How to Select a Real Estate Agent

Buying a home, for most individuals, is the single biggest financial decision made in their life. Thus, it is clear that the selection of a real estate agent is a serious consideration that should not be taken lightly. But what factors should be considered in the selection of a real estate agent?


Not all property agents are the same. Some real estate agents have a reputation for being difficult to work with. For example, agents who are pushy, argumentative, unprofessional, late for appointments, or missing deadlines can derail the buying process. A real estate agent must have a reputation for getting along well with all parties to a transaction, including buyers and sellers. An agent who takes a passionate advocacy approach like a lawyer for one party to a real estate transaction causes the other party to walk away from the deal. Communication and “people” skills are important, as well as diplomacy and tact if difficult situations should arise. And what is clear, honesty is the same.

Communication skills involve more than just communicating information – in fact, the ultimate test of effective communication skills is the ability to listen. An agent should listen to your needs, consider them, and then use that information to guide you to the perfect neighborhood and home for you.

Confirming a real estate agent’s reputation takes some detective work. It is wise to ask for references, on both sides of the transaction. Ask about problems that occurred during the process, and how they were handled. Talking to buyers and sellers about their experience dealing with a particular agency can provide insight into how you can expect your real estate experience to unfold.

Geographic Areas of Expertise

It is also important to make sure you are dealing with a real estate agent who is a “local specialist”. Many states technically allow licensed real estate agents to participate in real estate transactions anywhere in the state. However, local specialists will be familiar with local sales practices. For example, property transfer taxes vary by region, as does the party responsible for paying them. In some locations, there may be different customs duties for the distribution of city and county property transfer taxes. You want to make sure that you are dealing with an agent who is familiar with local customs to avoid paying unnecessary fees.

One idea is to investigate the neighborhood in which you are considering buying. If you see lots of yard signs for a particular agency in the neighborhood, it’s a good bet that the agent is a local specialist.

A local specialist will also be able to provide you with information on schools, recreation, churches and synagogues, shopping and entertainment options in the area.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Word of mouth is usually the best and most reliable source of information about a particular real estate agent. This type of information is reliable because it has not been “rotated” by the agent and the source of the information has no particular motivation in one way or another, except to relate his experience.

Be sure to interview more than one agent. Before conducting an agent interview, make a list of the things that are important to you. These items might include proximity to a highway or commuter rail line, style of home, age of home, proximity to school, local tax rates, or any number of other items that may or may not be a “deal breaker” in your mind. In addition, you may be interested to find out if the real estate agent has support staff who will help with various aspects of the transaction. Also, making this priority list will help your agent find the perfect home for your family.

Ask the real estate agent you are considering for a referral to another real estate agent for an interview. An agent that is secure in its quality of service and reputation will not hesitate to provide you with the names of competing agents for you to consider. The agent who provided you with this information is most likely an agent who wants to do business with you.

Residential Steel Building Plans

So you have been thinking about a steel building, a storage building, an RV garage, a hobby shop or maybe just a steel garage to keep your toys out of the weather and give you room to store all of that stuff that accumulates.

First let’s take a look at your needs. What are you going to store in the steel structure?

Do you plan to store a Recreational Vehicle?

If you plan to store an RV, you will need to know the clearance height of your RV. My experience shows that you will need at least 13′-6″ of clearance for a Class A motor coach.

Many of you may not own a Class A motor coach and the RV that you currently own is only 12′ tall. Look a few years down the road, you never know you may trade up to a Class A coach one day. This is something to consider and another reason to research steel building plans.

That being said lets get back to planning your RV Garage:

We will use the following as an example and say that you have decided that you want a 36′ long Class A coach to fit in your new RV storage building. To facilitate your RV you will need a building that is at least 40′ long. The width of the building is easy to figure out, the side wall or eave height is a little more difficult.

The best way to decide on the side wall height is to start with the garage door or overhead door. The minimum size garage door requirement for a Class A – RV is 10′ wide x 14′ tall. The 12′ wide door would actually be a better size so lets plan on using a garage door that is 12′ wide x 14′ high. Now we need to calculate the eave height that your new structure will require.

Most garage doors require at least 18″ and up to 24″of headroom or space above the garage door. I know I have been rambling here but we have finally decided on the minimum size steel structure that is required to house a 36′ long Class A Motor Coach.

Your new RV garage needs to be at least 14′ wide x 40′ long with a 15.5′ eave height or side wall height. Let’s take note – that is the minimum size storage structure. You can always build a larger building; say for instance you may want to have enough room to open your slide-outs or storage compartments while your RV is under roof. This is something that you will definitely need to take into consideration while you are planning.

The same methods used to plan an RV garage can be used to decide the size requirements you may have for a steel building, steel storage building, a steel hobby shop or steel garage that has other uses.

How many vehicles do you plan to store? Park them all in an area and take some measurements and that will help you decide on a building size.

Another method is to go to your local shopping center and take a look; most parking lots have 9′ wide parking spaces that are about 18′ deep. As those of you that drive larger vehicles know this size space can get a little tight when you are trying to park and open up your doors. Take this into consideration when you are planning your building.

Maybe you want to combine your steel garage and hobby shop into one larger steel building. An interior divider wall can always be constructed to separate the different work or storage areas. You may also want to plan additional room to store motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats or ATV’s. Most reputable steel building companies will have sales associates that can help you plan your next building but remember in the end the final decision is yours and it must be an educated decision.

Okay, it has taken us this far to decide on a building size now we need to decide if you have enough land for your dream.

Those of you that have recently purchased property in the country or those of who own acreages that have been in the family for years may think this part of the planning may not involve you but there are still a few things for you to consider along with the urban and suburban dwellers:

Is the proposed building location in a low lying area that may be susceptible to flooding?

Are there any easements on the property in the area where you plan to build?

Do you know where all of the utilities are on the property? The electricity, the phone service, the cable service and the big one is the underground gas lines? Do you know where all of the sewer lines, septic tanks, drain fields and water lines are located? How about that 60′ deep hand dug well that your great-great grandfather may have dug?

Locate all utilities, if you can’t find them call a call a company like Blue Stake. They will locate all of the utilities for you. Many states have a “Call before you dig law” that will be enforced if you hit a public utility when you are digging.

The next thingyou will need to know in this decision making process is your property “setback” requirements or the distance from the property lines that your governing entities will allow you to build an accessory structure. You will also need to know the distance between structures that your local building codes allow. You may be able to find most of this information on the internet if your city or county has a website. If you can’t find a website the best way to get this information is to go to your local Building Department or Planning and Zoning Department. Tell them you plan to build an accessory structure and want to know what the setback requirements and maybe the height requirements are for your area. They should give you some sort of pre-building permit package that will have the information that you need.


How to Find The Best Home Remodeling Companies

Home remodeling companies are growing in numbers. As a homeowner interested in remodeling, the sheer number of remodeling companies can be disappointing. It’s hard work finding the right one. How can you find the right company?

Finding Out You Need It

The first order of business is to determine if you do need a contractor. This may go unnoticed, but you can actually be a better handyman than you think. Launching several do-it-yourself projects can help you save thousands of renovation costs. You also reduce your chances of dealing with bad contractors. By remodeling some parts of the house yourself, you get what you want.

On the other hand, remodeling is not as simple as replacing a faucet. Others may be so confident in their abilities that they may not realize that a full-scale renovation is beyond their capacity. An expert remodeling company can take the burden of remodeling off you. Depending on your contract, the company can take care of every little detail from design to finishing touches.

Tips for Choosing

So how do you choose just one contractor from many home remodeling companies? Here are some tips that can help you get it right.

-You don’t need to be an expert in remodeling. That’s why you want to get an experienced remodeling company. However you should at least have a basic knowledge of remodeling. This will help you understand what the contractor said when you inspected it. The basic information will also help you in forming a concept of what you want for your home. It’s easier to find the right contractor if you already have some ideas.

-The safest way to get a contractor is to ask for references here and there. If you happen to like a friend’s house, you can always ask him for his contractor number. If you also have friends who are plumbers, carpenters, craftsmen or designers, you can also ask if they have a remodeling company they can vouch for.

-You can start to be a picky pick once you’ve considered a few companies. You can separate the good from the bad by considering the reputation of the company. The Better Business Bureau may be able to help you with that. You can also check what consumers are saying about the company on review and rating sites.

-Don’t register with the company if you can’t see some proof of work. Always make it a habit to look for examples of actual company work. You can easily do this if a company has a showroom. But some may even be able to give you a tour of a recently completed project. Armed with basic renovation information, you can ask related questions about the company’s work.

There will never be a shortage of home remodeling companies. You don’t have to break the impulse though. Always choose your remodeling company carefully. After all, you put your house in their hands.