Real estate is quickly becoming one of the most desired professions around the country. There is a major process involved when it comes to being a realtor. Making the decision to become an agent can end up becoming one of the most rewarding experiences. Nothing compares to the feeling of helping people find the home they will make many memories in. Once you have decided that real estate is your calling, follow these steps to obtain a real estate license in the state of Washington.
The state of Washington requires anyone seeking a real estate license to complete 90 hours of education. This education is broken down into two parts. The first part is 60-hour course regarding the Fundamentals of Real Estate. Across the country, realtors must complete this portion of the course. The second part of the course, which is only applicable in certain states teaches Real Estate Practices. Fortunately, you are able to complete these courses online. Organizations such as, Kaplan Education offer online programs for those seeking their license. Once you have completed all of the necessary educational course you can continue onto the exam portion.
Washington has a specific provider that proctors the exam. The Broker’s exam can be taken with Applied Measurements Professionals Inc (AMP). The school where you completed your education can pass along your proof of completion to the testing organization. Once AMP has received your credentials you are then able to apply to take the exam. You can apply for the exam online, via phone, or mail. There are various testing sites around the state. Find the one closest to you by visiting AMP’s website.
- License and Background Check
Once you have successfully passed the exam you are then able to apply for your real estate license! During your exam, you are given a fingerprinting card. With this card, you must go to one of the designated centers and get your fingerprints done. Upon receiving your clearances, you can submit your application for your license. Finally, upon receiving your license, you are allowed to start your exciting new career!
Once upon a time, showing your house off to buyers just meant cleaning it. But now, “staging” has become a part of the sales process. Staging means decorating your home to appeal to potential homebuyers—a process that can mean anything from repainting the walls, to buying new furniture or updating old appliances.
Staging is about more than making your home look good—it has to look like what potential homebuyers are interested in. And today, more than 30% of those homebuyers are millennials—people born between 1980 and 2000. So how do home sellers appeal to this new generation? Here are some ideas:
Make it Photogenic
If you want to appeal to millennials, make sure your home has a good online presence. Take clear, attractive photos and make sure all the details about your home are posted on the web. What they find online may very well determine whether millennial homebuyers even want to visit.
Keep it Clean and Simple
Obviously your home should not be dirty when you show it off. But more than that, eliminate clutter. Millennials like homes to look spare and simple, with lots of space for entertaining. Many millennials—and certainly those looking into buying a home—have full-time jobs coupled with busy social lives, so they will want a place that looks easy to maintain and keep clean. Hide knick-knacks, and anything that might make your house look dated: doilies, quilts, lots of fancy china, or heavy or frilly curtains.
Millennials are concerned about the environment; so don’t be surprised if you are asked about your home’s sustainability. Projects such as insulating your home or installing more efficient appliances can help draw in young homebuyers worried about their footprints.
Fashion a Home Office
Creating a home office doesn’t have to be a major project. If you have a guest room or catch-all space in your house, clean it out and stick a desk and chair inside. Many millennials work from home, at least part-time, and want a designated space to work from.
Even if you don’t have the budget to make major renovations, just painting walls can make a huge impact. Wallpaper, especially patterned wallpaper, can make a home seem old-fashioned and cramped. Full-wall mirrors from the 80s are arguably worse. Painting your walls is a good way to modernize. Use light, muted colors to make everything seem modern, spacious, and well-lit.
Think About Location
Are you in walkable distance from a grocery store, coffee shop, or library? If you answered yes, or if you can think of any other choice destinations in reasonable walking distance, make sure to advertise it! You can’t change your location, but it would be a mistake not to promote it.
What’s Wrong With Being a Fixer-Upper?
If your house is a fixer-upper, and fixing it yourself is out of your budget, be honest about it! Many millennials are looking for a move-in ready house, but others would be happy to get a deal and a challenge.
Know Your Home
Potential homebuyers will be looking carefully at your home. Make sure you aren’t caught by surprise. Get your home inspected. Find out how much potential repairs will cost. Even if you don’t plan to make those repairs, it will keep you from being blindsided by the costs, and you will be ready to negotiate with homebuyers who are pushing for deductions.
Get information accessible and organized. Have all your papers: everything from insurance to paint colors. Know if your house has suffered any losses, and have records of any repairs. You don’t want to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of negotiating with a homebuyer who knows your house better than you do.
Think About Curb Appeal
If a buyer drives past your house, what will they think? Will they see an attractive facade or a well-maintained garden? Or will their eye be drawn to an ugly tree, a lopsided mailbox, or a badly-paved driveway? Your house’s outward appearance is the first thing that homeowners will see, and that first impression can make a huge difference. If you have the money to hire a landscaper or other specialist, do it. But if not, many of the changes you can make are simply a matter of getting outside, rolling up your sleeves, and taking care of them. Weed the garden, rake the yard, and prune the trees.
Don’t just vacuum. Repaint the walls. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. Move the furniture. Pull out the stove and scrub the floor beneath. Clean under the fridge. Dust the blinds. Clean places you’ve never cleaned before. Be ready to get messy: dirt can really build up when left unattended.
Stow Your Stuff
Not only does a cluttered home look messy, it also looks small. Remove at least 30 percent of your belongings from sight. The brunt of your focus should be on countertops, the pantry, and the master bedroom closets, which should be as empty as possible.
Empty shelves and a clear floor scream: Look, there’s so much room, we don’t have enough stuff to fill it all. So hide everything you can afford not to have in the attic or crawlspace, stow it away in a friend’s house, or even rent out a storage facility. And take down any especially eclectic decorations: Homebuyers do not want to see your ceramic chicken collection; they want to see your home.
Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Pets
If someone is coming to visit your house, send your kids off to a friend’s or relative’s, and have them take the cat with them. Children and animals are notoriously messy, and you don’t want your guests wondering about how you got the all dog hair out of the carpet (hint: you didn’t) or how you can guarantee that there’s not a hole in the wall somewhere stuffed with legos (hint: you can’t). Besides, kids and pets are also notoriously distracting, and you want your visitors to focus on your home.
There is no doubt that having a successful real estate photo shoot for a new apartment or home you are trying to sell can be a really tricky situation. Too often photos are dark, from a strange angle, or simply fails to capture the beauty or attractiveness of the home in general.
With newer, more centralized real estate platforms such as Trulia and Zillow becoming increasingly common for agents across the country, better images are now the norm for home buyers in the digital world. Below are some ways to maximize appeal for any company on the market.
- Make the beds with linens that complement the colors of the room and overall interior.
- Clean the house: get the carpet shampooed, vacuum and mop all hardwood floors to make everything as clean as possible/visually appealing to any homebuyer’s eye.
- Don’t forget to clean the bathrooms!
- Make sure there is maximum natural and in house lighting before anyone comes to view the house or apartment.
- Remove all traces of personalized paraphernalia throughout the home so visitors can envision it as their own.
- Take the time to put away all cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
- Double check the house to see if everything has been put away in an orderly fashion.
The trickier part is definitely getting in touch and figuring out which real estate photographer is the best fit for you. Do bear in mind that photography fees vary according to experience, location and how large the property is. Connecting and meeting with various photographers is the best way to discern which professional you’d like to work with.
After the photos are taken, Chris Palmer the president of PhotoUp takes pride in the editing work his team is crafting. He has recently told the Huffington Post that “We’re the only ones out there doing this transparently, and real estate happens to be our niche. We have a team in the Philippines that work in a Google-like office. It’s a very creative environment. We find great ways to impact the photographers and the communities in which we work.”
Regardless of your profession, if you enjoy working for yourself and want to achieve the American dream of homeownership, use the following tips to when applying for a mortgage:Clean up your Finances
Banks that offer mortgages to self employed consumers will highly scrutinize business financials. This means that your personal and business accounts must be separate and that you’ll need to minimize the amount of deductions you take over the course of 12 months prior to your application.
Make sure you’ve kept good financial records that are ready to be presented to the mortgage broker.
Apply for an Alternative Loan
Standard mortgages are often hard to come by for the self employed millennial, which is why some banks are offering alternative financing.
Similar to the “no doc” loans of a decade ago, alternative loans use different income verification methods for the self employed. This process involves examining 12 months worth of bank statements against the profit and loss statements for the same time period. A cash flow analysis is created to determine suitability for obtaining a mortgage.
The Basics that You’ll Need
Like any other buyer, self employed individuals will need to provide specific requirements to the bank during the mortgage approval process. Those can include:
- Bank statements - Both personal and business, bank statements will show that you have the necessary funds to pay the down payment and initial monthly payment.
- Profit and Loss statement - A profit and loss statement is essential to creating an analysis for mortgage approval.
- Proof of business formation - If your business is formed as an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to provide proof as well.
- Solid credit history - In most cases, self employed consumers will need a credit score of at least 680 to qualify for a mortgage.
- Sizable down payment - Banks often consider self employed people more of a risk for mortgage lending and they’ll require a down payment of around 20 percent.
While obtaining a mortgage as a self employed millennial is difficult, it isn’t impossible. The right amount of research combined with careful planning and record keeping will help make the process much easier.
In the last year or so, Seattle has become a tight seller’s market with a low inventory and a common occurrence of multiple offers per house for sale. Many buyers have described it as an all-out war trying to buy the house they want. Owners who waited out the housing recession are more than willing to engage in a bidding war in an attempt to get the highest offer.
The following are some good real estate tips for both buyers and sellers in the Seattle market. These real estate tips can also be applied to many of the surrounding real estate markets like Tukwila, Renton, Sea-Tac, Burien and more.
1.Decide what you can compromise on. Of the three big factors: condition, location and size, which one isn’t as important as the other two? In most cases, you’ll need to compromise on one of them.
2.Understand what you can actually afford in this market. Because the real estate market is so tough in these areas, agents and sellers look at every detail of competing offers, and larger down payments often win out as many houses are unlikely to appraise at the price being offered.
3.Be patient and don’t give up too soon. Losing the house you thought was perfect can be a crushing disappointment at the time, but it’s important to keep looking. During the time you’re looking, you can also save extra cash for a bigger down payment.
4.Find out what the seller wants. Knowing what constitutes the perfect offer to a seller can be half the battle. In a seller’s market, the buyer cannot make too many demands on an offer and expect to win the house if there are multiples. In some cases, it’s simply the highest, in others, the most cash, and sometimes they just want a quick closing.
1.Price your house competitively. Most properties in this market are getting multiple offers, but if you price your house too high to start, you may not get the right bites.
2. Be clear about what you want and where you won’t compromise. If you need a quick closing or the ability to rent the house for two months from the buyer, make sure to have this communicated so you can get an offer that meets your conditions.
Listings dropped by 10 percent in Seattle’s market in 2016, but demand remained high and is expected to increase in 2017.