Real Estate

Real Estate Agents Love & Hate FSBO

illinois fsboA real estate agents job is to sell real estate either as a listing agent or a buyers agent. They do not like people to take money out of their pocket. Agents think selling by owner is the dumbest thing you could do. But they love people that are selling for sale by owner at the same time. People selling FSBO are prime prospects because if they can’t sell on their own they will need an agent to help them.

Here are the reasons agents give as to why you should not sell your home on your own. But knowing these things can also help you sell your home faster.

  1. Real estate agents may not show your home to their buyers. As long as you are willing to pay a reasonable commission to a real estate agent that brings a buyer, this should not be a problem. If you are not willing to pay a commission, then the agents will most definitely not bring you a buyer.
  2. Agents don’t think you can keep your emotions out of the transaction. You are going to be emotional regardless of whether you are working with an agent or not. You need to remember that this is a business transaction.
  3. Agents think they have a better network to get your home sold. Phooey! 99% of people begin their search for a home to buy on the internet. If you work with a MLS listing service like Illinois For Sale By Owner, they will get your home in dozens and dozens of the most visited real estate websites. If your home is priced right, there should be no problem in attracting buyers.
  4. You will have to show your own house to perspective buyers. So what! The beauty of this is that you can schedule showings on your time. Plus, who better to show the home and talk about all the wonderful things it offers than you, the owner. Plus you can tell people all about your neighborhood, talk about the schools, talk about all the local amenities.
  5. Agents say the negotiation part is awkward. Look, if you have ever sold anything be it a car or stereo system on craigslist, you have negotiated. Negotiating the sale of your home is no different. You need to know what you need or want from the property. If the seller is being unreasonable or low balling stick to your guns.
  6. They will say it is not your job. That is a true statement. What I have to say about this is that being an real estate agent is not all that hard. If you want to educate yourself about selling your home on your own, there are many great books and courses that show you how to do it. The best part about that is these books and courses are very inexpensive and can usually be consumed within a night or two.

Ultimately it comes down to your comfort levels and the amount of time you have on whether or not you should sell your home on your own or hire an agent. But, what ever you do, don’t ask an agent if you should sell by owner. They are going to tell you that you should not do it and give you all kinds of horror stories.


Real Estate

Real Estate Blogging – The Right Way

real estate blogs collingwood canadaBeing in the real estate industry I see a ton of real estate agent blogs. I can almost guarantee two things about the blogs that I see. Either they have not been updated in months or years or they are just completely abandoned, or they are blogging about real estate in the wrong way.

There is nothing anyone can do about just not blogging accept for the fact that they can actually start blogging. But as for blogging the wrong way, there is something that is very easy to do, and that is just simply change they way they are blogging.

So how should real estate agents blog the right way? They need to blog about real estate in their area. Most real estate agents just write about buying or selling a house “generally”. The way they should be doing is by writing about their area. Think about is this way, who cares of someone in NY finds and reads your blog post about buying their first home if you sell real estate in Canada. There is no point at all. You want people in your area finding and reading your blog so that they call you.

Virtually every blog post needs to be location specific. For example, you could write a blog post about “Buying Your First Home In “City” “State””. That way you are targeting first time home buyers in your area. The people that find this blog post are much more likely to find your post and call.

Ranking for a search terms like “Buying First Home In “City” “State”” is going to be much more likely to happen than ranking for that search term in general. It would take a lot of work and money to rank for that general search term.

When writing your blog posts it becomes a lot easier to write them when you are talking about a specific location. For example you could write blog posts about “Cheap Houses in “City” “State”” or “2 Story Houses in “City” “State”” or “Fixer Uppers in “City” “State”” or “Duplexes in “City” “State”” or well you get the point. You should be blogging about things people are searching for locally when it comes to real estate.

I found a great example of the way you should blog about real estate. Christine Smith has a great site at and if you just scroll down a bit you see her most recent blog posts. Look at those titles. Collingwood Vacation Properties Know-How and The Collingwood Real Estate Condo Buying Guide are two perfect examples of great localized content for a local real estate blog. I can only guess, but I bet I am right, that Christine gets a lot of great, highly targeted traffic that turns into leads, listings and sales for her. She is blogging the right way.

If you blog, you need to start putting a local spin on every post you write and add to your blog. It will generate more traffic and be more relevant to the people finding your site and blog. Plus it will make you more money. It is no harder in fact I think it is easier to right about real estate on a local level than in general.


Home Services

My Gift Of Lawn Care For My Grandfather

lawn care elderly giftI have two very different grandfathers. They are pretty close to the same age. One is 94 and the other is 87. One of my grandfathers is as stubborn as a mule and refuses to give up mowing the lawn. The other is just to that point where he cannot take care of the lawn anymore.

My grandfather that can not take care of the lawn anymore loves his house. He is comfortable. He is happy. And it where he wants to die. But as you can imagine he can no longer take care of the landscape.

I love my grandfather very much and have lots of fond memories and he always did so many wonderful things for me as well as his other grandchildren. We’ve gown distant during the last 10 years or so as I started my own family and was busy with them.

I took my family to visit him recently. My kids had not met him yet and I wanted them to meet their great grandfather. Something that not all kids get to do.

I was a little disheartened at the condition of his landscaping when we arrived at his home. He always had the most beautiful yard, flowers and gardens. It made me sad that he could no longer do something he loved so much. I am sure it was difficult for him to see the mess in his yard where beautiful landscape once flourished.

After hugs and introductions he immediately apologized for the condition of the yard. It was obviously a sore spot for him.

That night lying in bed I asked my wife what she thought about us as well as the other grandchildren all chipping in and paying for a Davidsonville Maryland lawn care company to come out and take care of his landscape for him on a weekly basis. She thought it was a wonderful idea.

The next morning I called a friend of mine at to come out and give me a bid on taking care of everything. I really liked the price. It was only going to be $250 a month.

After he left I immediately started calling my cousins. They all agreed with me that this was a fantastic idea. Since there was ten of us it was only going to cost each of us about $25 a month.

I then went a talked with my grandfather. He was a little angry at first. I think it was more of the full realization that he really could not take care of the lawn any more. But after just a few minutes he lit right back up and I think I may have even seen a tear in his. I think that he realized that he would finally be able to be proud of his landscaping again and that it would be something wonderful for him to enjoy.

Before we left I had the crew at Stewart Lawn come over and perform some CPR on the grounds. It was truly a magical transformation. And my grandfather looked a few years younger when we left.

Home Services

Getting Cheap Tree Removal

cheap tree removalWant to learn how to reduce the costs of getting a tree removed? Of course you do. Who does not like saving money. This tip is very simple but it will require a little work on your part but it will save you some money.

One of the easiest ways to save money on getting a tree removed is to find other people in your neighborhood that also need a tree removed. By combining forces and hiring the same company you can end up with some really nice breaks as far as the cost.

The first step is finding an Edgewater Maryland tree removal company that will give you a discount for having multiple trees removed in the area. This is the easiest step. Just call them up and ask what kind of discounts you could get if you found other homeowners in your area that needed a tree removed. Ask them what kind of discount you could expect if you got 2, 3, 4 or more trees. Call around on this. Some tree removal companies won’t see the value in what you are trying to do. However the smart ones will know exactly what you are doing and see the value it brings to their business.

After you are armed with costs and discounts you need to start hitting the streets. Start knocking on your neighbors doors. This part is also pretty simple. Just introduce yourself, tell them why you are visiting and see if they have any tress that either need to be removed or trimmed.
The likelihood of you finding other people in your neighborhood needing the same services is pretty high. Think about it this way. All of your homes are probably about the same age which means the landscape and trees are all about the same age as well. In other words if you are having a problems with a tree or even multiple trees they are more than likely having those same problems.

Once you have some of your neighbors on board (even if it is only one) it is time to get the ball rolling. Start calling tree removal services in your area again. But you should also call other tree removal services out of the area in fact you may want to call some Kent Island tree removal companies as well.

At this point you are serious. You need for these companies to understand that you have already contact your neighbors and you have X amount of people willing to hire a company that will give them a break on the costs.

By doing it this way you can expect to save at least a couple hundred dollars or more. Your neighbors can expect the same as well. I know this for a fact because I has a friend that did this. Not only did he make some new friends by doing this but he also became a little bit of hero.

If you are worried about the costs of getting a tree removed follow this guide. I think you will be surprised as to the amount of money that it can save you.

Real Estate

Buying Real Estate With Pool Problems

pool problemsI have recently looked at several bank owned properties where there was a pool. Unfortunately since the pools were not maintained they were in serious disrepair. In fact a couple of the houses we were going to make an offer on we ended up not making an offer on because the pools were shot. And the banks were unwilling to pay a Maryland pool removal company to remove the pool. Quite frankly I don’t blame them. They have already lost a ton of money and don’t want to spend any more money.

Should you not buy a home that has pool that needs to be removed? It really depends.

If you wanted a home with a pool there are going to be a lot more options to finding a home with a functioning pool. You will pay more for a home with a functioning pool but it will end up costing you a lot less than having a pool removed and another one put in.

If you absolutely love the home and you really want to buy it. Then you need to negotiate on the price. The reality of the situation is that you can expect to pay anywhere from $6000 to $10000 to have that pool removed. In that case I would recommend that you make an offer to the homeowner that you will close on the transaction after the pool has been removed. The other option is to offer them less than the asking price in order to cover the expense of having the pool removed.

If the property is bank owned the bank will usually not pay to have the pool removed. However, they may be open to reducing the sales price. In about 20% of the transactions I have dealt with so far involving bank owner properties and pools the banks were willing to negotiate based on the problems with the pools.

Whenever a pool is involved in a real estate transaction I always advise my clients to get a pool inspection as well. The costs for this are pretty minimal. Usually just a couple hundred to a few hundred dollars. But during the inspection any issues with the pool will come to light. This could be anything from a liner need to be replaced to cracks in the gunite or even problems with the pumps or electrical.

Do not be a cheapskate with inspections. Unless you know pools hire someone to do a pool inspection. If there are issues with the pool you want to know. You want to know if you are buying problems. If there are problems they can be used as negotiating tools.
If the pool is shot, like many of the properties I have seen lately you need to get an estimate as to what it will costs to get the pool removed. You can call virtually any pool removal company. One that I recommend to my clients is They do a fantastic job and their estimates are always free.

Home Improvement

Hire a Legit Electrician

electrciianWhen it comes to hiring an electrician you may be shocked (like the pun?) that they are not all the same. In fact you may be risking a lawsuit or major claim against your insurance if you hire the wrong one. Here are some really basic things you need to know and consider before you ever hire any electrician.

All Millersville Maryland electricians must have insurance, they must be licensed and it is preferable that they are bonded as well.
First and foremost you want to make sure that anyone that is working with the electrical of your home is licensed. As you can imagine there are a lot of “handy men” out there that think they know what they are doing when it comes to electrical. The reality is that they can creating major problems and situations to arise that cause a house fire. Electrical is no joke and should only be handled by licensed professionals.

Insurance is another critical aspect of having an electrician work on your home. An example of a great electrician is when they showed up to bid a job for me the first thing they did was give me a copy of their license, insurance and bond with numbers to verify that they coverage was active and to answer any questions I might have had about the coverage and my liabilities.

Now, most electricians are not going to be this well prepared when they come to meet with you. However, if you can inform them while you are on the phone that you want all of this information they will be more than happy to bring it with them to their meeting with you.
Even if you forget to ask you can still just ask for this info when they are at your home or business. They more than likely have all of this information in their work trucks. And if they don’t it is easy for them to make a couple of calls and get the information you need.

As far as bonds these are great if because it is just another layer of protection for you. Basically the whole point of the bond is for you to make a claim against a contractor in case they ether do not finish the job, do it incorrectly or the work was unsatisfactory. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you hired an electrician to re-wire you entire home. The electrician comes in does the work, says it is finished and leave. Nothing works the way it is supposed to, breakers keep going off, you’ve already seen to outlets smoking etc. You call in another electrician to asses what is happening. The other electrician informs you that the electrician you hired has done everything wrong, it is not up to code and in fact has created a bunch of fore hazards. At this point you can make a claim against the electricians bond.

Home Improvement

Duct Choices for your HVAC System

flex ductsWhen you are building a new home, remodeling or if you are finally just having a HVAC unit installed you often times have choices as to what type of duct work you want to have installed. Not all HVAC companies offer these options so you may want to call around if you can find what you are looking for.

You first option is flex duct. Basically this is flexible ducting which is just insulation that is wrapped and is a tube. There is a metal version of flex duct as well. It is probably the most often used ducting system because it is easy to install and it is super cheap. So often times it is the home owner that wants it installed because it will save them a lot of money.

There are multiple problems with flex duct. First and foremost if it is not installed correctly there is a lot of wasted energy. Not wasted energy from the installers but wasted energy to heat or cool the home. Secondly it the preferred nesting ground of rats and mice. Rats can quickly and easily destroy flex duct. On top of that do you really want dried up rat feces dust blowing into your house?
A proper installation from a Davidsonville Maryland HVAC or Oxon Hill HVAC company will make sure that none of the following is happening with your flex duct.

– Kinks or sharp turns
– Runs that are too long
– To many branches from unit
– Extra length that should have been cut off
– Improper or poor connections
– Improper or poor butt joints
– Improperly supported runs

Any of those things can cause your HVAC unit to run inefficiently and cause you home to not heat and cool properly. This in turn causes your utility bills to be much higher than what they should be.
Your send option is sheet metal ducting. The great thing about sheet metal is that the contractor or his employees can not just show up and throw it in. It has to be designed and precisely fabricated. Only after this has been done can it be installed.

Sheet metal ducting pretty much eliminates all of the problems you have or can have with flex duct. It is difficult for vermin like rats and mice to get into it. It creates a much more energy efficient cooling and heating system because there is less air resistance. If you are an allergy suffered metal ducts can be cleaned easily. Not to mention you are not going to have fiberglass blowing into you house like you would with flex duct.

Over all sheet metal ducts can reduce energy bills from 24% to as much as 35%. So even though sheet metal will cost much more in the beginning it will save you money over the long term. Interestingly enough in Ireland every home needs to get an energy rating before it can sell. I can see this coming down the pike for the US sooner than later. Having an energy efficient home will increase the value.

Home Improvement

Installing Tile Flooring in Your Home

installing tile flooringYour finally ready to take that step and install new flooring and you have decided on tile. Congratulations! Tile is by far one of the best choices for flooring in bathrooms and kitchens. But now the big decision is whether you should install it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Installing tile is easy. Making it look good is hard. Tile installation is really an art form. I have seen some of the most beautiful tile work. I knew a guy that made his living doing super custom tile. He one recreated the view of the beach and ocean from the bay view window over the homeowners fireplace. Sorry, I got a little off track there. The point is that if you are okay with you tile not looking perfect then install it yourself. There are all kinds of videos and tutorials online that will guide you through the entire process.

One of the key reasons why tile ends up not looking straight or grout lines looking a little weebly wobbly is usually because of cheap tile. What ends up happening is that the tile is inconsistent in shape. So trying to visualize the best way to install it to make it all come out looking good can be a little difficult.

What I would recommend is hiring someone to install your tile. Just about any Anne Arundel tile store will have a list of installers that they will provide you with. In most cases they will not tell you who to call but if you are super nice and ask politely they will often tell you who they would call if they were going to have one of these contractors do an installation for them. If you can’t get a tile store in or around Anne Arundel then give these guys a call they will hook you up.

But if for some reason they won’t give you a list of installers you will be on your own. It is now time to flip open the yellow pages, search online and ask for referrals. Personally I would stick with online resources or referrals from friends and family.

My dad has always been one of those guys that will do anything and everything himself to save a buck. Now I am not a tile installer and I can see the major problems with his tile jobs. I can only imagine what a professional tile installer would think. It would probably turn their stomachs. The point I am trying to make here is that every guest that comes into the home will see you tile. And the first thing they are going to say to themselves is “geez, this looks like they installed it themselves.” But on the outside they will smile at you and then lie through their teeth telling how nice it looks.

Spring for the extra money for someone to come out and install you tile. It is money well spent. You can estimate about $450 for 100 square feet of tile. This equates to about $450 for a bathroom and about twice that much for a kitchen.

If you decide to do it all on your own I applaud you. But listen to my advice and think about hiring a professional to do it for you.

Home Services

Quick Guide To Finding A Good Electrician

finding a good electricianNeed an electrician? In this quick guide we will cover how to find the best electricians in your area that are perfect for the job but also how to make sure you are protecting yourself.

First off let me state that this guide is really for non-emergency electrical related situations. If you have an emergency call and get any electrician you get to your home as soon as possible. If you have smoking, sparking or other problems ask the electrician what you should do.

For the rest of you this is the steps that I would go through to find good Anne Arundel County residential electricians

For me I am big on doing internet research. It provides me with pretty much all of the information I need in order to make a good decision on who I should call. For me one of the biggest things I am looking for is reviews. Do they have them and what do they say? I am looking for positive reviews. But just because an electrician has a bad review does not mean I won’t call. The way I look it is that you can’t please everybody. So if they have lots of reviews but a couple of bad ones that is okay.

After this step I start making calls. When I do this I am paying attention to how they handle my call. Were they courteous, friendly, interested in helping me? Now, you may think everyone would be like this, it is just not the case. I have called contractors that were just down right rude. It was almost like I was bothering them about wanting to hire them and pay them money.

After the list has narrowed its self down I meet with each contractor. I check to make sure they are licensed, bonded, insured. As far as insurance is concerned I want to make sure they have both liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. I want to make sure I am covered in case anything goes wrong while they are working in my house. Things that could go wrong are them or one of their employees getting injured. Or damaging my house or property.

Once the above has been established I am going to spend some time talking with them. I want to get to know them a little bit. I want to see how they handle themselves. During the time I am speaking with the electricians I am listening to my gut. My gut will tell me whether or not I should hire the electrician or not. Even if they are the cheapest ones and my gut does not like them I won’t hire them.

I know this sounds like a long and drawn out process for selecting an electrician. But in reality it does not take that much time at all. And the time you spend following this process will make sure you are getting the best electrician. It will save you time, money and aggravation in the future. Want to save some time? Visit

Home Services

How To Find The Perfect Fence Contractor

fencing contractorsReady to build a new deck? Here are some tips on how to find and hire the best Anne Arundel County fence builders. Following this guide you are sure to end up with a fence you absolutely love.
I always start all my searches for a contractor on Google. What I am looking for are contractors that have reviews. You won’t always find contractors with reviews but I always check out the ones that do first.

There are a couple of other things I am looking for besides reviews. I am looking for photos of the work they have done. I am looking for a reason as to why I should hire them over any other fence contractor. I am looking to see if they are members of any associations. I am looking to see if they are involved with the community in any way. I am looking at the quality of their website. You don’t have to consider all of these things. But I think these things are important.
After I have narrow down my list I want to make sure that if I hire them to do work for me on my property that I am covered. What I mean by this is that I want to make sure they have a license and that they are insured.

As far as insurance I want to make sure that they have liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. Those two types of insurance are critical. You never want to have a contractor or any of their employees on your property unless those two coverages are in place. If anything ever goes wrong you know you will be covered.

You may not think that is a big deal. Well it is. I had a friend of mine hire a guy to build his fence. He did not have insurance. When he was drilling holes for the posts he hit the gas main to the house. The only reason this happened is because neither my friend nor the guy he hired to build the fence called for locates. If they would have just waited a day and called for locates my friend would have been fine. Since the contractor did not have insurance it was on my friend to pay all of the fees and fines associated with the broken gas main. In total it came out to be a little over $15,000 in fines and fees. Had the contractor actually been licenses and had insurance it would have been on him and not my friend.

Assuming you have narrowed down your choices, licensing and insurance checks out, they have good reviews online, you like the work they have done, it all boils down to one last thing. The gut check. If your gut is telling you no then listen to your gut. Every time I have hired a contractor and did not listen to my gut I always ended up paying for it in the end.

Good luck finding a fence contractor. If you happen to live in Anne Arundel County I would highly recommend checking out