Monthly Archives: May 2016

Some of the things the Difference Between a Real Estate Broker and Agent

imageFinding a house, commercial space, or a rental apartment that perfectly suits your requirements and budget, can be a tough job. Bringing in a specialist like a real estate broker or agent makes it substantially easier. These professionals can provide you with a house or commercial space that is just right for your overall budget and preferences.

In case of the real estate business in USA, brokers and agents are not the same people, although they have an overlapping set of responsibilities.

This field is always going to be booming, as it provides for one of the most basic of human needs, which is shelter. As such, brokers and agents are also going to stay in demand, as they are the ones who bring buyers and sellers together, by tapping their network of clients.

How are their Work Profiles Different?

The reason why people get confused between the two, is because everything a real estate agent does, a broker does too. However, few know that a broker can do a lot more than an agent is licensed to do.

Firstly, in every US state, a broker and an agent possess different licenses. Both need to pass a written qualification exam to gain their respective licenses. Brokers need to study a wide range of aspects, compared to agents, which includes knowledge of real estate laws in the state and general procedure of transactions. In most states, the educational requirements to become a broker or an agent are limited to a graduate degree in any discipline.

How does an agent’s license differ from that of a broker? A broker is licensed to run his own real estate business, while an agent can only work with a broker. That’s why, agents are employed by firms, which are run by licensed brokers. Most states require that candidates possesses at least 2 to 3 years of experience in running the real estate business, before they can appear for a broker license.

Both agents and brokers work to bring buyers and sellers together and gain profits from commissions received, in lieu of handling the transactions. In some states, brokers are licensed to carry out real estate management agencies too. Agents work with real estate brokerage firms on a commission basis. The agent brings in the buyers or sellers and carries out the transaction in the broker’s name and offers him a share of the commission earned. Obviously, it is more profitable to be a broker.

A broker can offer a much wider set of services, compared to an agent, who is restricted to buying and selling real estate. The most important point to be noted is that a broker can independently run a business, while an agent can’t. They have to work with brokers on a commission basis. So, if you plan to enter the real estate business, it is highly recommended that you aim to become a broker, which provides you with a wider opportunity for business. Check out what the licensing requirements for a broker are, in your state and start preparing pronto.

Several Ways to Have in an Apartment

choose-a-realtorMost of you may have been really excited about moving into your new apartment. But after moving there, you may be stumped about what to do with it, how to set it up, and buy all those necessary things you need in an apartment. You’ve probably already got a list of the basic things to buy for a new apartment from your mom, or another friend who recently moved out. As necessary as those things are, there is also something else that speaks of the apartment as yours, the d├ęcor. Living on your own in an apartment should be able to portray all those traits that define you.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or a girl because things mentioned in the list below are suitable for both. Ultimately, it all boils down to personal choice. A guy can like floral prints and a girl can like having posters of the latest and best cars and bikes around her! Take a look at all these other things to have in an apartment.

Sofa-cum-Bed

If you have a room in your apartment, your bed will make it there, and the sofa-cum-bed can be used as a spare for those stay-overs, or when someone comes visiting. If you live in a studio apartment, the sofa-cum-bed is a great alternative to regular sofas, and is a big space saver. Remember to buy a color that suits your style. For instance, if you like it trendy go for printed upholstery. The variety is endless, from polka dots to stripes to floral and abstract prints. On the other hand, if you like it classy, go for a solid color with printed cushions.

Throw Cushions

Using throw cushions of different sizes adds the necessary jazz to your apartment. Yes, cushions are meant to be all fluffy, soft, and mushy, but they do serve a purpose, and when used with the right covers, they transform the apartment completely. Again, there is a huge variety in the colors and prints, even shapes of throw pillows. Choose something that complements you and your style, and you are good to go. An important tip: if you are using throw cushions on a single-colored sofa, go for a contrasting color, or better yet, a printed cushion cover. On the other hand, if your sofa is printed, use solid-colored throw cushions. This creates the right balance in the design.

Recliners

There’s nothing like a recliner to kick back and enjoy the big game, or watch your favorite movie. If you have the space, recliners can make for great relaxing seating arrangements.

Multipurpose Coffee Table

A coffee table can serve many purposes. If it comes with storage, it is the answer to all your woes especially if your pad is small. In fact, there are several such designs for coffee tables that are available for you to be able to take care of your storage problems. One such unique design is that of a coffee table with a magazine rack. Not only does it serve the basic purpose, it’s funky and adds style to your space. Depending on your requirement, pick up the right coffee table for you.

Bean Bags

What is an apartment without bean bags? They are comfortable and provide additional seating when you have your pals over for some fun. Even if you don’t, sit on your bean bag and read a book, listen to some music, or just day-dream. It is an all-purpose seating solution!

Funky Lamps

Artificial lighting has a great effect on the way your apartment looks. Also, while decorating things in an apartment, you cannot miss out on the visual appeal that a weirdly shaped and funky lamp provides. You should preferably buy free standing floor lamps, and not one those that are fixed to a wall. This way you will be able to move it around the apartment, as and when needed.

Rugs

Along with all the other items mentioned above, rugs also add the richness of color to your apartment. Use it to fill up an empty patch, or simply for the purpose of decoration. One of the best uses of a rug is to throw it on the floor across your sofa, and have some throw cushions on them. Voila! You have one more seating arrangement to accommodate all those visitors! A rug with throw cushions is even a great choice for a cozy corner for two. Available in a variety of colors and prints, and textures too, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect rug for your apartment.

A Cozy Corner for Two

Brought your date home to enjoy a romantic meal and more? A cozy corner for two will really spice things up, and provide the appropriate environment for the perfect date. Generally also, it makes for a great focal point in the apartment. Even if you use two bean bags and a small coffee table placed on a rug, it serves the purpose. Just remember to keep the lights dim, and a few beautiful candles at hand. Who says you need to go out to enjoy a perfect candle-lit dinner?

Readers’/Music/Art Zone

Whether you enjoy reading, playing, or listening to music, love creating art, or just like writing, try to enjoy your hobby in a zone designated for this purpose. A reader’s or writer’s zone would ideally comprise comfortable seating (perhaps a single cane swing), a small desk, along with a book rack (also available in a variety of funky shapes and sizes). For a musician, ample space to keep the musical instrument(s) is essential. For the art lover, a chest of drawers to accommodate all the essentials for the purpose, along with a desk, or space for an easel if required makes for a great space to enjoy your hobby. Use your storage furniture as room dividers to demarcate your hobby zone. Designating a space to enjoy your passion will transport you to another world altogether, and bring out the best in you. Whatever your hobby, do it in a space you are most comfortable.

Wall Art and Accessories

Bare walls are like a blank canvas to which you can add absolutely anything you like. Since you are in an apartment you might not be allowed to paint the walls or apply wallpaper. But you can definitely use some beautiful wall decorations to decorate your apartment. Put up pictures of yourself, family or friends in a variety of different colored frames. If you enjoy photography as a hobby, decorate the walls with some of your best photographs. Movie buffs can put up posters of their favorite movies, idols, stars, and in general, cars too. Put up the artwork you have created, be it a wall hanging or an oil painting. A great way to get the best of everything is to put up one big pin up board, and create a collage of all your favorites in one giant space! The ideas are endless, and the choice, completely yours. Even funky shaped mirrors are now very popular as pieces of wall art. Admire yourself, and your choice by getting one of those. Cool clocks such as ‘Felix the cat’ are another way of accessorizing your walls. Get some hanging shelves and place all the bric-a-brac you picked up from a garage sale, or from your favorite furniture store. Choose a wall that can create a focal point in your apartment, say above a sofa, or a wall against which nothing else has been placed.

Beaded Curtains

Apart from the regular curtains and drapes for your windows, beaded curtains are other great choices, and are in fact ideal if you want to divide a space in your apartment, or even to decorate a bare wall. The colors and shapes they are available in make them unique interior decorating accessories.

Plants

Real or artificial, houseplants breathe a whole new life to your apartment. They bring with them the freshness of nature, and are one of the best things to have in an apartment. Keep them all around and get inspired!

Even if this isn’t your first apartment or the first time you are living alone, you must have at least one of these aforementioned things to define your apartment. Personal style reflects in the way you decorate your apartment, so make the most of it by adding a personal touch to your own little paradise. Only remember, the bottom line of good apartment living is comfort. Don’t try to stuff everything into your apartment. Just choose what you think would be the best for you and enjoy this experience.

Step by step to Picking a Realtor

Moving boxes in new house. New apartment background.

A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. This association follows very stringent code of ethics and the members work full-time as real estate professionals. They are licensed by the state to help people in buying and selling properties, and need to meet set standards of education, experience, and examinations. A real estate agent may not be a realtor. If you are interested in buying a property, it is better to choose a realtor over a real estate agent.

How to Choose a Realtor

  • The first step is identification. You can ask your friends and relatives for referrals, or look for advertisements in websites and local newspapers. Identify around three or four of them, call them up and fix appointments for interview.
  • Interviewing realtors will help you in understanding their approach and personalities. This will let you access whether any one of them would be the right person to help you search a home or not.
  • It is important to check whether the person you are interviewing is actually a realtor or not. You can ask him to show his work permit so that you can rest assured that you have chosen a genuine agent.
  • During the interview ask questions like – how often will you provide new listings? When can I expect to hear from you? How fast will you call back if you miss my call? etc. The realtor’s answers to these questions will give you a clear picture about his capabilities and style of working.
  • An experienced realtor has more contacts and is generally more updated than newcomers. Therefore, ask for the agent’s work experience and try to figure a rough idea about the number of dealings he has conducted so far.
  • Ask the agent if he is Internet savvy because agents who are well-versed with the Internet are more likely to send an immediate email about new property listings, and respond to your queries quickly.
  • Look for strong negotiation skills. An agent who is an expert negotiator can be of great help in settling issues between the buyer and the seller, and can conduct the whole process in a clever and efficient manner.
  • Select an agent who has mostly handled dealings from the buyer’s side as he will be proficient in it.
  • A realtor who handles property dealings under your price range and understands your requirements will be able to help you better in your search.
  • Referrals and testimonial letters can help in identifying a good realtor who knows his business well. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask for these documents during the interview.
  • Even though the seller party is liable to pay commissions to property agents, do not simply assume it. Talk about the agent’s charges for the complete process so that there is no confusion about it.
  • After the interviews, take time to analyze which realtor will be the best for you, make up your mind and appoint him as your property agent.

Selecting a realtor over a regular real estate agent helps, because they can access Multiple Listing Services (MLS) which is specifically available for members. This service informs members about new property listings in a particular area and increases the chances of finding a suitable house for the buyer. You can also choose to buy a house without a realtor, but then, you need to be extremely cautious and take legal advice, if required. As said before, owning a property is a dream and buying a house involves a lot of money. So it is simply not viable to choose a person who is not competent enough to help you find the best deal. That’s why, do all that it takes to find a good and reliable realtor and once this job is done, he will help in cracking the best property deal for you.