8 Things I Wish I Knew About Being a Realtor

  8 things real estate Rodion Kutsaev

 

Ask ANY Realtor what their biggest source of frustration, largest pain point or major learning curve was as it relates to getting started in the business and you will hear multiple answers. There is no ONE thing every new real estate agent wishes they had known and as such, it makes it awfully impossible to make a bullet point list of how to best help new agents get started and ramped up in their careers.

I sat down recently to put together a list of what I wish I had known before I became a Realtor. I originally thought I would come up with eight items, but as you can see, the list grew quite quickly.

You need an actionable set of goals from DAY ONE. Without goals, you have nowhere to go.

That a career in real estate looks different for EVERY SINGLE Realtor.

That it takes money, quite a bit of money to get started.

That you MUST have a broker that is supportive and available.

You should surround yourself with people you trust to give you advice.

You should focus on personal development in a major way.

That you need a degree (pseudo) in psychology.

That there will be competition, and a LOT of it.

It will take more work to get started if you are new to your service area.

Older, more experienced agents are not necessarily better than you are.

The big brokerages are not necessarily better.

Relationships are everything.

Leaving Well - Leesburg

This experience and journey is being shared today from one of our treasured 8th & Home friends, Heather Myklegard. Heather is the founder of Get Social Moxie  (you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Take it away, Heather!


 

Heather Myklegard Photo Credit- Alimond Photography

 

This spring our family of 5 decided to make a lifestyle change and move from the quiet town of Leesburg into the city of North Arlington. It was a tough decision and one we did not make lightly. Arlington was very appealing to us as it offered a friendly community vibe within minutes of downtown DC. It cut my husband's commute time by 2 hours a day and offered several more options as far as schools for our 3 boys. After several months of research, and driving back and forth, we decided that now was the time to make our move. We were lucky and found a wonderful house in Arlington on a street full of children and just minutes from the metro.

Heather Myklegard

 

However, we soon discovered that the hardest days were ahead of us. Leaving a city that you love and have grown so familiar with can be very challenging. On one of my hardest days, Naomi explained the term, “leaving well”:

Leaving a place that you don’t have to leave, but choose to for your own reasons, can sometimes be much harder than being forced to leave a place - because of a new job, etc. It is an important part of the transition when moving, to leave well. You’re making an intentional choice to change your lifestyle and restructure your mornings, your weekends, your everything … and that’s exciting, but it doesn’t mean it’s not sad to leave the choices you have been living in/with. Leaving well is the art of moving on from a place with intention and joy.

It made total sense. I cried off and on for several weeks, struggling with the realization that I was choosing to soon be gone from this wonderful little town that I had grown to love and cherish.

So, for the last month of our stay in Leesburg we made a list of all the things we had enjoyed doing during the 4 years that we had lived in Loudoun County. Here are ten things we did before saying good bye and heading east.

Great Country Farms

This was one of our favorite places, especially when the boys were little. There is a big bounce pillow, a petting zoo, miniature golf, big slides, and a wonderful Pumpkin Festival in the fall. But the best thing about Great Country Farms is their apple cider donuts. Trust me. They are worth the drive.

Great Country Farms

Mom's Apple Pie

Mom’s Apple Pie was the very first place we stopped when we drove into Leesburg for the first time 4 years ago. It was the first landmark that made me think we had picked the right town. Their raspberry-peach crumb pie is amazing and you must try their sugar cookies. Even if you are over the age of eight years old!

Mom's Apple Pie

 

Passion Fin in Ashburn

We love sushi and have had it all over the country. Passion Fin is definitely one of the best sushi restaurants we have been to. Passion Fin offers great service and fresh, quality fish. They also have a Koi pond in the front that is a favorite among our boys.

 

Passion Fin

Ida Lee

One last dip at outdoor Ida Lee ... Oh, Ida Lee. The heart of Leesburg. The AV Symington Aquatic Center was our pit stop every summer. The outdoor pool offers slides, lazy rivers, and great shaved ice.

Street Tacos at Senor Ramons

We were told there was a new taco shop in town so we hunted it down. Senor Ramons on Loudoun Street did NOT disappoint. We sat outside on the porch and walked over to The Cajun Experience for beignets afterwards.

Senor Ramon

King Street!

I love King Street in downtown Leesburg. It is the epitome of a small, historic town. I grabbed an iced coffee at Shoes and walked from store to store.

Loudoun County Fair

A. Sample Photography LLC

We are from Idaho so we KNOW fairs. The Loudoun County fair is the best fair I have ever been to. It sits among one of the prettiest parts of Loudoun County and has this amazing small-town feel. They have camel rides, petting zoo, and a demolition derby. We may have to drive back to Loudoun County for this next year!

George C. Marshall House

We walked from our house to downtown and looked at all of our favorite old houses on Edwards Ferry and downtown- When the boys were still in the stroller, we would walk from our house to downtown via Edwards Ferry and look at all of the old houses. The old houses are one thing I am really going to miss about Leesburg. I love seeing the history and how well the homeowners have preserved them over the years.

Heather Myklegard

Family Night at Chic Fil-A, Leesburg

Every Tuesday night the Chic Fil-A in Leesburg has a family night. They offer arts and crafts for kids and with the indoor play area, it is a great time for mom and dad to enjoy a semi quiet dinner. The staff at CFA are world-class. We are really going to miss CFA.

Shoes Secret Garden

Go for lunch! You may not know this, but behind the Shoes Coffee is a “secret garden”. Shoes has a back patio with a full lunch and dinner menu. They offer live music and bocce ball too. Great for the whole family or a night out with your partner. The ice cream is pretty good too!


 

As I write this, I realize that I do not have to say goodbye forever. We are only 41 miles away and can go back and visit some of our favorite places in Leesburg any time we want. If you are new to the area, or are looking for something to do in Loudoun County, I hope this offers you some fun ideas.

Heather Myklegard

 

Leesburg truly is a hidden treasure and I feel so fortunate that I was able to experience life there with my children. Leesburg will always hold a special place in our hearts.

~ Heather

Best blueberry picking in Loudoun County

July 10th is National Pick Blueberries Day and we think it's only fitting that we share a little secret with you. Ready? Put your ear close to your screen ... the best blueberry picking in Loudoun County, Virginia is ... pick blueberries day

 

Eagletree Blueberry Farm !!!!!

Eagletree Blueberry Farm is owned by a local Lucketts family and has row upon row of beautiful blueberry bushes. Once you've parked your car, grab a bucket and get to picking! Eagletree Blueberry Farm is -- hands down --- the best blueberry picking opportunity in Loudoun County!

 

Their blueberries are so scrumptious that even the July 2016 tasting menu for Fabbioli Cellars is featuring their ripe and tasty blueberries!

Fabbioli Cellars Eagletree Blueberries

 

Open 10-5pm daily until the blueberries are gone ...

15126 Harrison Hill Ln, Leesburg (Lucketts)

 

How does a buyer's real estate agent get paid?

One of the most common questions we hear  -- when working with first time home buyers -- is “How does a real estate agent get paid?” It's not a discussion that is very typical to be heard out in the open, but we thought we'd bring a little light to the subject!

According to the National Association of Realtors, 88% of home buyers used a real estate agent when buying a home and approximately 91% of homeowners used a Realtor to sell their house. Those are numbers we like to see, because when a buyer or seller is represented by a really great Realtor, it means their rights are represented and the very stressful process of buying or selling becomes much easier to manage for YOU, the client!

In our market (Northern Virginia), the seller most typically pays all real estate commissions. That means if you are a buyer, you get to choose a Realtor to represent your interests at ... virtually no cost to you!

Real Estate Agent Get Paid

Realtors do not get paid until settlement / closing.

When a Realtor works with you  - - as a buyer - -  to find you a home, they know that they will not make a dime unless you purchase a house and use their services to do so. It’s not enough to simply get a contract signed. Real estate agents have to stick with the transaction and make sure that it makes it to the closing table, or they will not get paid. The seller will pay the Realtor fees out of the proceeds from the sale of their home (if there is enough equity). If the deal falls apart before making it to closing, the Realtors will typically never get paid for their work.

Buyer Representation Document.

It is Virginia law that buyers sign a representation document when working with a Realtor. This agreement protects all parties involved and is called an Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer document. You can work out the details regarding the length of the time for the agreement, and you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the terms (how the broker will release you from the agreement, should you choose to), etc.

Broker Compensation.

A standard percentage for a real estate transaction in Northern Virginia is between 5-6% for both sides of the deal. This is usually split equally between the buyer's Realtor and the seller's Realtor. The percentage is figured on the total sales price of the home (or the base price on a new construction home, not including any options or upgrades) and is disbursed by the settlement company (title company / attorney's office) after all parties have signed the appropriate paperwork.

Something that varies from brokers office to brokers office is the "split", the percentage that the Realtor receives, after any agreement that Realtor has with their broker. The question "how does a real estate agent get paid" is not necessarily an easy one to answer, as it depends on what that split is. A Realtor who has a higher split with their brokerage will earn more, however they may have fees to pay in exchange for that split.

The bottom line is, as a buyer, most often, you do not pay for that commission! Be sure to confirm this with your Realtor.

Administrative Fees.

You may be required to pay a minimal admin fee at the time of settlement, often less than $500. Be sure to request that your Realtor identify any fees that you are responsible to pay, at the time you sign your agreement.

How Hard Does Your Agent Work?

Just because you are not paying your Realtor's commission, doesn't mean they shouldn't work extra hard for you! They have only YOUR interests at heart, and they should work to the best of their ability in order to ensure that you are protected, and have all of the education you need to make an informed decision along the way. Your Realtor will work hand in hand with the agent for the seller to ensure that all paperwork is completed on time, deadlines are met and that both parties amicably reach the settlement table.

Any questions on how a real estate agent gets paid? Reach out and let us know! We're happy to help!

[contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Paeonian Springs Post Office

The Paeonian Springs Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The Washington Post recently featured our listing at 16999 Highland Circle, also on the National Register of Historic Places! Paeonian Springs Post Office

Paeonian Springs was established in 1890 and the current Paeonian Springs Post Office was constructed in 1930 as "Reed’s Store" and contained the original post office. The Reed family added the dwelling that is attached to the south in 1950 for use as their private home.

The railroad is infamous for bringing Washingtonians out to escape the city and heat of summer. The spring water of Paeonian soon became a respite in the area. The water from the springs was bottled and shipped daily to Washington for use by lawmakers in Congress. In 1901 there were three boarding houses (16999 Highland Circle was one of them!) and a village green. In 1912 a boardwalk was added, along with the post office, a confectionery store, a mill, a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright shop and a staples store.

The Paeonian Springs Post Office still exists as a fully functioning post office!

Paeonian Springs Post Office

16948 Simpson Circle, Paeonian Springs VA

540-338-4422

Monday-Friday 8:30-noon, 1:00-5:00; Saturday 8:30-11:30am

Mortgage PreApproval Guide

Ready to buy a home? Preapproval is the first thing you'll need to get in order, but even before that, there are some things you need to know! Take a look at our mortgage preapproval guide and make sure you follow this set of steps to ensure that you are as prepared as you need to be before you start looking at homes! Approved Stamp  

1. Review your credit report.

2. If there are any issues on your credit report that do not look correct, dispute them right away!

3. Locate your last two years of tax returns and proof of income (W2s or pay stubs), or if you are self-employed, you will need to provide your year to date profit and loss statement. You'll need to repeat this step for anyone else who will be on the mortgage loan, as well.

4. Prepare to have your down payment funds and any closing costs you will be responsible for ready in the bank, and plan to keep it safe from being spent during the transaction!

5. If you are receiving any funds from relatives or as a gift, you will need to be prepared to provide an explanation letter to your mortgage company.

6. If you are a first time homebuyer and have been renting, ask your landlord for a referral letter and gather your recent rent payment receipts to show you have paid on time.

7. You will need to gather some other documents, such as divorce papers, personal identification documents, etc.

8. Income documentation will need to be provided, including all forms (Social Security, alimony, any government assistance, child support, etc.). In addition, any and all retirement accounts or IRAs will need to have proof provided, as well as any stock markets investments or money market accounts.

9. Be prepared to explain any past financial situations such as bankruptcy. You will be requested to provide a written explanation of the situation.

10. No matter what you do, do NOT:

  • Apply for new credit, even if it's a small clothing store credit card!
  • Make large purchases.
  • Close any credit cards.

When you are preapproved initially, your mortgage lender is approving you based on your credit scores at the time. If you have any changes to your credit score, it can impact your ability to purchase your dream home.

Once you have completed all of these steps, congratulations on receiving your preapproval! It is very smart to shop around and discover who will offer the best rates!

Need to talk with a lender you can trust? Message us, we have a short list of some really amazing lenders and loan officers!

Farmers Market in Lucketts

Each spring, locals in Lucketts rejoice and delight as the season begins for Farmers Markets in Lucketts! Recently opened, the multiple farmers markets in the Lucketts area offer bountiful and diverse offerings.

Farmers Market Lucketts
Photo Credit: Veeterzy

No matter what you’re in the “market” for, the Farmers Markets in Lucketts have you covered!

Farmers Markets in Lucketts

Brossman's Farm Stand

14740 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg VA
(703) 777-4432
Hours: 9AM-7PM
Brossman’s is a family-owned farm located on Route 15 outside Leesburg, Virginia. Open for business since 2005, the farm stand continues to expand and increase their offerings. From produce to garden plants, ice cream, fresh eggs and more, Brossman's also offers Jules' BBQ on the weekends, Christmas trees in the winter and more!

Farmer Johns

15520 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 771-8982
Hours: 8AM - 8:30PM
At Farmer John's, daily picking ensures that you are purchasing the very freshest produce available. Famous for their sweet corn, tree ripened peaches, vine ripened tomatoes and Sugar Baby watermelons - but don't miss their hot peppers and delicious pies!

Loudounberry Farm & Garden

14917 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 772-8104
Hours: 9AM - 6PM
At Brossman's, another true family-run farm, you'll find locally sourced goodness (jams, artisans items (soaps, hand turned spoons and candles), potato chips, honey and more) as well as fresh quail eggs, milk, garden supplies, fresh flowers and more!

Perhaps you’re also “in the market” for a new home! This gorgeous Sunnyside farm is located at 13717 James Monroe Hwy in Lucketts (Leesburg) is just around the corner from all of the Farmers Market locations in Lucketts! Sunnyside Farm — once featured as the Washington Post Home of the Week — has 25 acres overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain and combines the best of history with modern upgrades. With five bedrooms and three baths, the 4,700-square-foot home has a traditional fenced back yard, lush gardens, a lovely patio and wood porches. The completely renovated kitchen features granite countertops, upgraded appliances, and a custom made heart pine island with seating. The Family Room was originally a log cabin, and its working fireplace and custom designed bookcases make it a warm and welcoming space. Highlights of the property include a 1850s bank barn with water and electric, detached garage (water, electric and work area), historic blacksmith shop, 3 stall run-in shed with a tack room, a carriage shed, and a chicken house.

[embed]https://youtu.be/89Nn_o35Pqo[/embed]

 

For more information about this amazing 5 bedroom, 3 bath farmhouse and 25 acre property just North of Leesburg in Lucketts, learn more about its offerings on the property website for 13717 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg VA or call/text Naomi Hattaway at 571-482-7356.

Farmers Market in Reston

Each spring, locals in Reston rejoice and delight as the Farmers Market season begins! Just opened on May 7, 2016, the bountiful and diverse offerings at the Farmers Market in Reston are available to you Saturdays, now through November 12th from 8am until noon (closed September 24, 2016 for the Multicultural Festival). The Farmers Market in Reston has been operating for nearly 20 years, with humble beginnings when the Friends of T.O.M.A.T.O. (The Organic Market At Tall Oaks) approached the Reston Association asking for assistance in creating the Farmers Market and the rest is history! Farmers Market - Reston

No matter what you're in the "market" for, the Farmers Market in Reston has you covered!

Meat & Seafood:  Arnest Seafood, Valentine's Country Bakery and Meat, Breezy Meadow Farms, Ole Pioneer's Kitchen, Smith Family Farm,

Produce: 78 Acres, Glascock's Produce, Hutt Produce, J & W Valley View Farm, Jerry's Gourmet Berries, Ladybug Mountain Farm, Mt. Olympus Farm, Penn Farm, Potomac Vegetable Farm, Spring Valley Farm and Orchard, The Farm at Sunnyside, Toigo Orchards

Dairy & Cheese: Blue Ridge Dairy, Cherry Glen Goat Cheese, Misty Meadow Farm Creamery,

Bakery & Sweets: A Bit More - sweets & specialties, Baguette Republic,  Grace's Fine Pastries

Honey, Popcorn and More  : Bees 'n Blossoms, Cavanna Pasta, Colonial Kettle Corn, Fresh Crunch Pickles,  Reid's Orchard & Winery,

Ready Made: Kiwi Kuisine,

Lake Anne Village Center
11404 Washington Plaza W
Reston, VA 20190

Perhaps you're also "in the market" for a new home! This private townhome is located at 1500 Deer Point Way, and is just around the corner from the Farmers Market in Reston! With a treehouse like seclusion, yet close enough to all amenities you'd ever need, the home is perfectly situated in an amazing community with a "welcome home" feel that you won't believe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/IFfnDO_bRy8[/embed]

 

For more information about this amazing 2 bedroom, 3.5 bath oasis in Reston, learn more about its offerings on the property website for 1500 Deer Point Way, Reston VA or call/text Naomi Hattaway at 571-482-7356.

Lake Accotink Park

Lake Accotink Park is located in the heart of Fairfax County, Virginia and boasts a whopping 493 acres! Of those 493 acres, 55 of them belong to the lake itself, but also includes wetlands and streams, as well as picnic areas, playground, pavilions, trails and open play fields. Lake Accotink Park is open daily, year-round, 7 a.m. to dusk. Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

If water sports are your thing, fishing is allowed and also check out the canoe and pedal boat rentals (starting at $6/hour on weekdays)! The park also offers regularly scheduled kayak tours in the marsh. There are tour boats as well! If you have your own water vessel, bring it ... boats powered by electric motors, sailboats under 15' and personal kayaks are all allowed ($2 launch fee applies). Swimming, however is strictly prohibited.

Bicycle rentals are provided (adult sizes only, helmets provided) are $10/hour and $5/hour for three or more bikes. The 9 hole miniature golf course starts at $3 per game for children (and seniors) and $4 for adults. Buy a miniature golf AND a carousel ticket and save!

Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

The antique carousel was built between 1937 and 1945 and was purchased from Fairhill Farm Antiques by the Park Authority. Check out the hand carved horses! The carousel runs every 30 minutes and tickets are $2/person on weekdays and $3/person on weekends.

Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

There are many picnic areas with grills as well as multiple pavilion shelters. The playground is a fun stop for all and Lake Accotink Park also boasts a sand volleyball court and basketball court. Rounding out the many offerings, the Park also has a four mile hiking and biking trail! Lake Accotink Park also has many events and camps, such as the Campfire By the Lake, which is held on Saturday evenings.

Lake Accotink Park is one amazing place! Don't you wish you lived nearby?

Check out this amazing 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home conveniently located, on a cul-de-sac lot with a PRIVATE path through the woods straight to Lake Accotink Park!

 

7709 Heming Place Lake Accotink Park

 

For more information on the home offered for sale at 7709 Heming Place, visit the property website or contact us for more information at naomi@8thandhome.com or 571-482-7356!

Hope Flower Farm Barn Dance

Spring has arrived in Loudoun County again, with blooming flowers and trees almost as abundant as the historical homes and farms that dot the countryside. Hope Flower Farm 8th & Home Real Estate

 

Helping to showcase Loudoun’s rich heritage is Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, which is hosting two cultural traditions in one single event– a May Day Barn Dance on Sunday, May 1.

May Day has its origins in both the ancient European cultures and the Roman Empire, celebrating the arrival of summer and the blossoming of flowers.  It continued into modern times as a popular secular celebration and made its way to North America during colonial times.

Hope Flower Farm 8th & Home Real Estate

 

A good old-fashioned barn dance, or square dance, also has its roots in European tradition, specifically the British Isles, where it was a common community-oriented event featuring easy group dances that all ages could participate in, dancing to folk music such as Irish and Scottish jigs and reels, the musical ancestors of Bluegrass and modern country music.

barn dance

Hope Farm’s May Day Barn Dance will run from 5:00pm until 8:00pm on Sunday, May 1, featuring a traditional May Pole and a quick tutorial on “How to Square Dance” before the Barn Dance Boogie officially gets started to the music of Catoctin County String Band.  Admission is $10 per person, or $30 for families of four or more.

Hope Flower Farm near the historic village of Waterford is a floral and event design “retreat” that is frequently open to the public.  Their website describes Hope as “a playground for floral design and teaching. . . a relaxing, educational environment for designers and non-designers alike. . . (with) farm-to-table dinners, styled shoots and workshops, Hope will be a Loudoun County destination for all creatives.”

May 1. 2016

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

5-6:00 pm - Social/Learn to Square Dance

6-8:00 pm - Boogie Down

Hope Flower Farm

40905 Stumptown Road, Waterford VA

For more information, including Hope Farm’s location, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.hopeflowerfarm.com

How to find a great real estate agent

Is selling your home on your to-do list in the upcoming year? Do you feel like you missed the "Spring Market" ?? Have you waffled between putting your home on the market as For Sale By Owner? Does the paperwork involved in selling your home give you a headache? Do the words "due diligence" confuse you?

It can be completely overwhelming to look at all of the moving pieces involved with the real estate puzzle. Yet, when you consider hiring a professional real estate agent, a Realtor, the stress can almost immediately start to fade away!

SO ... how do you find an GREAT real estate agent? How To Find a Great Real Estate Agent

First, let's talk about what to look for when searching for a great real estate agent:

A great Realtor helps you be realistic about pricing.

First and foremost, your Realtor absolutely needs to be truthful about the current market when discussing the pricing of your home.

There are quite a few real estate agents who will accept a listing ... no matter how far off the mark the seller wants to be with the price. This is NOT good practice. Not only does it affect that real estate agent's "production numbers" when they end up with listings that sit on the market for too long, it also greatly impacts your end goal - selling your home.

When a home is not priced correctly at the beginning, it will most likely absorb extra days "on the market" and you will run the risk of potential buyers wondering what's wrong with the house after too many days on. Be smart and savvy and choose a Realtor who is being forthright with the realistic and true market price and list at the very beginning with an appropriate sales price.

A great Realtor will truly understand and LISTEN to the timing of your family's situation.

Regardless of where you are moving your family, it's going to be stressful. New jobs, schools, friends, perhaps even new climates will need to be adjusted to. When you choose a great real estate agent who has experience (even better if it's their OWN personal experience) of relocating, the sharp edges of this process start to fade away.

It is very important that your Realtor not only have compassion, but also empathy. Look for a Realtor who has a great understanding of the timelines your family will need to meet and the stressors you are likely to encounter.

A great Realtor assists in every way possible to eliminate challenges.

This is also a BIG one! Listen when your Realtor speaks. Are they not only knowledgeable about the market, about the process of selling/buying real estate, but also "on point" when it comes to your local area? Do they have a good rapport with other Realtors in the area? How tough of a negotiator are they? Do relationships matter to them and do they operate with ethics and values that match yours? Do they look ahead of the transaction and help minimize challenges based on their innate knowledge of the situation?

A great Realtor has resources and assets in place to help with the literal moving parts of your relocation.

The timing of your real estate experience is extremely important. More often than not, the sale of your home or the purchase of your next home is not the only transaction happening simultaneously. If you are selling your home, it's possible the buyer for your home has to sell their current home. If you are buying your next home, chances are, the seller has to now find another home ... the domino effect of this situation can be difficult unless your Realtor is right there by your side to make sure all of the moving parts work together in tandem.

A great Realtor can guide you along the process, including top tips for preparing your home and showing to potential buyers so you can SELL your house!!!

Even if the current housing market isn't leaning in your favor at the moment, you should absolutely *lean* on your Realtor to drive the sale of your home. Ask yourself what your Realtor is doing to get the job done. What is your Realtor doing to inject calm and anxiety-free moments during the process for your family? Is your Realtor savvy with all aspects of the transaction, including how to correctly stage your home? Do they know how to offer suggestions about purging and packing away personal items?

Finding a great real estate agent is easier than you might think!

This article on finding a great Realtor talks about eight main things to keep in mind when interviewing for a real estate agent.  It is important to choose several real estate agents and then interview them. This is a big financial decision you are making and finding someone with the right expertise who also is the right fit for your situation is very important.

The 8th & Home Team has established an amazing network of fabulous real estate agents, almost literally the world over. No matter where you are moving to or moving from, we have a recommendation for you! The Realtors in our network have been personally vetted by us, and interviewed to learn about not only their expertise, but their values and ethics, as well as their marketing prowess and their ability to find the right homes for buyers.

If we can be of assistance to you as you look for a great real estate agent, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch!

[contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Where are you moving from / to ?' type='text'/][contact-field label='What things are most important to you when looking for a Realtor to serve your family?' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Real Estate Mastery: Client File Management

Welcome to our Real Estate Mastery series, a set of blog posts and videos to share what works for us, in the hopes you can have some great takeaways as well! If you are anything like me, or 99% of all Realtors, client file management is one of your biggest struggles! There are many apps and CRM (client relationships management) websites, tools and programs, yet for me, I have discovered I need something a bit more organic. Pen + paper and something I could hold in my hands.

While we DO use Pipedrive for team management of all of our client file management / transactions, for our individual task and timeline management, it's all about this ingenious system called a "tickler file."

During a brainstorming pow-wow with Kara Macdonald, the marketing genius behind Your Favorite Title Lady and Pruitt Title, I lamented that I was having a hard time keeping up with the day-to-day responsibilities for my clients, and that all of the technology available was making my head spin. She said, "why not use the old tickler system?"

Before I entered the real estate industry, I was a paralegal for many years and we had used the same old school tickler file system she was referring to! I knew how to do this! Hooray! We used one index card for each client and on that card was all contact info, the type of case (criminal, probate, family law, etc.), as well as the assigned associate, etc. The index cards then were placed behind the date tab according to upcoming brief deadlines, client meetings, etc.

The concept is simple: to use the tickler system, simply pull the cards that correspond with the current day, and you have your daily to-do tasks. Do the work, assign the next date / deadline and place the tickler card behind the appropriate date.

tickler file system 8th and Home

Fast forward to 2016 and the system looks pretty similar, except with color coding for transaction type: yellow for our awesome buyers, red for our lovely listing clients and blue for our rad rental clients.

tickler client organization system 8th and home

 

(The added bonus with my system is that when placed inside a tote, my system is now portable! Being on the go a large majority of the time, that is a huge benefit.)

I've revamped the system a bit and instead of an index card being used with the tickler system, I instead use an entire client folder.

Using the color scheme above, each client receives a set of documents inside the file folder:

1. an Intake Sheet

2. a Transaction Sheet and

3. an Action Taken sheet.

All of this information is located inside our Pipedrive system, but it was important to also maintain it at my fingertips.

Intake Sheet

This form allows us to keep track of all parties to the transaction to eliminate hunting through emails or text messages to remember which pest control company performed the termite inspection, as well as knowing at a glance which HOA to order the appropriate documents from.

Transaction Checklist

THIS is a LIFE SAVER! If you don't already have one, I would strongly suggest that become a priority. There are SO many moving parts inside of a real estate transaction and it can be not only costly, time consuming and sometimes disastrous to miss any one step along the way. Using a checklist that encompasses all of the required tasks, to do items, etc. is imperative to a successful real estate business.

Client Intake Sheet Transaction Checklist tickler client organization system 8th and Home

Action Taken sheet

This is where I keep track of every interaction as well as noting what needs to happen next. For example, if my first action taken was to "meet for listing presentation", then perhaps my Next Step will be to "follow up with potential client to answer any questions" or "send Exclusive Listing Agreement".  The Next Date becomes the date on which that Next Step should happen. The file folder then is placed behind the respective date tab in my tote.

Client Action Taken Sheet tickler client organization system 8th and Home

 

Each morning when I am ready to get to work, I simply pull the files behind that days tab ... get to work and then place the file folder with a fresh set of instructions behind the next appropriate tab!

How do you organize YOUR client files?

If you ARE the client, it's important that you ask your potential Realtors how they manage their client files and transactions! This is an important part of what is likely the biggest financial transaction of your life. It's important that there is a plan in place with the Realtors you are trusting with this process!

Brambleton Restaurants

If you haven't yet checked out the Brambleton restaurants, now is the time! The weather is turning nicer by the day, and many of our top favorites have outdoor seating! Photo Credit: Asian Spice Cafe

ASIAN SPICE CAFE, 42395 Ryan Road, Brambleton (703-327-2525)

CALIFORNIA TORTILLA, 42385 Ryan Road, Brambleton (703-542-8822)

FROOTS, 42395 Ryan Road, Brambleton (703-327-7901)

MY THAI PLACE, 42385 Ryan Road, Brambleton (703-327-5900)

PAPA TONY'S TRATTORIA, 22855 Brambleton Plaza, Brambleton (703-327-8600)

PEET'S COFFEE & TEA, 42385 Ryan Road, Brambleton (703-722-6125)

Wish you could live somewhere close enough to WALK to the Brambleton Town Center?
Check out our latest listing at 42523 Magellan Square :

Vino 9

Vino 9 Market Logo  

At the corner of Clarke's Gap Road and Charles Town Pike in Paeonian Springs, sits Vino 9 Market. With an amazing selection of craft and specialty beers and a super large selection of wine, this is a great one-stop shop when you're in the area! With local foods, snacks, vintage sodas and an Ariston Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Station, where you can purchase and refill your bottles. It doesn't stop there. They also have fantastic award winning pulled pork bbq and a full menu!

Photo Credit: Vino 9

You can pick up to-go, or enjoy a beer, cold drink or a bite to eat on their outdoor enclosed patio. With the WO & D bike trail only a block away, Vino 9 makes a fantastic rest stop on your journey. On the weekends, local music and entertainment grace the makeshift stage and you can often see not only bicyclists on the W & OD Trail but bikers (motorcycles) and folks stopping in on their wine tastings or antique shopping tours!

We happen to love Paeonian Springs and not just because of Vino 9. Check out our newest listing at 16999 Highland Circle, an amazing historic home just around the corner from Vino 9 Market:

 

To learn more about this amazing home, see photos or to schedule a showing please visit: 16999 Highland Circle | 8th & Home

 

Earnest Money Deposit

Earnest Money Deposit 8th & Home

Just what IS Earnest Money Deposit?

There are many terms and acronyms that one will hear during a real estate transaction and "EMD" or Earnest Money Deposit is one of them!

Broken down quite simply, the Earnest Money Deposit is a good faith deposit that is given by the purchaser or a property to the seller. You will make your deposit at the same time you present your offer to the seller. As each state is different, it is very important that you speak with your Realtor© about the ins and outs of this process. Most typically, the funds (usually deposited with your real estate agent's broker or the title company) are deposited into an escrow account.

An escrow account is a bank account that exists for the purpose of holding funds until they are needed, most often at the time of settlement. Once settlement occurs, the deposit is applied to either closing costs, your down payment or returned to you at closing.

 

Why is Earnest Money Deposit necessary?

When you write an offer to the seller of the home you are interested in purchasing, providing an Earnest Money Deposit shows the seller that you mean business, that you are willing to "put your money where your mouth is" and also allows your offer to stand out above the others, should there be multiple offers received.

If your situation is one of multiple offers, you may want to consider upping the ante a bit and offering a larger EMD. As you begin a relationship with the seller of the property you are interested in, it is important to start off on the right foot.

Contingencies and the Return of the Earnest Money Deposit.

Contingencies protect the buyer through the home buying process. If there are issues with the home inspection, or financing becomes unattainable, etc, contingencies are what exist to allow the buyer to walk away from the contract.  In these cases, the Earnest Money Deposit is typically returned to the buyer. However, if the buyer cancels the contract for a reason not covered by a contingency, the deposit is generally forfeited to the seller.

How Much Will My Earnest Money Deposit Total?

Depending on the area you are purchasing in, the price of your home, and the specifics to your transaction, the Earnest Money Deposit total will vary.  Typically the Earnest Money Deposit is between 1-2% of your sales price. As discussed previously, if you are competing against other offers, you may want to consider a higher EMD.

What are Contract Contingencies?

We cannot stress enough how important it is that you have a trusted and experienced Realtor© when buying a home. Your agent will help you understand all applicable dates for each contingency, as each one can impact the potential return of your deposit. Contingencies are written and utilized to protect both parties, but most specifically, the buyer. Below are some of the typical contingencies written into an offer to purchase a home:

  • Contingent on selling your current home
  • Contingent on a home inspection
  • Contingent on appraisal
  • Contingent on obtaining financing

If you have more questions about the Earnest Money Deposit process, or the steps to purchasing a home, feel free to email us or call for more information!

 

 

How to Downsize When Moving to a Smaller Home

Tiny homes are not for everyone. You might have seen some of these tiny homes on the aptly titled reality show Tiny House Hunters. Yes, judging by the home improvement channel, "tiny homes" are now a thing. Petr Novak Apartment Complex 8th & Home Megan Wild

There is nothing wrong with wanting to minimize your belongings, but tiny might be too, well, tiny. Instead, folks are opting for a practical downsizing to a smaller home. There are many benefits from downsizing and getting rid of the clutter that can so easily take over a large house. Here’s how to downsize, and get ready to move from a bigger space into a smaller home.

Step 1: Check Out the New Space

Suppose you're currently living in a four-bedroom house but want to make the transition to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse. There are plenty of those on the market you can scope out for size. You should get a good sense for just how small your new place might become. Remember, it's not just about the actual living space but also available storage in closets and cabinets. This scouting trip will help prepare you for the next step.

Step 2: Take a Stuff Inventory

If you're serious about downsizing, then you'll need to get serious about your stuff. What do you need that you currently have to maintain a comfortable lifestyle? It might break down to a bed, a sofa, a TV and kitchen items. Nothing wrong with that, but it means you're going to have to start getting rid of things.

Henry McIntosh Dining Room 8th & Home Megan Wild

Your inventory should also include a lot of measurements. Your new living room might only be 12 feet x 12 feet. Will your current couch fit in there? What about your ginormous flat screen television? How much space would you have left over in the bedroom of a smaller house if you keep your king-size mattress? All things to consider.

Step 3: Keep, Trash or Donate

After making an inventory of what you will bring with you to your smaller space, it is time to deal with the rest of your stuff. This can all be separated into three piles: Keep, trash or donate. The other alternative is to sell off some of your collected stuff. You could be sitting on a goldmine in your closet and not even know it.

One more option is to upgrade. With all the new technology coming out, everything is getting lighter, smaller, and more efficient overall. Do you need to lug around that 20 year old sweeper? You could get another that operates off of Lithium ion energy, which is much more energy efficient.

You don't have to go through everything in a single day. Try one closet every weekend. Once you let go of all the things you don't need, then you'll have a much better approach for the transition into a smaller home.

Step 4: Hold Onto the Memories

Just because you're going small doesn't mean you have to throw out all your memories. It is important your new smaller home feel every bit like your last home in terms of coziness. That means putting up the family pictures or having easy access to the keepsakes that are important to you. Of course, that huge collection of Star Wars toys might have to go.

Step 5: Toss the Duplicates

A smaller space is going to mean smaller entertaining opportunities. In other words, you won't be throwing a dinner party for 16 people. That means if you have a dining set for 16, you might want to think about paring that down. The same holds true with sneakers, sweaters, remote controls and appliances. Remember, going small is all about letting go. If you haven't used something in the past year, then it's a good bet you might not use it in the coming year. You might not even miss it.

Step 6: Consider Storage

If you still have a hard time of getting rid of things, then you might consider putting it all in storage. This will mean an added monthly expense, but it could expedite the transition. It would also allow you to "go big" again if your living situation changes.

Erol Ahmed Moving Bag 8th & Home Megan Wild

Moving to a smaller home shouldn't be looked at as a step backward. Instead, you're creating a more manageable and affordable living space. That, in turn, can create a happier lifestyle.

 

Megan Wild has been here and there and has picked up a few moving tips along the way. Check out more of her tips on decorating and improving your home on her blog, Your Wild Home.