5 Biggest Questions To Ask Your Realtor When Buying A Home

5 Questions Buyers Should Ask Their Real Estate Agents

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, as a homebuyer, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you.  From finding a new neighborhood and getting a mortgage to packing up and moving in, every step of buying a house can feel like a long process in itself.  Of course, some of the most important (and, perhaps, overwhelming) steps of buying a new home include finding a helpful real estate agent and, with their assistance, locating a home that fits your lifestyle.  Every buyer hopes to work with a real estate agent who can help create a smooth, stress-free home buying experience, though doing so may be difficult, especially when moving to an unfamiliar area.  Here are 5 important questions to ask when buying a home in order to make sure the real estate agent you’re working with is able to deliver the best experience:

 

5 questions buyers should ask their real estate agents:

 

1. Are you familiar with the neighborhood I’m interested in?

When moving to a new neighborhood, smart buyers know that the more information they can gather about the area, the better.  One of the best ways to research a neighborhood is to directly speak with someone who lives and works in the area, like a local real estate agent.  Not only can a neighborhood realtor provide you with a first-hand perspective on living in the area, but he or she will also be able to give you the guidance you need to find other important resources within the community, too, like a trustworthy home inspector who can thoroughly assess the property you’re considering purchasing.  

Buyers should always make a point of asking real estate agents how familiar they are with the different neighborhoods being discussed.

 

2. What can you tell me about the schools in this area?

Even homebuyers with no children should know the importance of learning about the local public and private schools.  While living near exceptional schools offers peace of mind for parents and couples considering parenthood, good local schools also directly impact property values, as homes near quality schools are always in demand.  Consequently, homes near highly rated schools may be listed at higher prices than homes near lower-quality schools, and investing in a home near a superior school is rarely, if ever, a poor decision.

 

3. Is there a homeowners association, and if so, what are their guidelines?

Not every neighborhood has homeowners associations (HOAs), and it can be easy to overlook this question if you’ve never lived in an area with one.  Nevertheless, finding out whether or not your new home will require you to participate in an HOA is an important step in the home buying process, as HOAs come with a variety of benefits and property maintenance guidelines, generally for a flat annual fee.  

Many homeowners associations also have specific guidelines and practices that homeowners must adhere to.  For example, some homeowners associations require homeowners to obtain permission from the HOA prior to beginning certain types of construction or other projects that may affect the appearance of their home’s exterior.  This type of information is important for buyers to grow familiar with before moving in to a neighborhood, so there are no surprises later on.

4. What are the property taxes like in the area?

Researching local property taxes for the past several years can help buyers understand what they can expect to pay during their first few years in a new home.  Buyers should also ask if there have been any recent changes in local government that could affect their property taxes. With this information, you can more clearly determine the long-term costs of owning a particular home, and whether or not your budget will allow for it.  

5. What can you tell me about the market in this area?

Ask your realtor for a competitive market analysis, or CMA, to gain more insight on what other buyers have recently paid for similar houses in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.  Learning more about the recent selling prices for similar homes will help you to negotiate more effectively when you’re ready to make an offer.

See if your realtor can also provide any historical information about selling prices in your new neighborhood, to see how the local market has changed in relation to real estate trends over recent years.  This could provide more insight into what you can expect in the future, if and when you sell the house.

 

Buying a house is absolutely a major, long-term investment, and that’s why I offer as much assistance and information as possible to each buyer I work with.  Please contact me today if you’d like to learn more about buying a home in the Tanglewood area!

 

11 Significant Questions All Sellers Should Ask Their Real Estate Agents

11 Significant Questions All Sellers Should Ask Their Real Estate Agents

Finding the right real estate agent to help you sell your house can make all the difference in the entire selling experience.  Homeowners preparing to sell must remember that not all real estate agents are created equal, and working with someone who’s capable of meeting your specific needs is of the utmost importance.  Asking the right questions before hiring a realtor can help save sellers time, money, and plenty of aggravation.

Here are 11 questions every seller should ask when selecting a realtor to work with:

1.   What factors should be considered when determining my asking price?

As most homeowners know, the asking price for any given property should always reflect its current market value, which is impacted by a number of factors, regarding both the property itself as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

Choosing the right listing price for your house requires a careful analysis of not only the current condition of the home itself, but the current state of the local real estate market as well.  This leads us to the next question that sellers should ask of real estate agents:

2. Can you describe what the local real estate market has been like lately?

It’s understandable for a homeowner to be unfamiliar with the latest ups and downs in the local real estate market, but the best real estate agents know the market like the back of their hands and can provide a detailed analysis of the latest real estate trends in your area.

This information helps sellers to better understand what their asking price should be, how long they can expect their homes to stay on the market, and how much leverage they will have when it comes to negotiating with potential buyers.

3. How much is your commission and what services does it include?

In the state of Texas, all commissions are paid from the seller’s proceeds, so it’s important to keep this in mind when determining the listing price for your home.  Aside from being prepared to pay your real estate agent, you should also inquire about additional marketing services that may be included with the commission, such as professional photos, video tour creation, and staging services.

4. How do you recommend marketing my house?

Sellers should always be sure to clarify what marketing tactics will be used prior to working with a real estate agent.  Find out what marketing strategy your potential real estate agent recommends and find out his or her reasoning behind it.  Make sure you have a clear understanding of what to expect.

For example, many owners of luxury homes prefer selling their houses as off-market listings to avoid the attention of unqualified buyers.  In these cases, homeowners need to make sure the real estate agents they choose to work with are familiar with the intricacies of selling off-market listings and know how to find the right buyers using this approach.

Whatever the strategy may be, it’s important to align on this before hiring a real estate agent, so you can be certain the person you’re working with knows how to handle your marketing requests.

5. Can you describe your experience working in my neighborhood?

Don’t be afraid to ask a real estate agent directly if they’ve handled any previous transactions in your area.  You’ll be much better off working with a realtor who knows your community and already understands the demographic of average buyers of homes like yours.  Additionally, realtors who are familiar with your neighborhood are better equipped to give you a realistic expectation of how long it will take for your house to sell.

6. Have you worked with any buyers in my market?

Hiring a real estate agent who’s already experienced working with buyers in your neighborhood firsthand can provide a huge advantage.   This type of experience can help your real estate agent better understand specifically what types of buyers are most attracted to your neighborhood, and how to make sure your home is marketed in a way that appeals to these buyers the most.

7. Would you ever consider representing both parties of a single transaction?

If a real estate agent answers yes to this question, that’s a huge red flag and a sign they should not be hired.  Representing both parties in a single transaction will inevitably create a conflict of interest for the realtor, and sellers must be careful to avoid this situation.  The best real estate agents act with their clients priorities in mind and do not represent the buyer and seller in a single transaction.

8. Do you have other active listings in this area?

If you’re selling your home and the answer is yes, your real estate agent may be able to leverage these other listings to direct more buyers to your house.

The feedback your real estate agent receives from interested buyers at these other listings could help you to market your own home more effectively.  For example, if a potential buyer finds that your realtor’s other listing doesn’t have the features they’re looking for, your realtor has the opportunity to direct this buyer to your house instead.

9. Will I be working with you directly, or do you have a team that I’ll be communicating with?

Once you’ve found a real estate agent you’d like to work with, make sure you confirm that they’ll be the person you interact with.  It’s important to make sure you know what to expect when it comes to who will be handling your listing and guiding you through the selling process.

10. What’s the best way to contact you and what are your business hours?

While it’s easy to assume in this day and age that everybody checks their email, it’s never a bad idea to confirm the best way to get in touch with your real estate agent.  Whether you prefer phone calls, text messages, emails, or face-to-face meetings, make sure your real estate agent is aware of your preferred method of communication.

Additionally, it’s always wise to confirm your real estate agent’s availability throughout the week.  While some realtors may be available 7 days a week, others may prefer a Monday through Friday schedule, so be sure to ask about this from the beginning.

11. What type of buyer would you say my house should be marketed to?

Based on your neighborhood and your home’s unique style, layout, and amenities, you’re likely to attract a specific type of buyer.  An experienced real estate agent can provide a description of the type of individual or family that will probably be most interested in your house.  Aside from helping you understand how your house should be marketed, this question is also a great way to find out just how experienced a real estate agent is in selling homes like yours.

Above all, the real estate agent you choose to work with must be someone you can trust to keep your best interests in mind.  I take great pride in focusing my efforts on my clients’ top priorities and making sure every homeowner I work with has the best experience possible.  If you’re in the Tanglewood area and need an experienced realtor to help sell your house, please contact me today!

Top 10 Private Schools Near Tanglewood

Everything You Need To Know About The Top Private Schools Near Tanglewood

The Tanglewood community is known for its gorgeous luxurious homes, peaceful neighborhood, and an abundance of excellent private schools.  Whether your child is entering pre-k or senior year of high school, there are plenty of local private schools near Tanglewood that offer a truly outstanding education.

Top 10 private schools near Tanglewood

Co-ed private schools

Tanglewood Academy

 Tanglewood Academy has classes from pre-k to first grade, and accepts new students from 18 months to 7 years old.

Not only does this school offer both part-time and full-time class schedules, but Tanglewood Academy also has an after school program, extracurricular activities, and summer camp.

St Michael Catholic School

 St Michael Catholic School is for children from pre-k through 8th grade, and many graduates later attend some of the area’s most prestigious high schools.

New students are accepted on a probationary basis, with priority given first to siblings of current students, then to Parishioners, and finally to Non-Parishioners.  Parents can begin the application process online to enroll their children, and then track the admission status by logging into a school account.

Apart from providing students with an exemplary education, St Michael’s incorporates technology into every student’s day.  Some of the notable uses of technology at St Michael’s include mobile laptops and tablet labs and Chromebooks for middle schoolers.

 

St John’s School

St John’s is a college preparatory school for students in grades k-12.  Known for having a large percentage of its student body become National Merit Finalists and enroll in AP courses, St John’s is an excellent choice for parents who want their children to have every advantage when the time comes to apply to universities.

Apart from its outstanding academic programs, St John’s also has a reputation for giving back to the community.  Last year alone, St  John’s community service program accounted for nearly 40,000 hours of volunteer work in the greater Houston area.

Parents who would like to explore St John’s as an option for their children can learn more about the admission process and how to apply on the St John’s website.

The Kinkaid School

With a current student body consisting of just under 1,500 boys and girls, The Kinkaid School is a college preparatory school for students in grades k-12.

With a course catalog including AP classes and college-level courses, upper level students who attend Kinkaid have every opportunity to start their college career off on the right foot.

In addition to offering a well-rounded academic experience, Kinkaid offers students plenty of extracurricular options in terms of both arts and athletics.  Recently, in fact, two of Kinkaid’s own wrestlers received state recognition and were named All-Americans.

Parents who would like to enroll their children at Kinkaid should note that tours are available from September until April, and can be scheduled by contacting the school at 713-243-5033.  Additional information about how to enroll at Kinkaid can be found on their website.

The Fay School

For parents of children in pre-k through 5th grade, The Fay School is an excellent choice, and helps prepare students for success at Houston’s best middle and upper schools.

Students at every grade level are taught how to properly use technology for forward-thinking and innovation, with iPads and interactive white boards serving as regular fixtures in the classroom.  Unlike many other schools, The Fay School also has a comprehensive Outdoor Education program, where students can learn about nature hands-on through the surrounding nature trails outside the school.

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children at The Fay School can schedule a campus tour or learn more about how to begin the application process online.

 

Awty International School 

Founded as a pre-school in 1956, Awty International School accepts students from pre-k through grade 12, and is the only school in Houston accredited by the French Ministry of Education.  It’s also the only school that offers students the opportunity to pursue both International Baccaulaureate and French Baccalaureat diplomas.

Recently, Awty announced that all five of their Odyssey of the Mind teams will be entering the state finals after performing exceptionally well at the Houston Area Regional Tourament.

Parents who would like to learn more about how to enroll their children at Awty can schedule a campus tour online or view instructions on how to apply on Awty’s website.

Memorial Lutheran School

Since its founding in 1980, Memorial Lutheran has been a top choice among parents with children between pre-school and 8th grade.

Memorial Lutheran has an impressive academic program, in which reading, writing and math begin as early as pre-school 3.  Music also plays a large role in Memorial Lutheran’s curriculum, with singing and music classes beginning in pre-school, while band and orchestra classes are added to the middle school curriculum.

Additionally, middle school students are taught how to work with technology through the use of iPads, computer labs, and interactive whiteboards.

Parents who would like to schedule a tour at Memorial Lutheran can contact the school at 713-782-4022, and additional information about how to submit an application for enrollment can be found on the school’s website.

Private schools for boys

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory 

As the name implies, Strake Jesuit is a private Catholic school for boys in grades 9-12.  The 52-acre campus, consisting of multiple buildings, somewhat resembles a small college, though the student-to-teacher ratio is quite favorable at 10:1.

In addition to the school’s outstanding academic reputation, Strake Jesuit also boasts impressive athletic teams.  Last month alone, Strake Jesuit’s basketball team finished the season with seven straight wins, while the wrestling team competed in the regional championship, finishing in 10th place out of 39 teams!

Parents who are interested in enrolling their sons at Strake Jesuit can schedule a campus tour online with an Office of Admissions staff member, though this is not required to complete the application process, which may also be done online.

 

Private schools for girls

 

St Agnes Academy

Founded in 1905 by the Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Houston, St Agnes Academy is a Catholic school for girls from grades 9-12.  With an average class size of 19 students, the student-to-teacher ratio is a favorable 10:1. 

Parents should also note that St Agnes offers 13 honors and 17 AP courses, though enrollment in these courses is limited and therefore competitive.  Students are allowed to enroll in no more than 4 honors and/or AP courses each year, and AP students at St Agnes are required to take the corresponding AP exams.

Recently, over 22 St Agnes students were recognized by a top national high school art competition and received Scholastic Art Awards for their artwork.  Additionally, several more students earned Gold Keys and Silver Keys in the Scholastic Writing Competition, with one student being nominated for the American Voices Award. 

Parents who are interested in enrolling their daughters at St Agnes can schedule a campus tour or begin the application process online.

 

Duchesne Girls Catholic School

Boasting an 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio, Duchesne Girls Catholic School is a top choice for parents of children from pre-k through grade 12.

Aside from an impressive academic offering, Duchesne also provides its students with a variety of art and athletic programs, with dozens of options for extracurricular activities.

Duchesne also makes it their mission to empower young women with the ability to work with and even repair technological devices.  In fact, there have been more than 25,000 documented student repairs in the Computer Audio/Video Education program, since it was established in 1998.

Parents who are interested in visiting the Duchesne campus can contact admissions@duchesne.org to schedule a tour.  Additional information about the application process can be found online as well.

As you can see, the Tanglewood area has plenty to offer when it comes to your child’s education and future.  For more information about private schools near Tanglewood or moving to the Tanglewood area, please contact me today!