boston, Massachusetts

The median asking price for a three-bedroom house in the Boston area is around $259,900. Median rent per month for a three-bedroom house is $2,300. Boston is family friendly and home to some of the most famous historical landmarks in the United States. Just across the Boston River is Cambridge, home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants, attractions (like the New England Museum), and the bay even offers whale watches in which eager tourists and residents alike can venture out into the Atlantic to see some amazing marine wildlife. It also houses the TD Bank Stadium, where the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics play. It is biker friendly, and the many historical landmarks allow for great sightseeing and an overall incredible living experience.


How to List Your Home

PropertyReal Estate

Sometimes families or individuals just randomly wake up with the itch to sell your house. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to do it. There is a method to the madness of selling a house and putting it on the market: broker or not. 

The Magic Window

Believe it or not, there is a magic window for selling your house. For most places around the United States, this window occurs around mid-March and mid-April. If you live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or the San Francisco area, your magic window is early March to mid-April. If you live in the Seattle area, your magic window is from mid-March to mid-April. But, if you live in the Boston area, the best time of year to sell your home to put it on the market in mid to late April.


Selling Statistics

If you choose to sell your home or list your home during these magic windows, here are how some of the statistics reflect homeowners coming out on top at the end (percentages represent the portion of houses that sold faster than average:

United States Overall: 15%

Atlanta: 14%

Boston: 13%

Dallas-Fort Worth: 22%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale: 16%

San Francisco: 10%

Seattle: 16%

Serious Sellers

To quote a famous Alicia Keys song: “No one, no one, no one wants their chain yanked by a buyer who is not serious.” Okay, some of those lyrics are changed but you get the idea. You do not want to waste your time with a buyer who is “just looking” or “new to the market” because they are not serious about buying your house. You want the seller who is serious and is willing to put down the money to make your house theirs. This section of people is represented by brokers or has a lender contract. Ask immediately if they are being represented, and if they are, you know that they are looking to see if their suede couch fits in the corner of your living room.

Key Words to Use

What is better than having a great broker? Having a housing description that draws browsers in like bugs to a light. First, luxurious is a great one to use. Houses that used this word sold for eight percent more than their listing price. Second, impeccable. Houses that used this word sold for almost six percent more than their listing price. Third, remodel. This is a powerful word, and it shows the buyer that you put time and effort into making your home a great new place for them to plant their seed. Houses that mentioned this word sold for three percent more than their listing price.


Lastly, updated seems to be a great key word to use in your home description. This sends the message that you have replaced something old with something new, and this is what buyers want. Something replaced as new so that they do not have to. If you use this word, you could raise your final selling price one percent more than the original listing price. In addition to the others, you could raise your overall selling price to eighteen percent more than your listing price.


4 Real-Estate markets you should have invested in

Real Estate

Back when the world was young and so were you, you used to have a little money. There were hundreds of untouched paradises that you considered buying a house in and escaping there when it all became too much. Then you met the one, fell in love, had babies and fell in debt. Now, those paradises are still paradises, but you couldn’t afford to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with the top 4 real estate markets you should have invested in.


With the second largest economy in the world, China was bound to make an appearance on this list. It’s not your fault, you couldn’t see it coming! Its economy grew 10% in the last 30 years, that’s completely unheard of. Anyway, on to the numbers. According to a recent Forbes report, an 1800 square foot place in the upscale district in Shanghai will not cost you $1.2 million! Or, to put it in slightly more depressing terms, you could do not have a property worth $1.2 million that would have costed a crumb of the price to build or buy.


Moscow, Russia

Michael Jackson’s ‘stranger in Moscow’ was not one of his more popular songs. If you take a look at the housing prices there, then this was probably because there are no strangers in Moscow. Everyone recognises each other from the ride back from hell when they were all selling their souls to afford houses. No, seriously, housing prices in Moscow rose 10.2% in 2012, and currently, an 1800 square foot penthouse can be yours at the low price of $3.5 million. You may be more familiar with the phrasing ‘a pound of flesh’. If you had a house here, you too could be charging a ridiculous amount for money!

French Rivera

It’s literally like something out of the movies. It’s absolutely gorgeous and would mean you owned a property in the most romantic country in the world. We’re not even going to focus on what you could have earned with this one. We’re going to rub it in your face that this place has been described as having “seemingly endless beaches and charming towns”. You could have taken your loved one, you children and your debt for an annual holiday if you wanted, and never have to worrying about forking out for the cost of a hotel because you’d have your own little home away from home. Ah well, too late now, the dream is dead. The French Rivera real-estate market is not stacked with things like 6 bedroom houses for like $20 million.

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It’s paradise. It is a literal tropical paradise. Girls walk around in bikinis and people drink from coconuts. It’s a true Caribbean gem! But with their government reporting a 70% increase in real-estate sales at the end of 2013, it’s a little far from untouched. This securely discovered land is still very much a paradise but you’re either going to have to get in line while you wait for the house prices to fall or, sell all of your worldly possessions and still probably not be able to come up with the $2.4 million they’re asking for over there.

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