Tips For Choosing a Real Estate Appraiser

Whether you’re investigating the value of your own property, the potential of an investment property or trying to obtain financing for a home, you’ll need the services of a certified real estate appraiser. If you’re trying to hunt down the value of a particular property and need to hire a real estate appraiser, keep reading for some tips on how to locate a quality person.

1. Ask your Bank

Because most lenders require proof of the value of a property before they will finance its purchase, they can often recommend trusted appraisers that they work with on a frequent basis.

If you trust your bank or lender, ask your mortgage agent for an appraiser recommendation.

2. Check with your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is there to help you make this sale happen. Since they work in the business, they deal with appraisals and appraisers every day. Likely, your agent will be able to recommend a number of appraisers that they work with and trust.

3. Opt for Experience

The value of a home, whether you’re buying or setting an asking price, is going to depend largely on the appraiser’s recommendation and appraisal. Hiring the wrong appraiser or an inexperienced person could cost you a lot of money, whether you set the asking price for your house too low or you buy a home that’s simply not worth its stated value.

When hiring a home appraiser, look for experience and good references, not the cheapest price.

4. Ask Family and Friends

Some of the best recommendations come from our trusted friends and families, so ask around. If a member of your family or circle of friends has recently purchased a home, ask them about their appraiser and whether they would recommend them.

When hiring a service provider on a recommendation, always mention that you were referred to their business and who gave the referral. Referral-based business can often go a lot smoother than a cold call.

5. Check Online Customer Reviews

Many consumer review sites, like Yelp.com, let customers review and rate service providers and businesses in their area. These sites let you read actual customer reviews that include the good, the bad and the ugly about a particular business. So, before you hire, check online for customer reviews and comments.

Hiring a real estate appraiser is necessary, but also easier than it sounds. To get the best results, ask your bank, real estate agent and family and friends for recommendations. Finally, remember to opt for experience and check available customer reviews.

Choosing a Property Manager – Practical Tips For Real Estate Investors

Selecting a property management firm is one of the most important decisions a real estate investor can make. The following are critical factors we think you should look at when making your decision.

Customer Service

You really want to select a firm that will deliver great customer service – to you and tenants alike. If you experience any responsiveness issues when inquiring about their service, the odds are that you will experience the same on an ongoing basis if you select the firm. Ask pertinent questions such as:

  • Are they available after regular working hours?
  • How do they handle emergencies?
  • Who can you speak to if there are problems, and where are they located?
  • Do they offer any guarantees on their service?

Knowledge of Building Construction & Maintenance

Experience and knowledge of building construction and maintenance is key for your property management firm to have. We would expect a coffee company like Starbucks to have excellent knowledge about the coffee equipment in use at their stores. We should expect a property management company to have excellent knowledge about the building technology in use at their properties. Key questions are:

  • Do they have skills on staff to be able to diagnose building issues quickly & effectively?
  • Are formal and documented maintenance and capital upgrade plans created for each property?
  • Can they manage subtrade work over and above minor maintenance?

Tenant Screening Process

You will want to select a firm that takes tenant selection seriously and does more than just the standard background checks. Tenant selection requires time, solid inter-personal skills and good judgment. Ask questions such as:

  • How much time will they spend with a prospective tenant?
  • What kind of questions will be asked of the tenant?
  • Will references be checked even if a reference letter is provided?

Local Market Knowledge

The most important influence to real estate investment value is the local market influence – and local market knowledge is key. Your property manager should have excellent knowledge of the local real estate market. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· What local staff presence exists?

· How does the firm keep up with local market trends?

· Will you be dealing with any remotely located staff to get service?

· Will tenants or prospective tenants be dealing with local or remote staff?

Fee Structure

You will want to select a firm with reasonable fees and also a structure whereby fees on top of fees are avoided. For example, for a renovation you will want to avoid paying a % fee to the construction contractor, and then a % fee to the property manager on top of that. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· What fees are charged for renovation and construction projects?

· Do they use general contractors for renovation and construction? If so, what fees are charged?

· Do they have the capability to manage subtrades directly?

Information Systems

Technology helps businesses run. Your property management company should have a clear information systems management strategy and operational. As the owner of the property, in the end you are responsible for the information so you will want to make sure your property manager has a good handle on it. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· How is information maintained?

· Are IT industry best-practices followed?

· How is privacy legislation compliance achieved?

· Does a backup strategy exist?

· What is the company’s IT disaster recovery plan

Accounting

And finally, you will want your books in order. This will keep your tax accountant happy and your accounting fees low. Find out if the property management firm has a solid grounding in accounting practices. Key questions include:

· What financial and transaction records are kept?

· What is the accounting cycle for the property?

· Which reports will be provided?

· Is someone available to answer your accountant’s questions should any arise?

Understanding the above areas and getting to know a property management firm’s management approach to managing these key aspects of real estate management will lead you to making a well-informed decision.

Visit www.kazawest.com/articles to access related articles and illustrated versions where applicable.

Real Estate Agents In Houston – Appraisal Services

Caveat Emptor or let the buyer beware, is an ancient Latin saying that rings through today, especially in the real estate business. This is a fairly short informative guide to the real estate industry and specifically real estate agents in Houston.

Buying a new house or selling one, can be a stressful experience, and for many, a restate agent is your first port of call. For sellers, they can help you appraise the value of your home through comparative market analysis, they can also advise you on how to market and sell your home and they typically will facilitate the sale of your home and guide you through the process. For buyers, real estate agents can facilitate a purchase and handle arrangements with leasing and property management, if applicable. Services available will vary from broker to broker.

Despite the dismal look on the housing market nationally, real estate in Houston is thriving with bargains. As an active and colorful area to reside, Houston is home to some wonderful amenities as well as lots of culture and great services. Housing prices at one time reflected all the city has to offer but have recently fallen quite a bit. While many consider this a buyer’s market, it is still vital to choose the right agent from the various real estate agents in Houston.

Because the modern market is extremely competitive, there are many dangers for sellers. Prices are currently very low, which means that choosing the right agent is very important, as it will determine how much you are able to sell your house for.

Since there are several real estate agents in Houston, it is difficult to choose the correct person. Paying the fees is not the only criteria as the cheapest agent cannot always be the best. There are other factors that have to be considered like exposure to the market and the agent’s efficiency to market a person’s home to buyers. If a person is a seller, he should know how many homes the agents have access to and the duration of their business in this field.

It is common knowledge that you should only do business with a well-established real estate agent who is fully licensed as an agent. This is vitally important when it comes time to have your house appraised.

Why Flat-Fee MLS Service Is Best For You

For sale by owner or FSBO are those that sell their property on their own without the help or with just a very little help from real estate brokers. The main reason why there are people who would like to sell their own property without the aide of a broker is simple, because they want to save on the sale and get more profits from the sale. The danger however of selling the property on your own, especially if it is your first time to sell real estate, is the fact that you do not have the same skill set and experience as that of a real estate broker. On top of that statistics would show that majority of those selling their property on their own as an FSBO fail and reverted back to hiring the services of a real estate broker.

However, today, there is a service that could help a property owner sell his property with the help of a professionals in the real estate industry without having to pay a huge percentage, instead he would just have to pay a flat rate. This service is called flat fee MLS, this service would provide you several real estate brokerage services that would only require you to pay a flat subscription rate. We have outlined below the different reasons why this service is best for FSBO.

  1. Provides Real Estate Brokerage Services – although as a FSBO you will still have to do most of the work, flat-fee MLS service will provide you with the essentials. Like having your property listed in hundreds of MLS Listing sites which is only accessible to real estate brokers. By doing this you are potentially putting your property in front of thousands if not millions of potential and interested buyers.
  2. Flat-Fee MLS Provides Offline Services As Well – how do you capture the attention of passers-by who are also potential customers? You place a for sale yard sign in your property. This service can provide you with this service still by paying a flat-rate. Which means as an FSBO you do not have to make the yard sign on your own, the flat fee MLS provider will do that for you.
  3. Affordable Fees – this maybe one of the biggest reasons why as an FSBO, you should be getting this service to help you sell your property. The subscription fees for flat-fee MLS is affordable, in fact it starts from $99 three months subscription and you get all the services and then some.
  4. Great After-sales services – most reputable flat-fee MLS companies would have an after-sales service where you will be able to get live customer support for when you encounter problems with your subscription or if you want to change things in your listing. Not to mention the fact that some providers have a money-back guarantee to make sure that you are secured with the investment that you have put in. These are some of the reasons why you should use flat-fee MLS service to help you in selling your property. Of course every provider is different and one is always above the other in terms of the services that they provide, so you have to choose the provider that is reputable and trusted.