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Tips for Selling Older Homes in the Midst of New Construction

If you have noticed new construction around the neighborhood, you are not alone. Some areas seem to breed new homes. While this is good news for buyers, clients selling older homes may face difficulties.

Old homes may not stack up against new homes boasting the latest designs in lighting, countertops, appliances, and flooring. Real estate CE can bridge the gap that exists, helping you bring your client’s dreams of selling their homes to light, but so can these helpful tips.

Out with the Outdated

One of the first things your client needs to do is deal with any potentially outdated rooms, especially before taking photos of the home for the listing. These photos can make or break the decision of a potential buyer to come look at a home.

Some of the best updates are the smallest. A coat of paint and new kitchen drawer and cabinet hardware can work wonders for photos on a listing site.

Some updates may require remodeling an entire room of the house. The biggest updates to freshen up older homes include changing the countertops and totally overhauling the bathroom.

Offer Pre-Inspection

Inspection can be a difficult part of the home-buying process. By offering pre-inspection, you are also offering peace of mind to potential buyers. The inspector will provide information about anything the home must have before it can sell.

The HVAC system can be especially tricky to deal with, so having a pre-inspection completed can help buyers make up their minds. Pre-inspection prevents a buyer from asking to have money knocked off your asking price to fix specific issues since you can price it according to the findings.

Get Smart About Smart Technology

One of the biggest benefits to your career may be taking real estate CE about the role smart technology plays in adding value to a home. Depending on the products you install, you may improve the value of the home dramatically.

Besides smart tech, buyers are also looking for eco-friendly homes. Consider updating the home with energy-efficient appliances or even new ways to power the home. Solar energy offers a big incentive to buy your home rather than another.

Build Up the Neighborhood

Sometimes the neighborhood is the biggest selling point of a home. Newly constructed neighborhoods may not have the same infrastructure an older part of town offers. Marketing materials should incorporate everything interesting about the surroundings. Sell this prime location to the buyer.

Construction of a new building.

New construction may be intimidating, but an older home with good bones can still compete.

Lower the Price

If no other tactics seem to work, consider lowering the listing price as an incentive for buyers. Rather than looking at the home as a finished product, those who buy at a lower price can make their own improvements to the home so it suits their needs.

Get Educated

Real estate CE offers an excellent way to update your knowledge about listing those hard-to-sell homes. Each state has different options for education, so choose your state now to get started.

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The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Professional

Real estate professionals often boast rewarding and lucrative careers, but the initial period of starting out in any new field can be tricky. In fact, the first few years of working as a real estate agent are often the most difficult.

If you are thinking about starting a new career in real estate, you may be considering the pros and cons of doing so. Even if you have already begun to pursue real estate continuing education, you may be curious. These lists will help you establish expectations.

The Pros of Becoming a Real Estate Professional

Education – One of the most significant benefits of becoming a real estate professional is the opportunity to learn. Real estate continuing education is a requirement of maintaining your license, but this will encourage you to stay up to date with current trends and changing regulations. You are never lost in your industry.

Flexibility –  When you are a real estate professional, you can set your own schedule. You do not have to work from 9 to 5, which can be difficult to do if you have other responsibilities. You can still take care of family members or go to school while you work.

Quick Start
 – Depending on your state, it may take a matter of only a few weeks or months before you can begin working as a real estate agent. Once you take the required coursework and receive your license, you are eligible to work.

High Annual Earning Potential
 – You are not limited to an hourly wage or specific salary when you work in real estate. You can often get back what you invest in your business. While most real estate agents earn a median salary of about $36,000, top producers can earn upwards of $100,000.

Emotional Rewards –  One of the biggest perks of being a real estate agent is being able to help people buy new homes. For many people, this is the largest purchase they will ever make during their lifetime. You get to be a part of it.

Expertise –  When you become a real estate agent, you must become an expert in your community. You learn about every nook and cranny of your environment, introducing you to some hidden gems.

The Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Professional

Difficult –  Of course, becoming a real estate professional is no cake walk. You must be willing to put in work to enjoy the rewards of this industry. You are the person in charge of marketing your services.

Real estate professional

If you want to become a real estate agent, you have to be willing to put in the work.

Isolation –  Many new real estate agents express some feelings of isolation in the beginning. Some of these feelings are linked to being an independent contractor rather than an employee.

Social Expense –  Long hours are often necessary for the new real estate agent. For instance, you will have to build your own lists of leads, which could mean meeting with potential clients regularly. You may be meeting several times each week.

Be Ready to Pursue a Real Estate Career

Whether you are first thinking about becoming a real estate agent or you are already working in the industry, looking into real estate continuing education options is never a bad idea. You can choose your state now to learn more about local requirements.

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Grey house with a wheel chair ramp at the entrance.

How to Best Serve Real Estate Clients with Disabilities

As a real estate agent, you may already know that your clients often possess specific desires. Additionally, many clients will also have particular requirements. Individuals living with disabilities often require homes that meet their special needs. Even if you have real estate training under your belt, you may benefit from developing a better understanding of these needs.

Understand the Fair Housing Act

According to the CDC, an estimated 22 percent of Americans live with some sort of disability. These disabilities may be related to vision, hearing, mobility, cognition, and other matters linked with serious physical and mental health disorders. Many people need some extra assistance contending with issues related to independent living and self-care.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the housing industry based on factors that include disabilities. As a real estate agent, you must understand the regulations in place to ensure that you do not discriminate against an individual with a disability who is shopping for a home. Extra real estate training can help refresh you on this topic.

Know Which Terms May Be Loaded

Clients with disabilities extend beyond baby boomers, and client requests regarding disabilities have increased approximately 20 percent according to some real estate agents. For this reason, you may need to brush up on the lingo real estate agents are using. Some terms may have different meanings when you are talking to somebody with disabilities. For instance, saying that a home is “a short walk to” a local mall does not mean the same thing to an individual who has a mobility limitation.

Refer Clients to Available Resources

Different resources are available to individuals with disabilities buying homes. You can provide your clients with excellent service by referring them to the different programs available, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Affairs’ Special Housing department.

Being able to refer your clients to local contractors is another valuable service you can provide. Clients may require modifications to a home, and your relationships with the right contractors may help them understand how much renovations and rebuilds are going to cost them.

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Many home modifications are simple, whereas others may require total rebuilds. Talk to your clients to learn about their specific needs.

Ask Clients about their Needs

Some clients have severe restrictions whereas others require just a few changes to a home. You are wise to ask your clients about any potential restrictions rather than make assumptions.

Common special needs for clients with disabilities may include proximity to public transportation or a large parking space. Some clients may require that an entire kitchen is modified so that the counters sit lower, for example. Sit down with your clients to develop a plan of action for looking at homes that meet their needs.

Continue Educating Yourself

With the help of real estate training, you can better understand the needs of your clients. Not only must you appeal to clients in need of your skills and resources, but you must also follow through with your promises. Education can help you do just that. Start your training today!

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Tips on Selling a Difficult Home

Just when you think the seller’s market is working in your favor, you may realize that some homes just aren’t as easy to sell as others. Fortunately, you need not be dismayed. As you will learn in real estate continuing education, even the quirkiest homes have potential owners out there looking for them. You simply need to know how to find them.

What Makes a Home Hard to Sell?

Many homes garner a reputation for being a hard sell. For instance, homes on a busy street may not appeal to buyers with young children or pets.

A home with bad “bones” is also a difficult home to sell. If a home has too much work to be done at a high price, most buyers are not going to be interested.

Outdated features are difficult to sell. For example, a home with an outdated kitchen and old cabinetry is not going to go for the same price as another home in the neighborhood with a newly renovated cooking space. Additionally, a home with only one small bathroom is not going to appeal to most buyers either.

One way to appeal to buyers is to revamp a home so that it allows buyers to overlook a potential fault. For instance, a home on a busy street may need to see an increase in curb appeal. Hire a landscaper, install a picket fence, or plant shrubs to create an attractive barrier.

You can also consider the home’s condition. What needs to be fixed up? Could you spruce up the walls with a neutral color? Does the home need a deep cleaning? Each of these factors requires careful consideration.

How to Sell an Unsellable Home

If you are struggling with a home you feel is unsellable, you have options. As you learn in real estate continuing education, understanding trends and regulations in your area is critical. You must learn how to analyze a property, the neighborhood, and what kinds of homes are hot on the market at this time.

Red brick building with green shutters.

With a bit of care and attention, real estate agents can sell a home that feels unsellable.

Next, know the right price to ask for the home. Mispricing is an easy mistake that even seasoned real estate agents make. Local research and comparison can be a great help for situations like these.

Also, keep in mind that the real estate agent’s role matters. As an agent, focus on offering quality and full-time dedication. Provide ideas for promotions and establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Set up frequent open houses to get clients in to look at the home rather than rely on assumptions and impressions.

Finally, take some time to develop a better property listing. The property description is linked to the property’s sellability. With your listing, be sure to include high-quality photos, even hiring a professional if necessary. A strong description and catchy headline are vital to attracting potential clients, but a promotional video can help highlight the better features of a difficult home.

Real estate continuing education is one key to learning how to sell homes like these. Real estate classes can help you, no matter where you work. Choose your state now!

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What Real Estate Pros Should Know About Smart Home Technology

Technology has led us to a point where innovations seem a common occurrence. What started as the clapper, a device that allows you to turn on the lights without even getting out of bed, has now evolved into the smart home.

Real estate agents are beginning to see these smart homes hit the market, and professionals are discovering that they still have a lot still to learn. Is real estate CE progressing fast enough? What do real estate agents need to know about smart home tech?

What Is a Smart Home?

Nearly half of homeowners either owned some type of smart home technology or intended to invest in it as of 2016. A smart home contains a variety of electronics connected to the Internet. Devices may include thermostats, entertainment systems, security cameras, motion sensors, appliances, sprinklers, locks, and even garage doors. Most people feel that having simply one type of smart tech does not mean you have a smart home.

Buyers are willing to pay more for certain smart home technology in their homes, especially when the buyers are millennials. One thing to keep in mind is that technology changes quickly. Smart tech today may be old news in just a few years.

What Do Real Estate Agents Need to Know about Smart Homes?

Approximately 81 percent of buyers have stated that they would likely purchase a smart home, but real estate agents need to know more about smart home tech than where devices are in the home to land the sale. Sales agents may need to point out different features associated with smart technology as well as how to use them.

Woman checking her home digital thermostat.

Having access to smart home technology can impact the sale. Consider your role in showing the benefits devices provide.

First, always check with sellers to first ensure which technology will be staying in the home. Sometimes sellers want to take certain items with them. Include details about which devices are staying in the sales contract. Otherwise, you may promise something to the buyer that cannot come to fruition.

Real estate agents should also be knowledgeable about how smart home technology can reduce costs. For instance, how much money on a heating or cooling bill will a smart thermostat save? What savings are available for individuals who use a smart pool cleaner or filter? Buyers want these details up front.

Next time you host an open house, consider including cards with detailed information about the smart tech near each device. Professional cards with information allow clients to better understand the gadgets, and many will be impressed when you can show them how the devices work. Clients looking at a home may become frustrated if they cannot figure out how to use the technology.

Finally, consider pursuing additional real estate CE. Continuing education may involve receiving a smart home certification you can use to show buyers and sellers that you know exactly what you are talking about. Are you ready to learn more about smart home tech? Start your training today!

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Door knob with a real estate lock box.

What You Need to Know About Staying Safe in Your Real Estate Business

As much as we might like to think that the rest of the world has our best interests in mind, the world can be quite dangerous at times. All too many real estate agents believe that their experience indicates they will always be safe on the job.

Fortunately, you can take some steps to stay free from harm when you work. Even with proper real estate training, you might be missing some key tips. While the U.S. Department of Labor considers real estate sales and leasing to be hazardous in some ways, the industry still lacks an oversight or enforcement team similar to OSHA.

Lack of standardization has led to some unsafe practices, but now you can take action. Take some careful steps to avoid the most significant hazards associated with your profession.

Consider Signing Up for a Safety Program

Real estate professionals often run workshops and courses to help you continue learning about safety issues in the real estate world. These classes are often more beneficial than standard safety courses because they are geared toward real estate professionals like you.

In courses run by actual real estate agents, you also have the opportunity to hear real stories. You can also learn from people who have been in your shoes and faced similar dilemmas.

Develop a Plan for Showing Properties

If you show properties by yourself, be sure to develop a plan of action. To start, only show properties during the daylight hours.

Before showing a property to a client or prospective buyer, make sure to take identification. Most real estate agents prefer to make a photocopy of the client’s driver’s license ahead of time. Leave the copies somewhere somebody else in the office knows to look.

When you arrive at the site of your next showing, take a quick note of what is happening in the area. Park in a spot that is well-lit and where you cannot become blocked in by another vehicle.

Real estate agents are also wise to create a distress code or phrase with somebody either back at the office or at home. Establish a plan of action to take if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use the code.

Miniature yellow house with chains and lock on it.

Real estate agents may spend a lot of time considering home security, but courses now teach safety lessons for the real estate practice itself.

Understand Possible Technological Risks

Not all risks facing real estate agents and their clients are physical. Fraud is a major issue all agents should understand. In fact, you would be wise to create a fraud alert for any credit cards or bank accounts in your name.

One step you can take against fraud is to shred all mail and old paperwork. Ensure that your information is not easy to discern, but also that your clients are protected from scams involving theft of old documents.

Real estate agents should also be aware of phishing scams via email. Phishing scams involve asking you to click on a link and log in with your credentials, but the link will not be legitimate. Instead, scammers will take your password and log in for themselves.

Take Care of Yourself & Your Clients

As a real estate agent, training is your best friend. Stay up to date with safety techniques and real estate guidelines that keep you safe on the job with continuing education courses available online. Start your training today!

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Yellow house with two car garage that has a for sale sign.

What Are the Rules That a Real Estate Agent Must Follow When Marketing Their Services?

Real estate, like most other industries, has some strict regulations. Not only do real estate agents need to abide by certain rules when signing paperwork, but they must also do so while marketing properties to potential new buyers. In fact, you are sure to learn more about the limitations in place in your real estate continuing education courses.

Cold Calling & Telemarketing

While cold calling is not uncommon in the world of real estate, the passage of laws in the last 15 years has changed how real estate agents are allowed to use it. Cold calling can still be profitable, but you must consider these changes when you develop a marketing plan for your business.

Since the 1990s, 26 states have passed laws regulating who can cold call private residents with “Do Not Call” lists. Unfortunately, you might see the blowback from this kind of legislation even if you are not a large company. If you are caught calling people on the list, you may be fined significantly.

You can avoid fines and other consequences by understanding your state’s cold calling laws. Training your salespeople and keeping documentation about changing regulations is beneficial.

Emails

In your real estate continuing education courses, you will also learn more about best practices for sending email messages to clients and potential clients. A newsletter sent via email is a great way to gain referrals, which are crucial to real estate as a business.

To abide by best practices, you should send just one or two emails per week. Otherwise, you may risk feelings of harassment or annoyance from potential clients.

Search Engine Optimization

You will find no hard and fast laws regarding search engine optimization, but you will have a lot to consider when you begin marketing on the Internet. You will find your most effective technique is to focus on local searches, using keywords that are geared toward your city and state.

You should also ensure that all the information you use in your marketing tools is correct. Additionally, your state will typically require that you designate your specific professional status on all marketing materials.

Real estate continuing education

Making the sale is the benefit of excellent marketing skills.

Posted Signs & MLS Listings

If you post a sign in front of a home that says, “Coming Soon,” you should pay close attention to the Code of Ethics. Specific rules exist determining how quickly you must enter a property into MLS after signing an agreement to list. For instance, you cannot post a “Coming Soon” sign outside a property to allow your firm the only access to the property. You are required to do what is in the best interests of your clients.

While you are allowed to clean up photos of a house, you are expected not to change physical conditions and qualities. In fact, doing so many violate the Code of Ethics. For instance, you are not allowed to erase obvious defects from photos highlighting a home’s foundation.

Real Estate Continuing Education

One of the best ways to stay up to date on changing trends and regulations in real estate marketing is to continue learning about them. Keep up with real estate continuing education to avoid falling behind. Start your training today!

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How Policy Changes at the Major Credit Bureaus Could Benefit Your Real Estate Business

This year, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus is rolling out a new policy, and it could mean good things for consumers. After all, a person’s credit score impacts everything from their ability to rent an apartment to a mortgage interest rate.

As a real estate agent, you may see how this impacts your clients directly. For many clients, getting a house will be easier. In other cases, lenders could make decisions that take into account changing scores. Here’s what you need to know.

How Do Credit Scores Work?

As you likely know, credit scores range from 300 to 850. A score higher than 700 is considered good, but most people looking into buying a house will want scores higher than 760. A credit score is based on payment history, credit utilization, credit history length, credit inquiries, and the number of accounts open.

What Is Changing?

The three major credit bureaus are improving standards by which they use records to report scores. Beginning just recently, the bureaus will exclude tax liens from all credit reports. This could impact some 11% of adults in the United States, many of whom will see an increase in their score up to 30 points.

If someone has failed to pay local, state, or federal government taxes, they may have a lien filed. In the past, tax liens have been included in credit reports. Tax liens were previously included because they indicated that one was unable to pay overdue taxes and thus may not be able to pay other types of debt. Unfortunately, even people who have paid off their liens may still see this reflected in their score for years.

Civil judgment data was also included in credit reports. Judgments may have been made against a person in court, and they have previously reflected as such in a credit score. Even paying off a judgment could mean that the bad mark stays on a person’s credit report for a certain amount of time.

What Do the Changes Mean?

The first change resulting from these new rules could be that more consumers qualify for home loans, which could initially be positive for business. People who were held back by their credit scores in the past may soon realize that they have the opportunity to buy a home, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Man smiling with a cut up credit card.

Consumers may be excited by their changing scores, but lenders could make changes to current policies to address this.

On the other hand, mortgage companies may begin to change their rules for approving loans. They may develop new programs for those with scores that have increased under new guidelines. Sub-prime mortgages are not a thing of the past, so it may feel that a burden falls on your shoulders to discuss loan offerings with your clients.

All of these changes also mean that real estate agents should pursue real estate continuing education to stay up-to-date with industry shifts. No matter where you live, you can keep up with changes that influence your industry. Choose your state now!

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Real estate CE

Arizona Will Permit Online Real Estate License Training Beginning in 2019

With news of the passage of Arizona House Bill 2399, prospective real estate agents in this southwestern state can rejoice. Beginning very soon, anyone wishing to become a real estate professional in Arizona will have the opportunity to fulfill their real estate pre-licensing requirements online.

Real estate CE has always been available online, but pre-licensing courses were previously only available in a classroom setting. So, this is great news! Read on to find out how the world of real estate is about to change in the Grand Canyon State.

What Is Changing in Arizona?

Arizona has only allowed classroom instruction for pre-licensing requirements up to this point. With the passage of Bill 2399, Arizonans will be able to attend real estate license courses on the web. This new law allows future real estate agents to fulfill their course requirements easily and on their own schedules.

 What Is Staying the Same in Arizona?

Arizona salesperson education requirements will remain the same in spite of the changes. Salesperson licensing requirements include 90 hours of pre-licensing education. Real estate salespeople must also complete a licensing examination and a contract writing boot camp.

Sales professionals must take 24 hours of CE every two years to renew their state licenses, which is already available online. Continuing education includes courses in agency law, contract law, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

Arizona brokers must complete 90 hours of prelicensing education and maintain a real estate sales license for at least three of the last five years. They must also attend a broker management clinic and complete the state and national licensing exam.

Broker continuing education requires 30 hours of CE every two years. Coursework includes topics in agency law, contract law, broker management, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

What Are the Advantages of Online Real Estate Pre-Licensing Education?

One of the most significant benefits of online education is the opportunity to pursue different topics. Unfortunately, when you are first becoming licensed to sell real estate in Arizona, the curriculum is set. Some of the topics that are included with the program cover title closing, license law, property management, leasing, income analysis, marketing, property ownership rights, building construction, and land development.

Online education gives you the chance to learn from the comfort of your own home, maintaining your routine. The convenience and flexibility of online education are often crucial factors for individuals who go to school while they manage a full-time job. Future real estate agents can continue working while they pursue their license.

Education on the web also allows you to learn in a self-paced environment. Depending on the layout of the class, you may have the opportunity to move at a pace that is more in tune with your schedule and learning preferences.

Woman working at a table with a laptop.

Online learning will provide Arizona’s future real estate agents with more opportunities to pursue their passion.

What Can Arizona Future Real Estate Agents Expect?

Beginning in January of 2019, Arizona professionals can pursue real estate pre-licensing education on the web. Future Arizona real estate agents can look forward to taking PDH real estate courses online beginning next year.

As the new year approaches, look for real estate courses online at PHDRealEstate.com.  Signing up for online coursework could not be simpler. Choose your state now!

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What Will the New Tax Laws Mean for Real Estate?

In December of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new laws will impact not only businesses but also individuals and families — including those looking to buy homes this year. Changes to the tax law this year undoubtedly affect your industry as a real estate agent.

Your real estate training will likely begin covering the new tax law, but this does not mean that you should not start with an understanding of the changes now. As a real estate agent, you may be wondering how the new tax legislation will influence your industry. This guide will help you understand what to expect with new rules in place.

Bonus Depreciation

For items deemed in service between 2017 and 2023, owners can expect to see a possible bonus depreciation at 100%. Formerly, the depreciation value was granted at 50%. For you to receive the full amount of money, the item must be recently acquired, though not necessarily new.

Why is this relevant to new homeowners? The new rules include roofing, HVAC systems, alarm systems, and security systems. If you own or buy a rental property, you may be able to say hello to new deductions.

Interest Deduction

For those who own homes between 2018 and 2026, a reduction in mortgage debt interest up to $750,000 is possible. You may see that people living in expensive homes are less willing to move at this time. With fewer people moving out of these high-cost homes, buyers may be considering moving into less costly houses.

Increase Standard Deduction

Your real estate training likely touches on tax law, including the standard deduction for individuals and married couples. With the new law, the standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.

These new laws indicate that individuals in the future will be less likely to turn to itemizing. Most individuals with mortgage interest and SALT deductions will not exceed these new limits. The value of mortgage interest and property tax deductions are not as relevant to homeowners as a result.

All of this goes to say that most homeowners will not benefit from a tax differential here. Owners and renters will experience little to no tax difference where there was once a significant one. Of course, owners and buyers should always consult with a tax professional to receive a personalized description of how purchasing a home may affect their finances.

Real estate training

Under new tax laws, homeowners must take note of changes made on their returns.

After-Tax Housing Costs Increase

Under the new law, homeowners may see an increase in after-tax housing costs. Buying a home may not seem as desirable as renting for first-time buyers. Of course, location, home cost, and family needs will all play a role in this decision-making process.

Real estate training should prepare you for the financial aspects of running a real estate business. If you need to brush up on new finance laws and how they relate to your job, you might consider continuing education courses that also help you renew your real estate license. Choose your state now!

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