Costello Real Estate & Investments Blog | Costello REI

9 Reasons You Need a Real Estate Agent

Whether you're selling a home or buying one in, Raleigh, or The Triangle a Realtor® is a must. There are so many good reasons to go into this massive financial transaction with an expert by your side. While you may be able to do it yourself, this type of transaction should never be treated as a DIY project.

Are you well-versed in real estate law? Do you understand any recent changes to the laws impacting real estate? Are you familiar with homeowner's associations in the area? Do you know the Triangle Area Communities like the back of your hand?

Unless you answered YES to all of these questions, you NEED a Realtor®. Here are several great reasons why you should always hire a Realtor® when buying or selling a home.

It's a Huge Financial Transaction

For most people, buying or selling a home will be one of the largest financial transactions of their life. Hiring an expert to ensure the "t's" are crossed and the "i's" are dotted is just smart. Without an expert by your side, one small mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Realtor's ® are Expert Negotiators

We all like to think we are great negotiators, but you probably don't negotiate for a living. Realtor's ® negotiate real estate deals every single week and they know exactly what to expect.

Selling and buying real estate comes with plenty of challenges. One of the main challenges is making sure you can get the right deal. Negotiating is vital to a good real estate deal and you need an expert to...

Tips to Staging a Home

When staging a home, our first tip is to hire a professional!

Professional stagers know what appeals to the most buyers, which is what you want your home to do. Have them come through and do a consultation with you to determine what needs to be done.

A great stager will work with you to find a solution that not only showcases your home in the best light, but also works within your budget.

According to the National Association of Realtors, “A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87% faster than non-staged homes.” Your Realtor should be able to provide you with referrals to a great stager in your neighborhood.

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9 Reasons You Need a Real Estate Agent

Whether you're selling a home or buying one in, Charlotte, Raleigh, or Fort Mill a Realtor® is a must. There are so many good reasons to go into this massive financial transaction with an expert by your side. While you may be able to do it yourself, this type of transaction should never be treated as a DIY project.

Are you well-versed in real estate law? Do you understand any recent changes to the laws impacting real estate? Are you familiar with homeowner's associations in the area? Do you know the Charlotte Area Communities or Triangle Area Communities like the back of your hand?

Unless you answered YES to all of these questions, you NEED a Realtor®. Here are several great reasons why you should always hire a Realtor® when buying or selling a home.

It's a Huge Financial Transaction

For most people, buying or selling a home will be one of the largest financial transactions of their life. Hiring an expert to ensure the "t's" are crossed and the "i's" are dotted is just smart. Without an expert by your side, one small mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

Realtor's ® are Expert Negotiators

We all like to think we are great negotiators, but you probably don't negotiate for a living. Realtor's ® negotiate real estate deals every single week and they know exactly what to expect.

Selling and buying real estate comes with plenty of...

3 Tips for New Home Buyer's in the Current Market

Buying a home doesn’t need to be scary or stressful!

The most important thing for New Home Buyers or First-Time Home Buyers to know, in any market, it that it’s important to find a Realtor® and a lender they trust, who are willing to take the time to educate them and walk them through the process step by step.

It’s also important in this market for buyers to get a full pre-approval from their lender and work with their Realtor® to determine what their price point means in terms of today’s market. A great agent will help them understand the current market and what it means to them in terms of competitiveness, availability of homes, and whether or not they may need to compromise on some of their wants.

Finally, it’s important for new buyers to remember that while this is a big investment decision for them, they should also enjoy the process. You only get to buy your first home once!

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A Great Self-Guided Holiday Tour Found in Uptown

You don't have to go to a Christmas event or join a group tour to enjoy Charlotte during the holiday season. If you prefer a self-guided Holiday tour, there are several great options throughout the Uptown area. Here are some of the best choices.

Before we get into the list, it's important to note that The Christmas Village was moved from Romare Bearden Park to 7th and Tryon for this year. In addition, the official Uptown Christmas Tree was moved from The Square to The Christmas Village.

The Charlotte Christmas Village

The self-guided tour options in Uptown don't get any better than the Charlotte Christmas Village. You can enjoy this area of the city from 11am to 7pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11am to 9pm Thursday through Saturday and from 11am to 6pm on Sunday. It's closed on Monday and open through Christmas Eve for the year.

Throughout the Christmas Village, you will find plenty of vendors with all kinds of options from bratwurst to cider to fudge and so much more. You can also get your picture with Santa and visit the official Uptown Holiday Tree.

Holiday on Ice

Outdoor Ice Skateing Uptown at the Nascar Hall of Fame Plaza. 10,000 Gallons of Water have transformed the Nascar HOF Plaza into a Uptown, " Metropolitain Winter Wonderland". This is an expiernce that you do not want to miss!

The Square

Found at 100 North Tryon Street, The Square is a great choice for a self-guided tour. You can also add in Thompson Polk Park and Founders hall as they are all found at the intersection of Tryon and Trade.

Even though the Uptown Tree was moved to the Christmas Village this year, there is still a huge decorated Christmas tree at The Square. In addition, there are plenty of other decorations and it's a great place...

Make Your Home Stand Out With Better Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is vital when selling your home. It not only shows up when someone arrives for a showing but also in your online listing pictures. Without amazing curb appeal, your home's first impression may not be great.

First impressions are the most important thing when marketing your home!

Whether, the listing is seen on social media, online listings, or in person; if your home does not have the right curb appeal, you may loose a potential buyer that never even stepped inside to see all of your updates.

Buyers want to see a great home and curb appeal can invite them in to see your beautiful home. Here are some of the easiest and best ways to make your home stand out with great curb appeal.

Paint

The exterior of your home doesn't need to be completely repainted. However, a fresh coat of paint on the front door and a few touch ups can go a very long way.

Consider painting the mailbox or replacing it, if necessary. You can also repaint areas of the home in need of touching up to make it look great. If you have the funds or your home is in need of a fresh coat of paint, doing a full paint job on the exterior will make a pretty big difference.

Fresh paint on your fences and anything else on the exterior of your home goes a long way, too. Consider painting the garage, as well, to give your home a cohesive look.

Landscaping

Mowing the lawn is a start, but fresh flowers, trimmed bushes, and the right landscaping can truly transform a home. When you’re' trying to sell your home, landscaping offers one of the most affordable ways to add curb appeal. It brightens things up and helps to make your home look inviting.

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Should You Sell Your Charlotte Home During the Winter?

While Charlotte Area winters are mild compared to northern cities, you may still be wondering if you should sell your home during the winter or wait until the spring. Listing your home at the right time matters, but the winter isn't a bad time to list your home for sale. In many ways, it could be a perfect time.

November and December may seem like bad months for selling, but this isn't exactly true. Buyers are still out shopping for a new home and often, there are fewer homes on the market during these months. This might be the good news you were hoping to hear.

You may be thinking about how hectic it can be to work showings and open houses into your already busy holiday plans. However, if you have a home you'd like to sell in Charlotte, there are several advantages to getting it listed now. Here are some of the benefits of selling your Charlotte home during the winter.

The Internet is 24/7/365

In today's day in age, home buyers find you online first 95% of the time. There used to be a time when you couldn't search home listings any day of the week, at any hour of the day. Today's buyers will find you when it's convenient for them and that's good news for sellers in the winter.

With good online listing pictures and a good real estate agent on your side, you'll have a great chance of selling during the winter. The internet is your friend in this situation and as long as buyers can find your home, you'll have plenty of interest, no matter the time of year.

Less Competition

The spring will bring plenty of sellers flooding the market all looking to get their homes sold. However, during the winter, the number of sellers with homes listed on the market is much lower. In fact, you'll see about 15% fewer homes listed during November...

What You May Not Know About Plaza Midwood

Plaza Midwood is very popular and it's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Charlotte. You may know quite a bit about this amazing neighborhood, but you may not know it all.

The neighborhood is known for the incredible restaurants, unique bars, thriving culture, and arts scene and so much more. It's a true Charlotte institution and one of the best neighborhoods in the city. If you are a foodie, are an avid music enthusist, or an Art lover this neighborhood is perfect for you due to its rich and eclectic culture

Plaza Midwood is also a great place to call home with plenty of wonderful homes. Many of the houses here are historic and have been well preserved. There's also some new construction on the larger streets, as well as, condos and apartments. Many residents love the fact that the neighborhood is very walkable.

If you're considering moving to Plaza Midwood, you'll want a real estate agent familiar with the area. You will also want to learn all about the neighborhood and it's thriving culture!

While you may know some of the main facts about Plaza Midwood, you may not know everything. Here are some of the top things you may not know about Plaza Midwood.

WBT Radio Station

F.M. Laxton is a famous early resident from Plaza Midwood. He set up a radio transmitter in his backyard chicken coup back in the 1910s. Eventually, he became the founder of the WBT radio station, which was only the third licensed station in the entire county. This caused Charlotte to become a hotspot for music recording early...

What to Ask Your Lender When Buying a House

The home buying process can be both exciting and stressful. Becoming informed and hiring the right real estate agent are two of the best ways to take the stress out of buying a house. While you certainly want to be informed on the buying process, you should also know what to ask your lender.

A big part of buying a home is taking out a mortgage. If you don't ask the right questions, you may end up with the wrong lender or loan. Here are a few of the most important questions to ask your lender when buying a house.

Which Loan Program Works Best for Me?

Every situation is different and if you don't ask this question, you may get a program your lender wants to sell you, not the right one for you. Whether you work a regular job or you work for yourself, there are likely multiple loan programs you qualify for with most lenders.

Our Partners at Movement Bank are here to help! Contact Team Romero today to get a head start on your loan process or with any questions that you might have in reference to getting pre-approved.

A good lender will take the time to get to know you and will figure out which mortgage is best for your situation. Make sure your lender does this or you may get stuck with a program that isn't right for you but paid the account executive a better commission.

How Much Will My Down Payment Be?

You don't need any surprises in the home buying process. However, with the current market, you may be surprised that you don't neccisarly need the traditional 20% down to buy a home. Before you go any further, find out how much the lender will...

A First-Time Homebuyer's Guide to Buying a House in 2019

Buying your first home should be exciting. However, it often comes with plenty of stress and can become rather overwhelming.

Last year, the real estate market experienced rather low inventory and many buyers were demanding affordable housing. This made the market sway towards the seller and buyers had to be on their toes to get the home they really want for a price they liked.

Regardless of whether it's a buyer's market, seller's market, or a balanced market, as a first-time homebuyer, you need to know what you're getting into. If you're planning to buy for the first time this year, here's a quick guide to help you along the way.

Your Credit Matters, so Start with Your Score

Pull your credit score and find out what it is. If you have poor credit, it's time to start here and work on getting your credit score up before you even attempt to buy a home. Even if your credit is good, but not great, you may want to do some work in this area first.

Your credit score will be used by any lender you try to get a mortgage from. They will pull your credit report and look at the score to help determine if you qualify and how good of an interest rate you may qualify for.

Speak to a Lender

After you've seen your credit score, it's time to speak to a lender. While not all will take your call and answer your questions, the ones that will are the ones you will work with when it's actually time to buy your first home. We recommend contacting Team Romero with Movement Bank.

Talk to them about your credit score and what it means for your down payment, potential interest rate, and loan amount/program....

Three Tips for Buying or Selling a Home

Video Transcription

Hi Everyone, Steve Lonnen with Costello REI!

I wanted to share with you three quick tips on how you can get the job and how you can get the home.

What do I mean?

Prior to real estate, I spent 15 years with a very large corporate recruiting and staffing company. My goal was helping to place thousands of people into great jobs. I also helped to train and develop recruiters to help people get great jobs.

Now, my goal in real estate is to help people buy and sell their homes. I have seen a lot of similarities between the two.

I want to share them with you and break them down quickly into three easily digestible parts.

Number 1: Be Prepared

If you are going into the job having the resume updated, doing some interview prep, make sure that you have done your research into the company.

On the home buying side it is very similar: Going into the home buying process, make sure that you are pre-approved, making sure that you have a general idea of where you would like to end, and qualify some other things on the front-end, making sure that you are ready to buy.

Number 2: Requirements Change

I can't tell you how many times that I have worked with job candidates that have a list of 5-10 things that are required of the job or career that they want. What you start to realize is that some of these things are negotiable.

Maybe, the job cannot pay as much as they are asking for. However, there are other plus benefits that still make the position enticing. (Maybe there is a closer commute, the cost of living is less in that...

Top Denver, NC Neighborhoods

Choosing to call the Charlotte area home doesn't mean you have to live directly in Charlotte. There are several wonderful towns and cities surrounding Charlotte including Denver, NC.

Denver offers a great place to call home in eastern Lincoln County. It's right on the western shores of Lake Norman, which means many of the area neighborhoods offer waterfront homes.

A wide range of home styles is found throughout Denver giving home buyers plenty of options. Here's a look at some of the top neighborhoods you can choose from throughout Denver, NC.

Norman Pointe

A luxury community offering plenty of waterfront options, Norman Point provides homes ranging from the high $300K range to more than $3 million. Many of the homes here offer custom options and some type of water view, whether fully waterfront or a partial view. Buyers will even find opportunities for new construction here.

Webbs Chapel Cove

A gated community with massive home sites including multiple acres, Webbs Chapel Cove homes start in the $700K range. There are some lots still available for new home construction. The best part about Webbs Chapel Cove is the location found right in the middle of Denver.

Cobblestone

A one-street enclave filled with luxury homes in Denver, Cobblestone offers a great place to call home. The homes offer plenty of custom options and there may be a few lots left for building.

The Westport Club

A multi-phase community with homes ranging from about $150K to more than $450K, The Westport Club is a golf and tennis community. It's found near Lake Norman and has an Active Adult section. The community also has an 18-hole golf course, fitness center, community pool and plenty of other amenities.

Verdict Ridge

Another golf course community offering...

Will Solar Panels Add Value to Your Charlotte Home?

Solar power has become very popular and for good reason. Adding solar panels and a full system to your home offers many benefits including a lower electricity bill. You also have the ability to reduce your carbon footprint, as your home becomes more eco-friendly.

When you decide to sell your home and you have installed solar panels, you may think it makes your home worth more. This may be the case, but it may not always be the case. Before you add a solar power system to your home, make sure you understand what you're getting into.

Speak with a Bank Appraiser or Realtor

The best way to find out if a solar system will add value to your home is to speak to your bank appraiser or Realtor. They will be able to let you know if it will add any value to the actual appraiser, make the home sell faster, or cause any issues when you try to sell the home.

Adding solar panels to a home isn't as black and white as some of the other things you can do when it comes to adding value. It's a bit of a newer upgrade and there are many factors that could impact the value added including:

  • Are the solar panels leased or owned
  • Your home type
  • Where you live in Charlotte
  • The expense of the property
  • If the panels are installed in the front or back of your home
  • The overall energy and monetary savings from the panel

These factors must all be considered when looking at any value being added to the home.

Owned Systems are Best

While many homeowners lease solar panels due to the high cost of having a solar power system installed, an owned system will add the most value. Most appraisers won't add value to your home if you don't own the solar system.

Best to Install in the Back

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Streetcar Neighborhoods: Charlotte's First Suburbs & Most Charming Neighborhoods

The late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century saw the rise of the streetcar. This new form of transportation caused a huge expansion in Charlotte as the streetcar network started to expand. New suburbs started to become popular and they became known as streetcar suburbs or streetcar neighborhoods.

Charlotte is home to several of these incredible suburbs, which were once made popular due to the streetcar. Today, the streetcar doesn't make them popular, but it's still a unique part of each of these neighborhoods.

Here's a closer look at some of the streetcar neighborhoods found throughout Charlotte.

Dilworth

The very first streetcar suburb of Charlotte, Dilworth remains as a popular place to call home today. It was built around the streetcar system in the 1890s and would have never been developed in the same way without the streetcar.

Dilworth provides a very historical area to call home. Edward Dilworth Latta developed the area and many of the homes are Bungalow style. However, you will find some Colonial Revival homes, along with a few Queen Anne homes throughout the neighborhood.

Today, Dilworth is one of the most popular places to call home for those working in Charlotte. It's a great place to start a family and provides a variety of homes to fit just about any type of buyer.

Eastover

Another neighborhood that may have never been developed without the streetcar revolution, Eastover was home to some of the wealthiest families when it was first developed. Many migrated from the business district when the streetcar was created to provide transportation from Eastover into the city.

Most of the homes found throughout Eastover are Georgian revival, but...

What to Expect When You Live Near Lake Wylie

An excellent area to call home, the Lake Wylie area provides plenty of things to do, amazing views, and so much more. If you're considering moving to this wonderful area, you should know what to expect. Here are some of the things you should know about Lake Wylie.

History

The Catawba Dam is responsible for creating the man-made lake known as Lake Wylie. It came from the Catawba Power Company when they decided to build a power plant in India Hook, SC in 1904.

The dam created Lake Catawba, which was used for hydro-electric power. However, in 1905, the Catawba Power Company was swallowed up by the Southern Power Company and the level of the dam was raised. They also build a new Catawba Hydroelectric Station, which opened in 1925. This caused Lake Catawba to go from 668 acres to 13,400 acres in size.

The Southern Power Company merged with Duke Power Company in 1927, which led to some changes. In 1960, the power station received a new name; Wylie Hydroelectric Station. This was in honor of W. Gil Wylie and the lake was renamed Lake Wylie at the same time.

Lake Wylie Location

Found in both North Carolina and South Carolina, Lake Wylie is located right on by the border. It's found near Rock Hill, Charlotte, and Fort Mill. The location isn't far from the intersection of I-77 and I-485.

Plenty of Recreation

One of the main reasons people decide to relocate to Lake Wylie is the recreation. There are plenty of options for recreation here with so many things to do. Of course, boating and fishing are two of the main options, but the lake also offers plenty of camping, swimming, kayaking, events, and so much more.

Plenty of rentals are found all throughout...

Keeping Your Home Safe When Selling

It's time to sell your home in Charlotte, but you're worried about keeping it safe while it's listed. With nobody in the home, it may become vulnerable. Even if you stay in your home, a home for sale can become a target at an open house or showing.

There are several things you can do to ensure your home remains safe and your family is protected. Here are a few tips to keep your Charlotte home safe when selling it.

1. Track Everyone Entering Your Home

When your home is up for sale, you should never let someone into it without getting their name, address, and telephone number. You want to make sure everybody that enters your home has registered with you or your real estate agent. This is a very good first step to keep your home safe when selling it.

2. Hire a Good Realtor

When you hire a good local realtor, you'll have someone on your side to help keep your home safe. They will be able to set conditions on the MLS listing, such as buyers can only see the home with another registered realtor.

Since real estate agents screen most of their buyers, you will also gain the benefit of this screening. Only those with a pre-approval letter from a lender or enough cash in the bank will be able to see your home.

3. Use Security Cameras

Even just a front door camera can be enough to prevent criminal activity when your home is up for sale. However, you can also add cameras to watch every single area of your home, if you prefer. Some of the advancements in home security cameras have made these rather inexpensive, as well.

However, you do need to make sure you're not spying on people and let Realtors know about the cameras. Make sure potential buyers also know you have cameras in the house. This will help...

A Closer Look at the History of Ballantyne

A very affluent neighborhood found in Charlotte, Ballantyne is filled with history. It covers about 2,000 acres of space found very close to the North Carolina/South Carolina border. This popular area was developed by Bissell Companies Inc. and has become one of the largest mixed-use communities in the southeast.

A Hunting Tract, Originally

Ballantyne wasn't always a residential community. It was originally a place for hunting owned by the Harris family. The Ballantyne Corporate Park was the beginning of the change and was started in 1992. This corporate park was started by Johnny Harris and Smoky Bissell.

The Ballantyne Corporate Park becomes one of the most successful master-planned communities in the country. In order for it to be developed 2,000 acres had to be rezoned, which was the largest rezoning in the history of Mecklenburg County.

Crescent Resources had also purchased about 610 acres, at about the same time. This parcel of land would later be turned into the Ballantyne Country Club, along with a residential development.

Ballantyne was established in 1995 when Smoky Bissell payed $20 million for Johnny Harris' shares in the project. Bissell named the community in honor of his great aunt. He later developed The Ballantyne Hotel, which was opened in 2001.

An Art Installation & Recognition

The intersection of Ballantyne Commons and Johnston Road provides a unique art installation commissioned by Boris Tomic, a Yugoslavian artist. It took three years to craft the 30-foot monuments found here, which represents finance, transportation, technology, and the human spirit of Charlotte.

The Ballantyne Corporate Park was named as the International Office Park of the Year in 2010 by the Building Owners and Managers Association International. Smoky...

A Closer Look At Downtown Davidson

A pedestrian-friendly spot to enjoy all kinds of fun, Downtown Davidson is the favorite destination of many. In fact, several homebuyers moving to the Charlotte area choose to live in Davidson because of the charm of the downtown area.

The northern section of Downtown Davidson is known as "restaurant row" due to the many dining options, many of which are nationally acclaimed with Kindred leading the way. In addition to dining, downtown offers plenty of shopping, art, and so much more.

Downtown Davidson Dining

Some of the best restaurants in the area are found in Downtown Davidson. If you're considering relocating to Davidson, here are a few of the dining options you'll get to enjoy.

Kindred

The very best restaurant in all of Davidson, Kindred offers the #7 rated restaurant from Bon Appetit's list in 2015. This is a family-owned restaurant with seasonal menus and a fine dining atmosphere. They use local farmers for ingredients and offer some of the finest dishes you will find in the area.

Pickled Peach

Another great dining option, the Pickled Peach is a bit more casual. They offer salads, soups, and sandwiches with plenty of options for gluten-free diners and vegetarians. The patio seating is a great choice and they also offer several excellent desserts.

Summit Coffee Company

The right choice for a cup of coffee and breakfast, the Summit Coffee Company offers plenty of great options. They provide the best coffee in Davidson and have been open since 1998. You will also find live music here a few nights a week.

Famous Toastery

This is a brunch hot spot and a great spot to enjoy plenty of great...

A Quick Home Buyer's Guide for 2019

Buying a home doesn't change dramatically from one year to the next. However, it does change a little bit. Interest rates change, the way homes are marketed evolves, and the market can certainly shift in favor of buyers or sellers from year-to-year.

With prime buying season for 2019 right around the corner, it's time to prepare yourself for the journey. Here's a quick home buyer's guide for 2019 to help get you up to speed.

You Don't Have to Put 20% Down

While homes are still expensive, you can get into a new home without as large of a down payment. If you're currently renting, you probably understand the challenge of coming up with a down payment. In fact, the down payment is the biggest challenge for more than half of renters according to the 2019 Housing Market Outlook Research Report

With supply pushing prices up, that 20% down payment keeps getting higher and higher. However, you don't have to put 20% down. In fact, you can get into a new house with just 5% to 10% down and some buyers are even getting into a home with 0% to 3% down.

Speak with your real estate agent and they will be able to recommend a lender with alternative options outside of the traditional mortgage choices. You may qualify for an FHA or VA program, which may come with a much lower down payment. There are also down payment assistance programs you may qualify for, which can make it much easier to get into a new house.

Be Financially Prepared

While the down payment is one of the top obstacles for renters looking to become buyers, if you plan to buy a house in Charlotte, you should also consider boosting your credit score first. There are...

A Guide to Home Inspections For Buyers & Sellers

Any transaction as large as a home sale needs to be dealt with cautiously. A home inspection is vital to the process and every buyer needs to get at least a general inspection. Other specialized inspections may also be necessary, depending on the property.

Whether you're the seller or the buyer, you should understand what will happen during a home inspection. Here's a look at what both sides of the deal should know about getting a home inspection done.

Home Inspection Guide for Buyers

The home buyer will be the one ordering the inspection as one of the contingencies in their offer. Rarely will a buyer purchase a home without a home inspection and it's certainly not recommended.

Choosing a home inspector may depend on your lender. They may have a list of approved inspectors you must choose from. If not, getting a reference from your real estate agent is a good idea.

You want to make sure you can go through the house with the inspector as it will give you a much better idea of what's going on. It's also a good idea to get a sample report before hiring the right inspector for you.

When the inspection is finished, you and your real estate agent will have a unique opportunity to negotiate. Depending on the repairs needed or what shows up on the inspection, you may be able to negotiate a lower price or having the issues repaired before you move in.

For the buyer, it's better to get a credit than having the repair handled by the seller. Getting a repair done takes time and it can be a hassle. Credits are easier to deal with and often benefit both parties.

Let Your Real Estate Agent Handle Negotiations

When you get a home inspection report back, let your agent handle the rest. They negotiate as a part of their job and they know how to...