Renovate or Move

A boy and his grandfather renovate a home

Renovate or Move

"Should we renovate or move?" It's a common question. This time of year can get us all thinking about if our current space fits our current needs. I’m going to guide you through some myths and best practices of the elusive “renovate or move” question, and help you nail down your next steps. 

Have you ever considered adding a room? Dreamed about changing your floor plan? Maybe think you have too much house for your season of life? No matter your current circumstances the real question you should be asking is: 

“Does this property fit my current needs?”

A renovation might fix the problem, but finding a property that already suits your needs could be more financially responsible. Truth be told, renovations can sometimes cost more (in money and sanity) than finding a new place that already has your Top 5 Needs and Wants.

On the other hand, you may want to stay exactly where you are with some updates for a variety of reasons. Your decision will affect more than just your pocketbook. It will affect your commute, relationships with neighbors, and school district selection, just to name a few, so take the time to think it through before you make a choice!

Common Myths

Renovation Myth: Sticking to the budget will keep the project cost effective.

Fact: The problems happen when you allocate $10 per square foot for tile, but fall in love with tile that's $25 per square. Oh, don’t think it can’t happen to you! Or you budget $10,000 for new kitchen appliances, but then Costco has the higher end appliances on sale, and you think, “Well, I can’t walk away from that deal, so I’ll stretch the budget just a little…”. Or your contractor opens up a wall to make a more open living space only to find the support beam is rotten, and the scope and expense of the project gets a whole lot bigger.

The fact is that a renovation that doesn’t have some unforeseen expenses and stays 100% under-budget is pretty much a unicorn. Set a budget, but plan to go over it by at least 10-15%. 

Selling Myth: I can list my house and just see what happens

Fact: Signing a listing agreement means that you have decided to sell your property. Properly marketing a listing costs anywhere from $200-$800, so being wishy-washy about your plan could cost money, plus hours of frustration and discouragement.

In the current real estate environment it is pretty much a given that a properly marketed property will get at least one reasonable, competitive offer. Once you accept an offer, it is a huge ordeal to back out if you change your mind. So unless you are certain you are ready to sign an acceptance and hand over the keys at escrow, don’t "just see what happens" to your property.

Best Practices

The choice to renovate or move is very personal. No one knows your needs better than you do, so ask yourself the hard questions.  Put pen to paper to clarify what really matters to you.

  • Write down your top 5 needs and wants of a property, in order of priority.
  • Create a detailed list of what would need to be done to make your existing place fit those top 5.
  • Speak with a professional real estate agent about your plans so you have an idea what the return on investment would be for each project. 
  • Get at least 3 bids per renovation project from licensed contractors.
  • Compare monetary and emotional expenses for selling versus renovating.

Now What?

Go back to the basics and ask yourself: “Does this house and property fit my current needs?” If the answer is no (you probably wouldn't have read this far if the answer was clear to you), then what are you doing about it? Will you renovate or move? I challenge you to honestly answer these questions, and fill out the Top 5 worksheet—because after all, you have to live here every day! And it should be servicing your needs.

Check this page out to learn more about what it takes to get your house sold.

All the best,




Learn which improvements will get you the highest return on your investment.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling Real Estate

Grumpy baby because they made mistakes when selling real estate

5 Biggest Mistakes When Selling Real Estate

Grumpy baby because they made mistakes when selling real estateSo, you are thinking about selling your house, and you want to know how to sell it quickly. Or is your home already on the market, but you’re not getting offers? I am here to help! This post will teach you about the 5 biggest mistakes when selling real estate, and how to avoid them so you can get those great offers to come in quickly.

But before you get to be a successful seller, you must think like a buyer.

Imagine your excitement when searching for a new home. You dream about a comfortable place to have your friends over for a birthday party, or you want to host the next family holiday event. You scroll through different properties online and decide to go see a few in person. 

Now ask yourself, “What differentiates these properties for me?” 

In other words, what helps a buyer filter through all of the properties they see online, and what compels them to see a listing in person? And even more importantly, why do they skip the listings they skip?

After decades of witnessing just about every listing faux pas, misstep, and bad marketing strategy out there, I’ve compiled this list of the 5 biggest mistakes when selling real estate. Read on to see what to avoid, and let’s get your property from one they browse online to one they are compelled to see in person!

Mistake #1: Waiting to market

In today’s social media world, there are plenty of ways to create intrigue before your house officially goes on the market. Make sure your property is marketed and targeted on social media platforms to the right audiences in a timely manner. Preliminary marketing and preparation are just as important as the actual marketing itself.  Don't know the difference? Ask your agent for their detailed marketing plan, including how they create momentum for your listing before it ever goes live in the MLS.

Mistake #2. Showing only by appointment

I gotta’ tell ya’ friend, the most common reasons a listing doesn't get shown is because there is a “by appointment only” requirement for the listing. 

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want to show by appointment. However, if there are only a few hours each day the house is accessible to be shown, then the likelihood of the buyer viewing and making an offer on another home goes up dramatically. 

To ease the anxiety of showings, I’ve come up with a seller’s care package that cuts down on the anxiety.  There are other options besides showing by appointment and keeping a figurative open door for people to traipse through unannounced. So understand that if you require an appointment, there are some buyers that will never take them time to see your property in real life.

Mistake #3: Posting the wrong photos

A clear, beautiful picture truly is worth a thousand words. Clear, properly composed photos are critical to communicating a property’s value to prospective buyers.

And not only do you need great photos, but you need photos of the right areas! 

Places like kitchens, living rooms, and other areas of the property that stand out should be the only photos listed. You want to encourage them to come to see more, not give it all up at first glance. Strike the right balance with online images to encourage real showings of your listing.

Mistake #4: Ignoring curb appeal

Thanks to shows like Fixer Upper, the DIY craze has inspired and empowered an entire generation to take on home renovations instead of buying brand new. What this means to existing properties is that they no longer necessarily need to take a shot in the dark and guess what a buyer would want, like new floor coverings or kitchen counter tops, in order to receive offers. If a Buyer wants to remodel anyway, they likely won’t care if the house is turn-key.

But the one thing that people will notice right away and draw them to come inside to see more is the first impression. The curb appeal! 

Add some symmetry to the front porch with plants. Consider painting your door a bold, bright color. Clear out the dead shrubs, and maybe spread some grass seed. Remember: that first impression might be all you get when selling, so make it count!

Mistake #5. Not working with a professional

Everyone knows someone who sells real estate. The threshold for entry into the field in Washington State is very low. If you’re serious about selling your property for top dollar, work with someone who has a heart to serve, and the background to cover your ASSet. If you have a friend that is a real estate agent you are considering, check out my list of the 5 questions you should ask yourself before working with a friend or family member.

Here’s the deal: if you want to sell your property for top dollar, you need to speak with someone who can reduce your anxiety, help you take calculated risks, and bring you from just another property on the market to a property that will actually sell. 

Think you’re ready to make the jump and get your home listed to sell?

Get the 7 secrets to a stress free transaction here!

All the best!




Learn what it takes to achieve your Real Estate goals & invest in your future.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Live on a Budget: 3 Lessons I’ve Learned

Hands counting cash as if evaluating if they have the funds in their budget for a purchase

3 Tips to Live on a Budget

Hands counting cash as if evaluating if they have the funds in their budget for a purchaseI want to take a minute to talk to my younger self about her spending habits. I want to tell her to ignore the curated images of social media influencers, and to stop browsing the Pinterest boards of seasonal fashion styles and home decor. To ignore that pull to keep up with trends, and to instead save her money. To stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, to take advantage of the time she has to save (compound interest anyone?!), and to live on a budget. 


I know that word can seem scary. It sounds like going without, and sometimes that is exactly what it means.  But it also means security for the future. And trust me, young Carmen, that is what you want.   

Please note: this post may contain links or referrals.  I receive no compensation for these referrals. I simply enjoy the products/businesses, and I think you will, too!

Before I dive in to some financial lessons I’ve learned that have changed my relationship with money--and got me to think very differently about living on a budget--I want to say this: there are so many resources out there to guide you on how to live on a budget.  If you don't have a budget and need guidance on how to start, I’d encourage you to check out Rachel Cruze. She has a lot of money saving hacks and very fun videos to help inspire you.  

Now, some of my own biggest financial lessons that help me live on a budget:

Floor Space is Money

Anxiety from my cluttered house hit me hard about 14 months ago.  As I looked around I realized that all this stuff used to be money! Not only had I paid for my possessions when I first purchased them, I continued to pay for them every month in floor space.  

Yep, I did the math and realized that I was literally paying in price-per-square foot each month to store all of my stuff, stuff that was causing my family anxiety and needless work. Finally, after five times (Yes. Five times.) of reading the Marie Kondo’s Joy of Tidying Up, the lessons started to sink in. 

Think about your floor space as if you were paying price per square foot, because guess what: YOU ARE! Home prices and rental rates are calculated on a price per square foot basis, so the more stuff you have, the bigger space you need, and the more you pay.

And it’s not just your living space. Have you seen all of the storage facilities going up? Even though the average home square footage has increased over the last 50 years, we have more stuff than ever before, and a lot of us are willing to pay to store it. 

There is nothing wrong with having a storage unit or having fun things, but I challenge you to rehome anything you have stored that you haven't used at least once in the last 12 months. Think about your purchases from here on out in terms of floor space.  Live with less clutter, and you’ll save money.

Calculate Purchases in Time, Not Money

We have all heard the phrase “Time is money.”  It’s a cliche but it is absolutely true. Unless you are independently wealthy and living on a trust fund, you trade your time for money. That’s what a job is--an exchange of your time for currency. 

Therefore, when you spend the money you have earned at work, you are indirectly trading your time for an item or experience.  So do the math. How many hours of your time are you trading to have this new pair of shoes? How long did you have to work last month to pay for those concert tickets? Is that new jacket really worth one full day of work?  

Set your priorities, and spend your money--and your time--only on what really matters to you. 

For everything else that really doesn’t matter to you, either pass on the purchase or, if you must have it, find ways to get it cheaper. Generic products cost an average of 30% less than brand-name products, and often have the same quality as name brands.  For instance, Kirkland Signature batteries, the generic brand at Costco, are made by Duracell! And if generic brand medicine is good enough for 90% of pharmacists and doctors, then they are good enough for me, too.

Dream Big & Save Big

A while back I had a client who lived a very modest life. Simple clothes, unassuming car. There was nothing flashy about him. 

He was also investing in real estate with cold, hard cash, and getting a huge savings because of it. 

He told me that the key to having a liquid savings account is to put money into my savings account before I pay anything or anyone else. Pay yourself first. This mindset, and modest living, helped him save big and achieve his dreams.

And you can bet that he did so with a budget.  A budget lets you turn big dreams into reality. 

What are some of your big dreams? Do you have a budget that works to help you achieve them? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

If one of your big dreams involves buying or selling a home, let’s chat!

And if you're budget game is already on point and you're ready to start the Buying process, be sure to download my Buyer's Guide below for all the information you need to know about the buying process.

All the best,




Learn what it takes to achieve your Real Estate goals & invest in your future.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

5 Winter Garden Tips to Prepare for a Beautiful Spring

Bulbs begin to erupt from the soil in a late winter garden

5 Winter Garden Tips to Prepare for a Beautiful Spring

Bulbs begin to erupt from the soil in a late winter gardenIt's not unusual for someone to ask me about my yard. If you haven't learned by now, I'll let you in on the secret: I LOVE to garden! One thing I am asked about a lot is what to do in the yard each season.  So today I'm revealing some of my tricks. Read on for my five easy tips to prepare your winter garden beds for a beautiful spring.

Oh, and don't forget to grab your copy of the downloadable checklist I've created just for you!

Please note: this post may contain links or referrals.  I receive no compensation for these referrals. I simply enjoy the products/businesses, and I think you will, too!

1. Prune

Plants like hostas, delphinium, lupine, and other slug attractors should be cut down all the way to the ground so that the slugs can't lay eggs under the leaves. You'll also want to prune back any diseased tree limbs. However, pruning perennials such as ornamental grasses, lilac, and fruit trees should typically be reserved for the spring.

A flower bed filled with late-summer growth, ready for a winter prune.

2. Prevent Weed Germination

Weeding is not nearly as fun as harvesting. Use products like Organic Preen for a natural and organic way to prevent weed seed germination. Once our garden beds are pruned back, I sprinkle a decent amount on the bare soil to prevent any crabgrass, dandelions, clover, and other common weeds from germinating. I also sprinkle a layer of it on top of newly laid mulch.

3. Mulch

A lot of bulbing plants and flowers will die back over the winter. If you want these beautiful plants to return better than when you originally planted them, cut back the dying part, and then cover them with a thin layer of leaves. Adding too much could cause rot, so I like to gather the fallen leaves from our neighborhood and tuck my plants in for the winter. This will protect them from the frost.

A flower bed that has had its pre-winter pruning and mulch to be set for a beautiful spring.

4. Fertilize

Cut your lawn for the last time until next spring, and lay some slow release fertilizer. This will feed the grass throughout the winter and make it ready to start growing strong again first thing in the spring.

5. Plant

The PNW can be tricking for planting. Bulbs are an economical way to go, and a lot of them can be planted in the fall/early winter in order for the roots to set. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and garlic are the perfect bulbs to plant right now for an early spring crop.

You can find all of these materials at your local nursery.  If you’re in the Pierce County area, check out one of my all time favorite nurseries, Watson’s in Puyallup. 

None of these tasks are difficult or expensive, and they will help you be ahead of the game and prepare you for a beautiful spring.  

Do you have any tips to add? I'd love to hear them.

Download your FREE Checklist of my easy Winter Garden Tips, and be on your way to a beautiful spring today! 

All the best!

Secrets To A Stress Free Halloween

Secrets To A Stress Free Halloween


I bet no one told you when you were a kid that becoming an adult might take the fun out of some of your favorite celebrations. Take Halloween for example. I mean, there are so many decisions! Will you celebrate the Harvest, Día de los Muertos, or keep it classic with just good ol’ Halloween? Where should you go? How old is too old for trick-or-treating? What will everyone wear? What if it rains? Being the adult in charge of costumes, candy, decorations, and what and how to celebrate--it’s all so much work! 

This is definitely not the most serious of posts but I want to let you in on a few secrets that I have used to have a stress free October 31st.


There are so many wonderful events happening on Oct 31st that just weren't around when we were kids. The mall has some great candy stations. Churches, and even many schools, offer Harvest Parties or sweets to the cuties that dress up.

As for me and my house, though, we opt to stay home and have a party. Nothing lavish: just chili in a crock pot, music, and friends around our fire table. It’s so much more fun and relaxing for us than running from event to event. There are also still kiddos in the neighborhood who want to trick-or-treat, and if no one is home to answer the door and hand out candy, what would they do?! No kiddos will leave our house with a frown.


When our kids were little, I bought all the costumes and loved having them for the kids to wear throughout the year. As we have all gotten older I’ve decided that spending money for a single-use item does not make sense anymore. Check out the sweet outfit I put together last year in the image above. Truth be told, I was wearing most of that before I added the baby and coffee mug. This will probably be my go-to from now on, making my Halloween costume prep that much easier for years.  Find things around the house to repurpose into a costume. Challenge the kids to do the same!


For real. This one isn't complicated. I used to turn to Pinterest each year to find cute and creative ways to package treats. I am sure that some of the kids really did appreciate the extra effort, but it was so much more stressful for me! I now realize that it was not the best use of my time, and I gladly head to Costco each year to buy the big bags of candy now.  Afterall, the candy is what the kids are really after, not an over-the-top presentation. Keep it simple. Just hand out the candy, and everyone will be happy.

Remember, the point of these types of events is not to cause us more stress--they are supposed to be fun ways for us to come together to celebrate.

So feel free to steal my “secrets,” and regardless of how you celebrate or what you call it, from mine to yours:

Happy HalloVestMuertos! 

Share your fun costumes ideas below.

Oh, and if you’re thinking you might want to host a party of your own next year, and need some new digs in which to do it, let’s talk.  I know how to help minimize that stress, too!

If you're wanting to know where to begin with becoming a homeowner, get my 6 steps guide and learn what it takes to achieve your Real Estate goals & invest in your future.

How To Prepare Your Property For Winter

How To Prepare Your Property For Winter


I know, I know--it’s barely October, and here I am talking about winter. But real estate is a big investment, and it’s important to maintain it properly. The fact of the matter is that some projects, like interior painting, can be fun and optional; other projects may not be very fun, but they are critical, and they can become way more expensive or difficult to complete in rainy, damp, or even snowy weather. 

The best way to stay on top of your pre-winter maintenance is first to know what actually needs to be done BEFORE the cold weather hits. Here are the most common, but important, tasks you’ll want to handle this fall, before Old Man Winter comes knocking.


We all want to stay warm and cozy in our homes during the chilly winter days, but what if your heat source gives out in the middle of a storm? What if you wait until the last minute, and all of the HVAC pros are twice as expensive and booked out for weeks?

Before the cold days are upon us, I highly suggest you get your heat source cleaned, checked, and ready to bring the warmth.  This goes for all types of systems. It doesn’t matter if you have a wood stove or a heat pump, or anything in between--for peace of mind and financial savings get it serviced before you have a problem.


If you go up into your attic or roof crawl space and look up, you will see wood.  That is the underside of the sheathing, the boards to which your roofing material is attached. If that wood has discoloration of any kind, your roof needs to be looked at by a professional. If there are moisture spots, you may need to have the roof patched. If there is anything white or black, you’ll also need to contact a mold remediation company. The more comfortable you are with your attic space, the more keen your eye will be to any changes before they become big problems.

Just like roofing, your siding--the material that covers the outside walls of a building--is generally attached to wood sheaths.  We have a lot of moisture in Washington State, so sooner or later some wood is bound to rot. Make sure any wood that is exposed to the elements is treated in some way. Some options for treatments are water-borne preservatives, oil-borne preservatives, and light organic solvent preservatives. Caulk gaps or cracks in composite or wood siding, and properly joint any metal or vinyl siding to stop moisture from seeping underneath.  Any soft or rotting wood should be treated or replaced ASAP! This is not typically something that can be done in the wetter seasons, so tending to this task as early in the fall--or even in the summer--is very important for the maintenance of your real estate investment. 

Other external wood material, such as decking, pergolas, or arbors, should also be inspected for rot or damage.  Repair and properly seal these items now to avoid bigger, more expensive repairs next spring.


Whether or not you have trees on your property, you will still want to check your gutters every fall. Debris can get stuck in your gutters and cause water damage to the underlying material. While cleaning, also check for cracks, and look at the bottom of the downspouts for any pooling water that does not quickly and easily drain away from the building; you may need to place splash blocks or diverters in problem areas.  If you attend to your gutter system once a year, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it is ready to do its job in the rainy season.


Damage caused by broken plumbing is often avoidable. Properly caring for water pipes varies a great deal, but here in the beautiful PNW pipe insulation is usually the best way to go. Securly cover your exterior faucets with a plastic or styrofoam faucet cover to keep your pipes from freezing or bursting.  Insulating interior piping, like in the garage, is also a good idea. Oh, and don’t forget that irrigation system! Be sure to drain it properly at the end of the watering season to head off leaks in the yard when the ground freezes.

Hope this was helpful,

Why I Work With Friends, And You Should Too

Why I Work With Friends, And You Should Too


Do you have a policy on working with friends and family?

I have been surprised by how many people have the policy to not mix business and pleasure. When the topic comes up, people bring up being concerned about the relationship being ruined. Maybe they had a deal go south and it ended the friendship, or their obnoxious cousin, Shelly, can’t help but pitch her new MLM, which ruins the family gatherings. Sometimes it’s as simple as not trusting that your friend or family member is an expert in their field.

All of these reasons have definitely crossed my mind over the years, and I have chosen to not work with certain friends or family members in the past. But this post is an explanation of why I continue to work with friends and family as often as possible:

There is no need to feel awkward!

You already remember each other’s names. You already know each other’s preferences, and there is no need to impress each other or feel silly asking questions. You’re just talking to your friend!

Communication is seamless.

Balancing work and personal life can be a bit of a hassle, but I love what I do, so chatting about real estate in social settings isn't an issue for me. We already know each other’s preferred form of communication, and what is reasonable for everyone involved. Sometimes people will apologize for asking real estate questions when we are just hanging out with our kids, but truly, it's not bother. It's a delight!

The custom service is ideal!

I love having friends know me well enough to notify me of something that might serve me or my family. Typically, I live real life with the people I work with, and my friends are able to educate me on services that I may need but didn’t even know were an option.

I get to celebrate with my friends when they reach milestones.

There is nothing better than helping and seeing someone I love and care for succeed.

Honestly, working with friends is my favorite. In fact, most clients that are referred to me end up becoming friends! Sometimes it’s not a great fit, and that’s okay. But after years of practice I have been able to navigate the bumps in the road and keep the relationship intact. You know that old saying, “communication is key”? It’s so true! Being able to communicate your needs clearly is so important to any professional or personal relationship.

Find out the questions I ask myself BEFORE I decide to work with a friend or family member.

Schedule your no pressure in-depth valuation today!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.

Market Update: February 2019

 Market Update: February

Hi ladies and gentlemen,

Below I'll be going into the existing supply of affordable housing, the current interest rates, and how demand is continuing to grow in our area.

Housing Supply:

“The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we expect to see a solid spring market.” Mike Fratantoni Chief Economist at MBA.

Housing Supply 19'

Interest Rates Decrease:

Due to interest rates remaining low, and inventory increasing the Chief Economist at NAR, Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at Zillow, Aaron Terrazas, and Freddie Mac all agree that the supply and demand is leading us into an increase in existing home sales. New construction home sales are expected to remain flat. Existing home prices are continuing to appreciate, but it is at lower levels than the last few years. The market is not depreciating, but the rate of appreciation is decelerating.

Feb Interest rates 19'

Low Inventory:

Our biggest challenge is the availability of supply. Low inventory coupled with sustained demand creates an opportunity for sellers to capture a higher sales price due to less competition.

Best price to sell

2019 will be a great year to capitalize on your properties equity.

Keep more money when selling your property!

Fill in the information below to find out how much your house would sell for.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a message.
Please check this field.

All the best!

Is the price right?

Are You Sure The Price Is Right?



If you’ve ever watched “The Price is Right,” you know that the only way to win is to guess the price of the item without going over. The closer you are to the right price, the better...but if you go over at all you lose everything.

In today’s shifting real estate market, where inventory is catching up with demand, properties need to be priced just right or buyers won't even entertain them. Listings will need to employ the same strategy as the game show: be the closest without going over!

Over the last six months, new construction inventory has increased,  but we still have a shortage of existing homes on the market. This is especially true in the Fife-Milton- Edgewood market. Although home values are still appreciating, the rate of appreciation is leveling out.

Homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their properties will eventually have to drop their price. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drop was caused by something wrong with the property, when in reality nothing was wrong, the price was just too high to begin with!

If you are thinking about listing your property this year, let’s get together to price it right from the start. Learn more about the process of selling your property Here.

Schedule your no pressure in-depth valuation today!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.

5 Important Questions

5 Important Questions


We have all had a friend or family member that wanted us to buy something from them. Makeup, clothes, furniture, and the list goes on. I personally love shopping local and love supporting my friends and family but what about that age old saying “don’t mix business with pleasure”?

After years of serving people, I’ve come up with a way to find out if working with someone will be a good fit, regardless of if they are a friend of family member. The first step is to visualize that person, then ask yourself…


Is this person an expert in their field?

Malcolm Gladwell discussed becoming an expert in his best-selling book, “Outliers”. He proposes that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at any given topic. That’s about 10 years. So it takes about 10 years of intentional, mindful studying and practice to finally be able to claim expert status. Look at any given field. Electrical, beautician, auto mechanic, clothing designer, ect. When considering an investment opportunity, I’m forced to ask myself “has this person done the work and put in the time to become an expert?”

Is this person trustworthy with personal information?

If someone gossips to me, then the chances are high that they are gossiping about me to someone else. Sharing stories to communicate a point can be done in a way that doesn’t violate someone’s trust. When I consider working with someone, I always take into consideration how they speak of past client relationships. I have decided that I only partner with people who are transparent and honest enough to give it to me straight, but not too boisterous or open mouthed about personal information… especially about an investment or big decision. A real estate agent should ONLY be speaking with you and their designated broker about your transactions. Period. No excuses.

Can I ask questions without being made to feel stupid?

Every profession has inside language. Heck, every FAMILY has inside language! If someone is specialized in a field, they should feel secure enough to explain it to me in a way I can understand. If they aren’t willing inform me or take the time to answer my questions, I probably don’t want to work with them. Especially if it’s a financial investment! A sure-fire sign of expert status is that they can clearly lay out the stages or process to their profession without inside language or jargon.

Can I accept constructive criticism from this person?

This goes hand in hand with being able to ask questions. If I am going to trust someone with my time and money, and they have the heart of a teach and want to help me, there are bound to be things that come up where I just don’t know what is best… typically it’s because I don’t do it full time! So if my electrician is able to explain the rationale behind a process, I’ll probably trust their experience enough and go with their opinion. This is only after I am secure that they have my best interest in mind, not their bank account.

Is this person level-headed in difficult situations?

Financial purchases can turn emotional real quick! I have found that a big portion of my job is to help keep people grounded and focus on the facts at hand. If someone folds under pressure
over small matters, it’s safe to presume they will fold under big matters too. Making sure you have a level-headed viewpoint is so important when it comes to negotiating repairs and closing terms. You need someone who can help find solutions.

If your answer was no to any of these questions, then it sounds like you probably need to have a conversation with this friend of family member. If it’s not a good fit, that is okay! Explaining to them ahead of time that you are concerned about the relationship being at risk is a totally valid. Any friend worth their weight will understand and may even have the same thoughts.

On the other hand, if you were able to say Yes about the person you were visualizing, then it is probably fine to work with them! Personally, I have found that friends and family members tend to do a BETTER job and care more about protecting me than someone that I don’t have a connection with.

Get the 7 secrets to a stress free transaction here!