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10 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Home

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Home

Buying a home can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. It’s quite the adventure! We recently purchased our second home and I found a few tips very helpful while searching for the perfect home for my family.

1. Figure out what your ‘perfect home’ looks like. Write down on a piece of paper all of the things you must have in your new home, things that would be nice to have and things that don’t really matter.

2. Purchase a home that stays in budget. Make sure to get pre-approved for a loan before going out to look at houses. It will make the buying process much easier and you will know which houses to look at.

3. Bigger isn’t always better. While we all dream of having a huge mansion, it’s good to think about what will be best for your family. Figure out how many rooms you need to fit your family comfortably and look in that range.

4. Think about remodeling. Many homes you will look at may not be in the best condition, but think about the potential of the house. Would painting and new wood floors turn it into your dream house? How about a kitchen or bathroom remodel? There are many easy fix-ups such as adding new light fixtures and painting that can turn your house into the perfect home.

5. Location is important. Check the surrounding area of the home. Drive around the 2 mile radius to see what is around your home. Make sure it is in an area you feel comfortable with. Find out what school district you’ll be in. Even if you don’t have kids, you may want to think about the school district you live in for resale. You may also want to take the commute to your work and see how long it will take you.

6. Do your research. Research property values in the area. Stalk your neighborhood and find out what it’s like at all times of the day. Is it a family friendly neighborhood? You could even knock on the neighbors’ doors before buying.

7. Do a home inspection. The home inspector will look at everything in a home and give you a non-biased opinion. They will also tell you the true value of the home you are looking at. It’s better to spend a couple hundred dollars doing a home inspection than finding out the house had several problems.

8. Picture your family living in the house. When you walk into the home, can you picture your family living there? Does it have a good feeling? Picture your family living in each room and see you how feel.

9. Leave room to grow. Make sure your ‘perfect home’ has extra storage and gives you room to grow.

10. Don’t put your expectations to high. Realize that most houses aren’t perfect to begin with. Even if you are building your dream home, there are always things that could have been different. Be flexible. Once you move in and add your own style it will soon become your dream home. has thousands of Homes for Sale.  Please search our site for listings seen no where else on the web.  Thank you for reading our Blog and if you Love Real Estate…LIKE InfoTube for Real Estate on Facebook.  We post really cool things every day.

6 Reasons 2013 is a Home Sellers Market

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

Prices for existing homes rose another 7.7% in the month of December.  For our customers who have been patiently waiting for the market to favor sellers, instead of buyers…the tables have finally turned. 

Why is the housing inventory so low in 2013?

The Wall Street Journal writes a good article on this, pointing to six reasons:

1. Many homeowners are underwater, and thus can’t sell.
2. Homeowners with equity in their home don’t have enough of it to “trade up” to buy a bigger and more expensive  home.
3. Everyone wants to buy at the bottom, but few want to sell when they feel their home will be worth more next year.
4. Investors – from mom and pop and corporate investors have come out and become landlords, taking property that normally would be on the market into the rental realm.
5. With the foreclosure fiasco, banks have been slower at foreclosing homes.
6. There’s been a lot less construction of new homes by home builders.

What does this mean for home sellers?

1.   Advertising your property on the MLS and has never been more crucial to reach qualified home buyers.  Realtors and homebuyers are searching for new listings, daily, because there is nothing on the market that fits their needs.  If your home does not appear in these real estate search engines, chances are that no one will ever know your home is for sale and you will miss your window of opportunity.

2.   Holding an Open House on the weekend is a great way to get people who see your listing online  into your home for an actual showing.

3.  Place a FREE listing on  InfoTube is visited by thousands of people daily who are looking for “by owner” property.

4.  The homes that are flying off the market are the properties in the best condition, location and they are priced right, ready to sell.  Homebuyers will not look at a house that is overpriced, hoping to negotiate back and forth.  They are buying homes that are reasonable to purchase and are ready to move into.

5.  Keep your InfoTubes and InfoBoxes full of flyers.  We receive calls from buyers everyday who want more information, but the container is empty.  Be sure to keep a back stock of brochures on hand in time of high traffic.

Home sellers should act quickly to take advantage of the present market conditions because they will not last.   Home inventory levels will increase as home builders react and start more new homes.  Banks will quickly work there way through millions of foreclosures that are still sitting in limbo.    And, home buyers are snapping up houses right now to lock in low interest rates and low home prices.   If you want to sell your home for the most money, in the least amount of time, you should act aggressively.  Time is of the essence.

Thank you for visiting   Post a free property listing on our website.  Search for thousands of homes for sale seen no where else.  Buy an InfoTube or InfoBox to market your property..nothing beats providing a brochure about your home, instantly to a prospective buyer.   Put your property information in front of millions of internet home shoppers and real estate agents with our low cost MLS and listing packages.   Whatever you need to sell your home….we have you covered since 1988.

4 Tips to Become a Successful Landlord

Monday, September 24, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   Owning a piece or real estate with the objective of earning regular cash flow is probably the best known and most common form of real estate investing.   The rental property is the way a lot of people in the “middle class” have found a real opportunity to make a fortune, if they know what they need to be successful.

Thousands of distressed and vacant properties, historical low interest rates and rapidly increasing rental rates have converged and created a great opportunity.  If you are considering becoming a landlord, focus on 4 basic fundamentals to insure profits and success.

1.  Paying Tenants-  This may sound obvious, but the first fundamental you need to be a successful landlord is a good quality tenant who can pay the rent.

One of the biggest challenges for a landlord is keeping good paying tenants and avoiding vacancies.  If a property is vacant, it usually results in the loss of at least one month’s rent while the place is being freshened up and a new tenant is found.   We highly recommend that all prospective tenants be screened, including a background and criminal record check.   Landlord screening services are available to assist you or your property manager.

One of the best way to keep your rental occupied at all times is to invest in a location that attracts a lot of renters.  Neighborhoods near colleges and universities are filled with students who rent while they attend school…and for the most part, parents insure the rent will be paid.   Homes near education facilities are also in high demand and landlords can usually charge a rent premium for these properties.  Any area with a lot of employment opportunities will also have very good rental demand.  In many markets, larger, 4 or more bedroom homes are scarce.   Find a niche in your market that provides a stream of ready tenants. 

2.  Keep Expenses Low – Contolling costs are one of the basic fundamentals of successful real estate investing.  Some costs of property ownership are known, such as taxes and insurance…but, others are often beyond an investors ability to control. 

Property taxes and insurance are expenses that are determined by third parties.  Combined, they can easily cost at least one months rent each, or more.  On average, budget about one months rent to cover your insurance premium.  Property taxes are another matter and they can vary greatly.  High property taxes helped trigger the housing collapse in Florida, when landlords couldn’t earn any cash flow on rental property.  When searching for an investment property, make sure you verify the taxes because tax rates can easily cost as much as two or three monts rent.

3. Property Maintenance – Keeping your property in good working condition is a big part of managing a successful investment.  Again, screening tenants is key in keeping costs down.  A good tenant will certainly have normal wear and tear and your property, but they won’t do much damage.  However, a bad tenant can cause thousands of dollars in property repairs in a very short period of time.

As far as controlling expenses  is concerned…it is cheaper in the long run to address maintenance issues as they arise.   For example, a roof leak can cost a few hundred dollars to fix, but the price can quickly escalate to thousands of dollars and lost tenants, if ignored.   Although no one likes to pay maintenance expenses, being a slum lord is a costly proposition.  Deferred maintenance brings down the value of the entire property, increases ownership costs in the long term, decreases the amount of monthly rental income that can be charged and atracts renters with less than stellar references or ability to pay.

4.  Reduce Mortgage Costs – Refinance and lock in historical low interest rates.  Current quotes for investor loans for residential property are under 4%.  If you can reduce the amount of interest you pay for your money, it immediately increases your bottom line.  It is also a good idea to appeal tax assessments.  Contact your local taxing authority to see the procedure required.  Most people who go to the tax office armed with recent comps and educate themselves, can get some tax relief.

If renting is so great..why does your landlord own? For all the challenges of owning investment real estate, earning income while owning an asset that someone else pays for is still one of the best ways to create wealth.   If you get really good at it, you can make a good money, decrease the amount of taxes you pay and increase your networth multi-fold.   Lucky you.  Timing has never been better.

Thank you for visiting  Visit our site to search for homes, place a free listing, purchase an MLS or listing or buy marketing tools to assist you with sales or rentals.  Like InfoTube on Facebook for up to the minute news, marketing tips, design and staging idea’s.  You will LOVE it!      

New Rules for Comparable Sales and Apprasial Info

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

The real estate meltdown has changed many things about the way we think about real estate and property values.  

Recently, we watched 3 home sales close in the same neighborhood.  Typically, the price per square foot and price range for all 3 homes would be similar…given that the ranch style homes were of similar age, size and were located in the same small neighoborhood.    What we learned today was that the 3 homes sold in a range from $200,000-$400,000…or from $100-$200 a square foot.  

The vast difference in the prices tells us a story about why comps (or comparable sales data) is not the indicator of true value that is has been in the past.   Today, we have essentially 3 housing markets, thus 3 price ranges in every neighborhood. 

    First, we have the bank owned home that sold for $200,000.   This is the home that no one cares about.  The lawn is 2 foot tall…the air conditioner has been pilfered through for copper and spare parts, the appliances have been stolen and the home has been abandoned.     This property was purchased by a rehab company, who will put a lot of money into its restoration, then resell it for a profit, at an estimated $400,000.

   Second, is the home that sold for $300,000, but, far short of the loan balance owed against it.  This house was always lived in and had never been vandalized, but all maintenance had been deferred and no updating had taken place in years.  The seller knew they were losing the home and had no money available to properly maintain the residence.    This home was sold to a young couple who didn’t mind doing some cosmetic work in order to save money. 

The third home located right around the corner from the other two closed for $400,000.  This home was meticulously maintained.  The interior and exterior had been upgraded with high end finishes and colors.   The home was move in ready.     The only thing this move up buyer had to do was unpack their personal belongings and enjoy themselves. 

As these 3 properties illustrate, we have 3 different real estate markets developing across the USA.    Typically, homes in the same neighborhood were very similiar to one another, so sales data was easy to compare.  Today, there may be 3 distinct markets in every neighborhood, so beaware that price ranges can vary greatly.  

If you are attempting to value property today, you must look at the category your home is in…ranging from bank owned/abandoned to high end/move in condition to determine the average price per square foot in your neighborhood.   Eventually, all this upheavel will work itself out… and houses in a neighborhood will once again be more similiar than different…but until then, make sure that you compare apples to apples when buying or selling

Thank you for visiting  Visit our website to place a FREE home listing, view great deals on all types of property, place an MLS listing or feature your property on

Rising Rents Push Homebuyers Into the Market

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

Sharply rising rents are pushing buyers into the real estate market this spring. 

Rising Rents Push Fence Sitting Homebuyers

Take a minute to watch this short video from the Wall Street Journal.   From now on…fence sitting will cost you!!

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Home Buyers Move Back to Basics

Thursday, February 23, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

                                                    Home Sellers take note:

When it comes down to chosing a home, buyers are going back to the basics.  Today’s buyers consider new or updated kitchens and bathrooms, and a flexible, open floor plan as the most important features they are looking for in a home.

A recent survey of hundreds of real estate agents reveal what features appeal to the broadest cross sections of buyers in the marketplace.

  • 33% of those surveyed said that a new or updated kitchen is the most important feature they are looking for.
  • 14% of purchasers said that an open floorplan is a must have. 
  • 12% are looking for homes with new or updated bathrooms.
  • Only 1% of buyers feel that entertainment rooms or finished basements are important home features.

Thank you for visiting  When you advertise, photograph and show your home, don’t forget to emphasize the “hot buttons” area’s that buyers are telling you they are looking for.

Cut Real Estate Fee’s and Foreclosures

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Cut foreclosures by slicing real estate fees

Al Lewis

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

President Obama has often said that it would be a shame to waste this economic crisis. Nowhere is that more true than in residential real estate. Federal home-buyer tax credits up to $8,000 designed to increase home sales and reduce foreclosures are having little impact. Sales of existing homes fell a record 17 percent in December, while foreclosure petitions are rising. Instead, let’s use this crisis to try a new approach: permanently slashing the 6 percent real estate brokerage commissions prevalent in most markets.

Unlike commissions paid for buying cars, stocks or insurance, these hidden commissions include two payouts – about 3 percent each to the seller’s broker and the buyer’s broker. But there’s no need for two brokers in real estate transactions. These hidden fees survive only because real estate brokerage is a cartel. Forty years ago, you needed one broker to buy a house – today you need two. In law and medicine, fee splitting is illegal. In real estate, it is required.

Most people would not hire commissioned brokers if they had to pay for them directly – that’s why the brokerage industry wants them hidden. So let’s eliminate hidden fees for the buyer’s broker. We could then drop the homeowner tax credit, since the buyer is saving three grand, and replace it with a $1,000 incentive credit. This cash bonus would go only to home buyers whose purchase prices include a total commission of 3 percent or less (or none at all).

The selling brokers will naturally complain: “We can’t afford to split a 3 percent commission with the buyer’s broker. That’s how much we need to make ourselves. So buyers will have to make their own arrangements if they want assistance.”

And that is exactly the point: Instead of allowing the 3 percent commission to be hidden in the sales price, this tax incentive would encourage home buyers to pay openly for whatever level of assistance they want, if any. Given those other options and the chance to collect $1,000, few buyers would opt to pay a 3 percent out-of-pocket commission – about $15,000 on a median-priced Bay Area home. Faced with the prospect of paying that bill explicitly, most Internet-savvy buyers would probably opt for personal advice just a few times during the home-buying process, and pay by the hour or by the showing.

Even with only $1,000 of tax credit, these buyers will be better off financially than first-time buyers who collect a hefty home buyer credit, but who still pay hidden commissions. And taxpayers are better off, too. Any buyer could still opt to pay the traditional commission at closing – but would have to forgo the incentive credit.

This temporary incentive credit could permanently alter the structure of real estate brokerage, because there would be no going back once the credit expires. As happened when stock commissions were allowed to decline, much lower transaction costs would create more transactions and hence more liquidity. Liquid markets will allow people to sell houses more easily before they go “underwater,” thus reducing foreclosures.

Of course the real estate brokerage industry, which has strongly endorsed home buyer tax credits, will oppose this incentive credit. Fortunately, an equally powerful coalition of builders, bankers, mortgage brokers and consumer advocates will be lined up supporting it.

Much lower transaction costs would not just reduce foreclosures by facilitating transactions, but would also increase people’s net equity in their existing homes. Homeowners would be better off and, at least in real estate, this economic crisis would not be wasted.

Al Lewis is author of “OOBonomics: 12 ‘Outside Of the box’ Ideas to Improve the Economy.”

This article appeared on page A – 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Bullish Signs for Housing Sales

Friday, May 29, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Although all the news about real estate, housing and lending isn’t particularily bullish, there are some compelling new motivations for buying now.   Rising interest rates, Inventory Decreases and the $8000 tax credit which expires December 1.

  1. Interest rates are soaring, as the dollar falls.  Economists predict that the low rates we saw only a month ago, aren’t likely to return anytime soon.   In April, 30 year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.5 percent.  Last week, rates hit 4.98 percent.  And, this week, is quoting 30 year fixed rates for prime borrowers at just over 5 percent.  Note: An increase of only 1/2 percent in interest rates raises the mortgage payment for a $170,000 loan by $52/month, $624/year or $18,720/over the life of the loan.
  2. The deadline for qualifying for an $8000 tax credit is rapidly approaching.   Although, the December 1st deadline may seem a long way off, in real estate terms it really isn’t.  A lot of people are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see if prices will drop another 1 or 2 percent over the next 6 months.   Lenders are already warning us that when all those buyers rush into the market in August or September, the backlog in loan applications will mean a wait of 60-90 days to close an average loan.  Note:  Given that the average buyer in this market looks at over 30 homes, over a 3 month period, buyers who don’t want to miss the boat on their $8000 gift, should get serious now.

For those buyer’s hoping to time the market perfectly, we think their ship may be sailing by.    Home inventories are dropping, prices are stabilizing, interest rate increases erase potential gains made by a further fall in prices and $8 grand is on the line, if the December 1 closing deadline can’t be met.   Serious buyer’s should jump on board now, before they find out that the ship has sailed and they missed the boat!!

Thank you for visiting homes for sale or rent website.  Sellers can place a free property listing, download legal forms, print brochures and more.   Buyer’s can search for great deals on property from the privacy of their own homes and benefit from dealing directly with the owner or builder.  Check advantage of FREE today!!!

Finally, the house is under contract.  The inspections are done.  Repairs have been negotiated.  Everyone is ready to move…then, the buyer’s appraisal comes in below the agreed upon sales price. 

Don’t Panic.  It’s Not the End of the World.  Read this helpful article about how to keep the deal alive.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.   Place a Free Property Listing or Search our database for great deals found no where else on the web.

Home Buyer Gives Good Advice to Home Seller’s

Thursday, February 12, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

So, my husband and I are now in the market for a house! It’s very cool, because it’s definitely a buyers’ market, as it was when we sold. Being on the other side of the equation gives me a whole new perspective, of course, and I’ve been trying to look critically at the houses that we have been seeing so I can pass on my observations to you all, as you are staging and selling your houses. I know that you have lost a bit of leverage, since there are so many houses on the market right now, but there are still things that you can do to help your house stand out. And frankly, I’ve been a little amazed at how some of the sellers whose houses we’ve seen haven’t done those things.

First and foremost, and this may sound like a little thing (but it’s not): Keep your infotubes full! I cannot stress this enough. When we are driving around and see a house that’s for sale, we immediately stop to look for “words.” If the InfoTube is empty, our immediate reaction, fair or not, is “They don’t really want to sell this house.” A neglected InfoTube could be just an oversight, or it could be a sign of greater neglect. Either way, we don’t even consider those houses. So, if you are still in the house you are selling, for goodness sake, keep that InfoTube full! And if you’re not in the house, make sure that your agent keeps the tube full. It makes a difference. Remember, I am now your potential buyer, and you’ve already lost me!

Depersonalize, please! I consider myself to be a fairly sophisticated buyer–one who is able to look beyond the stage at the bones of the space, but many potential buyers just see what they see. They see the pictures, not the walls behind them. They see the carpet, not the floor underneath. Make sure that what these buyers are seeing is the most tastefully generic stage you can possibly set. We went into a lovely home last weekend–2300sf, soaring ceilings, lovely staircase, immaculately kept. It truly was a lovely home. We didn’t like the layout; it wouldn’t work for us, so we passed. But the people who live there and are trying to sell have written off a large portion of their potential market. There were family photos all around the house and a lot of art–everywhere–that was very personal to them, because it was all religious art. Whether the art was Christian, Islamic, Hindu or Zoroastrian, it makes no difference. Many people will walk into that house and walk back out because they can’t see beyond the stage. I’m not saying you have to be Peter and deny your religion, but you do have to be sensitive to the fact that not all buyers will believe the same things you believe, and many might actually be put off.

As we continue our search, I will continue to bring reports of what I’m seeing out there. I hope that this new phase in our lives will help to focus your resolve as sellers as you get your house sold!

For more information, or to order a copy of I CAN Sell This House: Secrets to Selling Quickly in a Buyers’ Market.

A BIG thank you to Jennifer taking the time to talk straight with home seller’s as she continues her search for a home.   If you are looking for a home, please check out the home listings on  Seller’s can post property listings for FREE on the site, so the inventory is fresh and constantly changing.

Buying a Foreclosure is Pure Torture

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

If you think that banks or lenders are like desperate seller’s, who are willing to do anything in order to find a buyer for their home, think again.

Picture Your Serious Offer Here.  Banks are completely under staffed in their REO and loss mitigation departments.  Buyer’s and their agent’s report a wait of up to four weeks or more, before a file is assigned to a negotiator, who may or may not, open the file and start to process the offer.  

My Way or the Highway.  In addition to understaffing problems, lenders adhere to a strict checklist of requirements.  If one item is overlooked or missing from their checklist, the file is routinely placed back on the bottom of the pile, where it can take weeks to resurface again. 

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You.  Lenders are famous for being non-responsive to offers, even if they are at full asking price.  As a practice, banks hold offers and wait for better ones to come in, before responding.  If you find yourself in a “multiple offer” game, be extremely patient.  With a little luck, you may hold the winning bid, as other buyer’s drop out due to anger and a lack of patience.

Real Sellers Take Solice.  While these cash ready buyers are pulling out their hair in frustration, both buyer and agent are powerless in communicating with or motivating the lending giants.  If you are selling a property, you can easily give yourself a huge advantage by responding to offers in a timely manner, extending courtesy to prospective buyers, and by providing access to and information about your home when ask.   

Get Ready, Get Set, Stop.  Buyers seeking a foreclosure need to accept that both they and their agent’s are in powerless positions.  Anyone who attempts to play the distressed property game, needs to accept that their efforts to buy a home will be futile, unless they have all the time in the world and the patience of Job. 

Thank you for visiting, a free homes for sale website.  Check out our home listings, seen no where else.  Find great deals, minus the insults and hassels.

What Help Can a Real Estate Attorney Provide?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow









Real estate contracts are legally binding, and often, complex documents.  Whether you are selling by owner, with an agent, or are preparing to sign a contract to purchase, hiring a lawyer can prevent disputes or surprises later on.

What will an Attorney Charge?

  1. The typical fee for reviewing a real estate contract is $250.00 for an average residential sale.  
  2. Attorney’s can also perform a title search, procure title insurance and close the sale, for as little as $500, or as much as $1500, if the sale is more complicated.

What Legal Services Should Be Included?

  1. An attorney will review the contact and terms to ensure that they are clear, legal and enforceable.
  2. They will explain all technical terms and may suggest improvements, if necessary.
  3. An attorney will look for clauses that are problematic and will make suggestions to correct the situation, before a problem occurs.
  4. A lawyer will outline the rights and responsiblities of all parties to the contract.
  5. They will explain who pays for what, and what will happen if something goes wrong.
  6. In most states, your attorney can hold escrow monies and disburse funds at closing.

Tip:  Whether buying or selling, you should have a lawyer review any legally binding documents BEFORE you sign them.   If you find yourself in a situation where you must sign a contract before you consult an attorney, write the following phrase into the special provision section.  Have all parties initial the change, then, see a lawyer as soon as possible.

“Contract is subject to approval by buyer’s/seller’s attorney.”

In conclusion, a lawyer can be an invaluable asset when buying or selling a home.  Their expertise can go a long way to ensure a legal, smooth sales transaction.   

Thank you for visiting  Please let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

Show Off Your Home on the Homepage

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow
InfoTube homes for sale

InfoTube homes for sale showcases Featured Home Video Tours on its Homepage. 

The user submitted Video Tours rotate on the home page in random order, with a new video appearing upon each visit.   Video’s are also uploaded to YouTube, one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the web, automatically.

“Thousands of visitors begin their search on the InfoTube home page,” said Tommi Crow, President, “this is an ideal time for home sellers to showcase their property in a high traffic location.”  Because the service is new, only a few video’s are in the space right now.   “The timing couldn’t be better for seller’s to enhance their listing with video, and spotlight it on our home page” said Crow.

Video is the future of real estate marketing, so grab your digital camera and show us what you Love about your house.  You have nothing to lose and a lot of additional exposure to gain.

Thank you visiting and good luck on the sale of your home.