By Dianna Hosta-Stickney
Now that you’ve made the decision to move, the next big decision is finding a Realtor. After all, most of us don’t have the time or the expertise to market our home or to navigate the complicated maze of buying another one. It’s likely your largest investment, not a time to make mistakes.
Finding a good Realtor, one who suits your personality and understands your needs, can be tricky. If selling or buying a house is on your to-do list this year, here are a few tips and factors to make a good Realtor match:
- Who sold you the home you’re in now? Did they keep in touch over the years? Was the experience positive? That real estate consultant may be a good choice if you’re staying in the area.
- Check out real estate websites to see reviews and ratings.
- Consider a consultant who is active in the local chamber of commerce, Rotary or other civic organizations. Those connections can be vital for marketing your property.
- Does the Realtor have certifications such as SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) or other designations? This indicates a level of expertise.
- Ask friends for suggestions. If they had a good experience, you probably will, too.
- Interview Realtors. A good relationship usually depends on the intangibles. Do you like the person? Are they easy to talk to? Do they seem trustworthy?
- When interviewing a consultant, details matter. How will they market your home? What tools do they use? If you’re buying, how available are they to show you houses? Get a fee list.
- Experience counts. How long have they been in real estate in your targeted area? How many properties have they sold?
- If you’re selling a home, ask about the list price versus sale price for similar properties they’ve handled.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year that can also be the most horrible time of the year if gift-giving is part of the festivities.
Your spouse, friends, parents, in-laws, grandkids, neighbors — the gift-giving list goes on and on. Many of us don’t have a clue what to buy.
To find the perfect gift, you can always do the obvious: ask the person what they really want. Or you can use the following suggestions for inspiration, both practical and whimsical.
What are their interests?
Make a list of all the things that define the person. This should be a long list once you start thinking of their hobbies, interests or a wish list they may have shared. Then add something to every item, big or small, from obvious to off the wall. This will get you thinking creatively about some cool gift ideas you normally may not have thought about.
What do they need?
Everyone needs something. Think outside the box. If the person enjoys day trips, put together a survival kit with a beautiful water bottle, snack packs of cookies, nuts, pretzels or mints, or even a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste. Thinking of their lifestyle can offer lots of ideas and will help you reframe your usual view of that person.
Make them laugh.
Perhaps the person remembers assembling model kits or enjoying a special candy as a child. Search local vintage stores for their favorites. If they watched a popular television show or cartoon, search for memorabilia that brings back great memories and laughs.
“A great gift is one that brings a smile to both the person giving the gift and also to the person receiving the gift....