1 2 For all the things that move you. MAGAZINE For all the things that move you. When you are looking for a home in a new town or city, it can be difficult to know where to start. Your Remax agent should be your very first move. Contact your nearest Remax office and put your trust in us. Since 1973 weâ€™ve been helping families find their dream home. Visit your local Remax office today. 3 Inside This Issue 8 The Weinstein Group Tips on Choosing and Working with a Realtor 11 Property Spotlight Homes in the Las Vegas Valley 12 Top Ten Signs of a great Neighborhood 14 The 1 4 Things to Think about before Buying a House Donâ€™t let your emotions cloud your judgment 17 Moving Dos and Donâ€™ts Helpful hints for the new homeowner 4 For all the things that move you. 5 Desert Custom Publishing PUBLISHER/ CEO Joe Lotito MANAGING EDITOR Carita Strawn BUSINESS AFFAIRS Tommy Anton ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES Robert Gordon GRAPHIC DESIGNERS John Iglesia INTERN Evette Brandstadter FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CALL 702-576-0400 Desert Custom Publishing 500 N Rainbow Blvd #300, Las Vegas, NV 89107 WWW.DESERTCUSTOMPUBLISHING.COM Desert Custom Publishing, a division of Trade Consulting LLC is a custom magazine publishing company headquartered Las Vegas Nevada. 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Call 1-800-ADT-7030 7 Mary Ann Weinstein & The Weinstein Group Tips on Choosing and Working with a Realtor It’s vital to understand how to choose a Realtor. Like selecting any service professional – from an accountant to your family doctor – it’s important to do your homework before deciding on a real estate agent. Your home purchase or sale likely represents one of the most significant financial transactions of your life, and you definitely want to find the right person for you. Why the Right Realtor Matters Open or Close Upon beginning your search, you’ll find that many agents specialize in areas beyond general residential properties. You’ll find specialists in luxury homes, distressed properties, international transactions and more. Before you dive in, it’s important to determine whether you’re dealing with a specific property type and/or a certain market segment – high-end homes, retirement communities, etc. This will help you from the start. It’s equally important to find an agent who can get the job done. Although your uncle’s friend may dabble in real estate, ask yourself if he’s really the person most qualified to help you buy or sell your home. Personal referrals are great, but only if they’re based on relevant criteria. Abilities matter. And production matters. You want someone with experience, education and a proven 8 For all the things that move you. track record of successful closings. On all counts, RE/MAX is a solid place to start your search. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, and RE/MAX agents collectively hold more professional designations than agents at any other national real estate brand. You can search for a RE/MAX agent in your area – drilling down into aspects such as years of experience, production level, specialization, education and more – through the Find an Agent tool here on remax. com. Questions Every Buyer Should Ask Once you find an agent, communicate your price range from the start, along with the types of properties and neighborhoods you’d like to look at (and what you’d like to avoid). This will help your agent select properties that most closely match your preferences. If you’re a buyer, you’re looking for someone who knows the market inside and out; someone who can help you find the right house and help you make it yours. Whether you create your list of candidates through referrals, online searching or other means, you’ll want to meet at least three candidates to see if they fit your needs. Let them tell you about themselves, and find out what skills and abilities they’ll bring to the table on your behalf. Once you find an agent, communicate your price range from the start, along with the types of properties and neighborhoods you’d like to look at (and what you’d like to avoid). This will help your agent select properties that most closely match your preferences. Here are just a few questions to consider asking: 1. Can you tell me about your real estate experience? 2. How familiar are you with the area where I want to live? 3. Do you work part-time or full-time as an agent? 4. Do you have additional training or advanced real estate education? 5. What should I expect when working with you? 6. What kind of information will you provide me on the homes and neighborhoods I’ll be looking at? 7. Can you provide references from at least three buyers you’ve worked with in the past six months? 8. How will current market conditions affect my home sale? 9. What resources will you use to help me find the right home? 10. How will you communicate with me throughout the process? Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before you sign a listing contract with an agent, interview at least two or three candidates and ask the following questions: 1. Can you tell me about your real estate sales experience? 2. How do you plan to market my property? 3. Do you work part-time or full-time as an agent? 4. What is the right price for this house? And how did you arrive at that figure? 5. How long will it take to sell at this price? What are the average days on market for a house like mine? 6. How will current market conditions affect my home sale? 9 7. How much should I expect to pay in commission? 8. What kind of communication and/or updates can I expect from you? 9. Can you provide references from three sellers you’ve worked with in the past six months? 10. What happens if my house doesn’t sell in the time we contract for? How Your Realtor Gets Paid Like professionals in other sales-based industries, the Realtor pay structure is based largely on commissions derived from successful transactions. Here’s how it works: Seller’s agent (or listing agent) The sellers and their agent agree to a commission percentage, in which the agent’s payment is based on the final sale price. The amount will vary depending on the area and the agent. Buyer’s agent At the close of the transaction, the seller’s agent splits the predetermined commission with the buyer’s agent as compensation for delivering a buyer. This split is usually about half of the total commission. 10 For all the things that move you. Las Vegas , NV 89144 Property spotlight Listing Price $299,900 Listing Information 3 bd 3 ba 1,922 sqft. Las Vegas , NV 89145 Listing Information 3 bd 3 ba 2,046 sqft. Listing Price $260,000 Listing Information 4 bd 3 ba 2,773 sqft. Listing Price $285,000 Listing Information 3 bd 3 ba 2,242 sqft. Las Vegas , NV 89138 Las Vegas , NV 89143 Las Vegas , NV 89134 Listing Price $290,000 Listing Information 3 bd 3 ba 2,544 sqft. Listing Price $285,000 Las Vegas , NV 89128 Listing Price $295,000 Listing Information 4 bd 3 ba 2,492 sqft. 11 Top 10 signs of the right neighborhood for your family When you are looking for a home in a new town or city, it can be difficult to know where to find good friendly neighborhoods to live in. As you look at potential homes, take note of some of the following signs of a great neighborhood. •Children playing in the yards. This is a very simple sign to pick up on if you are paying attention. If you see children outside playing in the yards of a neighborhood, that is a good sign that it is a neighborhood where parents feel their children are safe. Happy, playful children are generally a sign of a great neighborhood to be a part of. •Green space. Are there parks or walking trails close to the neighborhood? Is there plenty of activity going on in the parks and are they well cared for? These are all signs of a neighborhood that has people who are active and enjoying life. •Well kept lawns. Neightborhood kids playing a game of hide and seek They don’t have to be perfectly landscaped and manicured but if homeowners take care of their lawns and homes, this shows a certain pride of ownership and good character. If they have respect for their own property, they are more likely to have respect for yours as well. •Activity on the sidewalks. Are there people out walking their dogs or jogging? Are there neighbors talking to each other as they pass one another in the neighborhood? These types of activities are good signs of a healthy and friendly environment. •Neighborhood watch signs. You’ve probably seen these blue and white signs in people’s windows. They are evidence that the neighbors have gotten together and agreed to keep an eye out for each other. Participation in these types of proactive programs is a very positive sign. •Neighborhood garage sales. When several households within a neighborhood get together to have a neighborhood garage sale, this is a sign of good community relationships within that neighborhood. •Good schools. Check out the ratings on the schools for the neighborhood. Do the schools have plenty of extracurricular participation? Do they have consistently high test scores from their students? Good schools are part of a good neighborhood. •Block parties. Are there annual block parties held in the neighborhood? This is another sign of a sense of community within a neighborhood. It generally means a low turnover rate within the neighborhood as well. •Low crime rate. Check on the crime statistics for the neighborhood. How many serious crimes happened there during the last year? Hopefully only one or two, if any. •Long term residents. Are there a lot of homes for sale in the neighborhood? That would not be a positive sign. A good neighborhood keeps its residents. People don’t want to leave a place where they feel comfortable and safe. 12 For all the things that move you. 13 14 Things to Think about before Buying a House Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment Wait! That house may seem like everything you’ve ever wanted, but before you make an offer, take some time to consider a few things beyond the size, style and price. When buying a home, it’s easy to let emotions get in the way of reality, or get sudden amnesia about factors that may make a difference. “Sometimes we want something so badly, we’re not willing to ask all the questions we should,” says Leslie Levine, author of “Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?” For instance, she says, you may see a basketball hoop over the garage and assume the neighborhood is great for kids. But a closer inspection may show that it’s rusted and hasn’t seen a ball in a decade, and that other yards in the neighborhood have no jungle gyms or tire swings out back. 1. Visit at various times of day The windows that let in so much light during the day may be a peeping Tom’s dream at night. That seemingly quiet residential street may be a noisy, highway-feeder street during morning or evening rush hour; or it may be near impossible to get from your quiet street across traffic and onto the feeder street in the morning. The adjacent school may seem like a nice perk if you’re buying in the summer, but during the school year, daily playground noise and extra traffic may be more than you bargained for. 2. Look through recent newspaper archives “Make sure you’re getting information on what you can’t see,” Levine suggests. Perhaps the municipal water well that feeds your neighborhood has high levels of contaminants or a proposed high-voltage power line may soon be coming through your back yard. You can also check with the city or county to see if there are any proposed projects. 3. Talk to neighbors How many people in the neighborhood own their homes? Sometimes it’s hard to tell at first if you’re choosing a neighborhood that’s primarily rental houses. 4. Ask if the neighborhood has an association “Is there a newsletter for it? How often does the neighborhood get together? Do they have a block party every year?” Levine asks. “Even if you don’t plan to attend, the fact that they’re having a gathering says they care about their community, that they want to get to know each other, that they’re willing to socialize that way. People who behave that way are building a community. They’re going to look out for your kids; they’re going to look out for your house. It’s a nice, safe way to celebrate something.” 5. Quiz the sellers What problems are they aware of that the house had in the past – even if they’ve been fixed? An ice dam five years ago may have caused water damage that has since been repaired. But it’s good to know that the house may be prone to ice dams so you can take preventive measures rather than find out the hard way. Discovering the basement flooding was solved by building up the landscaping in a particular area will prevent you from leveling the ground there in later years. 6. Get a home inspection Virtually all houses have defects, according to National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents. Some will be obvious and most will be curable. But knowing what needs fixing can help you negotiate a lower price – or at least prepare you for costs you’re soon to incur. Strongly consider getting inspections, too, 14 For all the things that move you. for lead paint, radon and wood-eating pests. 7. Get detailed records on past improvements This isn’t always possible. But if you’re told the house’s exterior was painted two years ago – and then see a receipt noting the whole project cost just $1,000 – then you’ll be forewarned that cheaper materials were used and that you may be looking at repainting sooner than you thought. 8. Don’t just assume remodeling will be a snap If you voice your ideas to the sellers, you may be able to glean valuable insights. For instance, perhaps that shower is in an odd location because, when remodeling 10 years ago, the previous owners discovered a costly structural impediment to putting a shower where it would seem more appropriate. 9. Consider the view “So many neighborhoods now have teardowns. So look at the two houses on either side of you. If this neighborhood has had some teardowns, one of those houses might be a candidate. And they may build some behemoth structure that affects your light or the way your house looks or your view,” Levine says. 10. Ask for utility bills You may adore the Cape Cod architectural style or the high ceilings and walls of glass in a modern home – but those winter heating and summer cooling bills may push your monthly payments beyond affordable. Ditto for the water bills you’ll pay to maintain a pristine landscape. 11. Pay close attention to taxes Don’t just ask what the seller’s most recent tax bill was; ask what several recent tax bills have been. In some areas, houses are re-appraised – and taxed at higher rates – frequently. That great deal and good investment may not seem quite so grand if the property taxes skyrocket year after year. Again, look at newspaper archives or talk to your Realtor about the way taxes are used in this area. In some cities, schools are substantially funded through property taxes – which means you can count on yours increasing regularly. 12. Check with city hall NAEBA recommends looking into the property’s and neighborhood’s zoning, as well as any potential easements, liens or other restrictions relating to your property. The seller should disclose these facts, but it’s better to be safe. If you’re using a buyer’s agent, he or she should be able to help you with this. 13. Reconsider the bells and whistles Are you sure you can live with a one-car garage, or a detached garage, or on-street parking? The pool may be a nice bonus, but can you afford the upkeep? 14. Explore the surrounding area If you’re not just making a cross-town move, you may not know that only three blocks away, this pretty neighborhood backs up to a dumpy commercial area or a less-than-savory part of town. If the home is near an airport, fire station, police station, hospital or railroad track, expect to hear trains, planes or ambulances throughout the day and night. Make sure you’re not too close to an agricultural area that may generate odors or kick up dust or other airborne problems. 15 16 For all the things that move you. Moving Dos and Don’ts Helpful hints for the new homeowner THE “DOs” Do start planning your move early. Allow plenty of time to sort through your belongings, to get rid of what you don’t want, and to pack. You’ll also need advance notice in order to ensure that the mover is available on the dates you want. Do choose a reliable mover. Verify their licenses and insurance; check their consumer ratings Do get written estimates from three moving companies. Have them come to your home; estimates given over the phone or the internet are not reliable. Do buy enough supplies so that you are ready to wrap and box whatever you are packing by yourself. Stock up ahead of time so you don’t run out. Do label boxes clearly so that you know what‘s in them, and what room they belong in. This will make it much easier when the movers deliver your shipment, and when you unpack. Check your mover’s inventory list against your own. Do get contact info for the mover so you can reach them during the move. Make sure they have yours as well. Things come up, and you may need to contact each other if there is a delay or if the truck arrives early. Do purchase insurance. The mover assumes some risk for the shipment, but understand the limits of the mover’s liability, and purchase adequate insurance from MoveInsure. Check out the different options at MoveInsure Coverage Options so that you are well protected. Do keep separate your “carry me” box that contains the items that you want to keep with you. It should contain your clothing and essentials that you will need during the move, as well as basics for your first days in your new home. THE “DON’Ts ” Don’t select your mover based on price alone. Very often a low quote will result in a lot of extra charges that will add up quickly. Choose a reliable mover who will get the job done satisfactorily. Don’t unintentionally withhold any information from your mover. When they come to give an estimate, don’t forget to show them everything that is going to be shipped, including the contents of the attic or the shed. Also tell them about special circumstances, like how many floors your new home has, or whether the street is too narrow for a moving truck to park on. Don’t bring everything that you own to your new home. Get measurements of your new home so you know what will fit. Get rid of items you no longer need or want before you pay to move them! Don’t forget to notify the post office and others who need to know about your move. Arrange to shut off utilities in your home, and to connect them in your new home. Don’t send valuables on the moving truck. Carry with you cash, jewelry and important documents. Make copies of all medical records, school records, financial documents and moving paperwork. Don’t ship items that are not allowable, like hazardous materials and some perishables. (Check with your moving company for details on what is not allowed.) If you are moving internationally, check your destination country’s laws for what you are allowed to bring. Don’t sign any paperwork that you don’t understand or agree with. Ask your mover to clarify anything that you question. Don’t sign anything that has lines left blank to be filled in later. Don’t disappear on your mover! Plan to be available on moving day when they are packing and loading your truck, as well as when they deliver and unload your belongings. They may have questions for you. 17 What does this awesome lake have to do with cigarettes? Not a damn thing, but that doesnâ€™t change the rich, rugged flavor of Marlboro. 18 For all the things that move you. 19 20 For all the things that move you.