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Tag Archives: Bob and Donna McWilliams

Realities of Real Estate: Just what is normal?

Our first Realities of Real Estate column was published in September 2008. It was an exciting, or as some might put it, a terrifying time to write about real estate. During that month, the financial markets began to unravel when they could no longer contain the pressure released by a bursting real estate bubble. Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11, and a few days later, the stock market experienced its largest point drop ever, falling almost 780 points in a single day.

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Realities of Real Estate: Who agents represent and how they get paid

How agents can represent someone varies from state to state, and depending which real estate company you employ, specific buyer or listing agent agreements can also vary. In the past, agents only represented the seller, and that was it. Today, it’s very different.

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Realities of Real Estate: Hunting guide for tracking down house

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a new home, part of the excitement is in the thrill of the hunt. Somewhere out there is the home of your dreams. It’s a basic instinct to be motivated by the discovery of something special and the hope that you’ll score big with a great buy.

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Realities of Real Estate: Consider your costs beyond mortgage

When you purchase a home, there’s more to your monthly payment than just the mortgage, as well as costs that can go beyond normal maintenance and repairs. These days, some expenses associated with home ownership have risen so sharply that people are now giving a closer look, things like utility bills and taxes. Although not all of these expenses are applicable to every home sale, we’ll take you through the most common ones, so they don’t come as a surprise at the settlement table.

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Realities of Real Estate: Agents via Internet? Check them out first

In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power." To many, this simple quote is more commonly thought of as a contemporary phrase and perhaps better suited for today's technologically driven information age.

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Realities of Real Estate: No one wants to see real estate rerun

To borrow a phrase from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the recovery in real estate has been a “long, hard slog.” And to cite an expression attributed to many throughout history, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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Realities of Real Estate: In photos, get your home’s good side

Every day, we look at dozens of listings on the multiple list system. Many times, we’ll just go right to the pictures; it’s the quickest way to determine if the house is something one of our clients might want to see. Buyers do pretty much the same thing, as they get on any number of websites to see what’s for sale. Consequently, the pictures associated with a listing can become one of the most important elements in attracting a buyer and avoiding the dump heap of also-rans that failed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

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Realities of Real Estate: For sale, for sail? Homes and water access

In this area, the relationship of a property with water (meaning the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries) has a lot to do with its value. An old shack inland might be worth next to nothing, whereas the same house on the water might morph into a million-dollar estate. In short, there is little in real estate that can have more impact on the price of a house than the ability to access, use or simply look out upon the water. Nevertheless, water features are one of the most confused and abused aspects of local real estate.

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Realities of Real Estate: Play dress-up with house before selling

Now that we’ve dodged the bullet on what is hopefully the last threat of snow for the season, homeowners contemplating a move are turning their attention to spiffing the place up for sale. When it comes to the projects a seller might consider, they can be divided into two categories — major ones, where you’ll most likely need to hire a contractor, and minor ones, where Harry Homeowner can usually get the job done. So, let’s take a look at both types and help you get a handle on what’s worth doing and what’s not.

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Realities of Real Estate: Signs point to seller’s market

In the world of real estate, when supply exceeds demand and prices are falling, it’s known as a buyer’s market. That’s pretty much where we’ve been for a long time now. Ever since the housing bubble burst seven long years ago, buyers have been in the driver’s seat, and sellers went along for a rough ride. But all of the sudden, it looks like sellers have taken the wheel, and the housing market is cruising in a decidedly new direction.

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