man playing chess strategy

In It to Win It: How to Have a More Competitive Home Offer

Buying a home can be a thrilling experience. Sometimes that thrill is exciting like the first day of school, other times it’s more like being trapped on a runaway roller coaster. If the real estate market in your area is hyper-competitive, it can feel as though the coaster has left the tracts.
 
There are a couple of ways to regain your bearings and save your sanity. One of the best first steps is to hire a real estate agent. As a buyer, you typically won’t pay anything for using the services of a licensed agent and they’ve got the experience to help you rise to the top of a competitive offer pile.
 
Put your best foot forward
No one wants to overpay for anything, but if competition is stiff, there’s no time for low ball offers. When deciding on an appropriate offer, talk with your real estate agent or do your research. If similar properties in your area are selling quickly at or above the list price, you know you’ll need to add a little extra to your offer to sweeten the deal. When making this determination, keep in mind how much you want the property. If it’s your dream home, you may want to add on more than if it’s just a place to rest your head for a few years.
 
Eliminate the Contingencies
In a buyers market, contingencies are the norm. Whether you’re wanting to only proceed with buying a home after your sell your current one or you’re wanting a way out of your purchase agreement in the event your mortgage financing falls through, adding contingencies into your offer provides these options. In a very hot and competitive sellers market, these contingencies can push your offer to the bottom of the stack, if not exclude you altogether. Depending on your financial situation, goals, and other circumstances, you can beat out a lot of the competition by eliminating contingencies from your offer.
 
Write a Letter
In situations of high competition, when all other factors are equal, the choice of who gets to purchase a property often comes down to the seller. How does the seller make this choice? It can often come down to the human factor. As a species, we tend to prefer to do business with those that we know or relate to. While you may or may not have met the seller personally, it is more likely that you or your agent have had some contact with them or their agent. Use this connection to send a letter to the sellers telling a bit about yourself and explaining why you like the property. A compelling letter can often help (if only subconsciously) sway the sellers’ decision.
 
The Almighty Power of Cash
Nothing talks like money talks and a buyer who can show up to the table with cash in hand has a lot to say! Not only does having a cash offer mean that you don’t have to wait on a lender for approval or documents, it also tends to mean you can put down a larger down payment or earnest money which signifies to the seller that you are a truly serious buyer.
 
Looking for more insight before starting your home search? Check out this blog to learn what you need to know before you start your home search.

smartphone app users

Free Apps to Up Your Agent Game

We all know that time is money, but for real estate agents, especially those who are just starting out, money is also money, which is why finding free tools to increase your productivity and expand your personal brand are so important. Here are some of the best free apps for real estate agents.
 
Google Maps
Not all map apps are created equal and Google Maps far outshines the competitors. Android users have Google Maps as the default navigation option, but for iPhone users, this is one app you need to download. While Apple products come loaded with their proprietary map and navigation app, the functionality and accuracy pales in comparison to the much more powerful and helpful Google version.
Best Uses: Online or offline navigation to where you need to go… wherever that may be.
 
WhatsApp
If your client base is located in other countries (or if you want to be set up to expand to other countries), you’ll want to check out WhatsApp. This free app, while still growing in the United States, is immensely popular worldwide. WhatsApp allows for communication across the world without any expensive data charges. Capabilities include sending pictures, texts, files, and making phone calls all done over the internet so there’s no data charges. Simply download the app, connect via wifi, and voilà, you’re ready to accept clients from anywhere!
Best Uses: Communicating with clients in or from different countries.
 
Canva
Many agents look to increase the exposure of their listings by posting them on social media, but just posting a photo is pretty old-school. Enter Canva. This program helps even the design-inept to quickly and easily create beautiful designs with a simple drag-and-drop editor. With tons of pre-designed templates you can create anything from Facebook and Instagram posts to property fliers to business cards.
Best Uses: Creating visually appealing, brand-consistent marketing material.
 
Repost
Real estate is an industry of connections and one of the best ways to connect with others on social media is to share their content. While Facebook makes it easy with the “share” button, Instagram is a little trickier. Repost is an app that specifically works with Instagram to allow users to share content on Instagram while retaining the credit to the original creator.
Best Uses: Sharing high quality content without having to create it yourself.
 
Cozi
While agents enjoy flexibility in their schedules, they also tend to have schedules that vary from day to day. Whether you’re working on paperwork in the office or have a full day of showings booked, staying organized is key, especially important when trying to create a work-life balance. This is where Cozi comes in. Cozi is perfect for busy agents trying to coordinate schedules with spouses, children, and business partners. Cozi creates one main calendar that can be shared and all users have their own color so you can tell who is doing what. This app works flawlessly on all device types and the calendar is only one feature — Cozi can also house shopping lists, to-do lists, and more.
Best Uses: Organizing and coordinating your personal and professional life.
 
Have a favorite free app we should know about? Let us know in the comments!

st patty party

Best St. Patrick’s Events in the Midwest

Looking for plans this St. Patrick’s day? Well thank that four leaf clover cause you’re in luck! Here we have compiled some of the biggest and most popular St. Patrick’s day events in the Midwest. From family parades to night time bar crawls, we’ve found it all, so there is no excuse to not have a blast this St. Patrick’s day.

Green River, Chicago, Illinois
 


 
 
Get Lucky Marathon, Chicago Illinois
 


 
 
St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl, Chicago Illinois
 


 
 
Shamrock Shuffle, Chicago Illinois
 


 
 
Indianapolis, Indiana
 


 
 
Irish 5k Trot, Ireland Indiana
 


 
 
St. Patty’s Day Parade, Muskegon, Michigan
 


 
 
Irish On Ionia, Grand Rapids Michigan
 

 
 

Parade & Celebration, Saint Paul, Minnesota
 

 
 
LuckyPalooza, Saint Paul, Minnesota
 


 
 
St patricks weekend at FINNEGANS, Minneapolis Minnesota
 


 
 
Irish Fest, Milwaukee Wisconsin
 


 
 

St. Patricks day Parade, Milwaukee Wisconsin
 


 

two girls with st pattys day bows

Try Your Luck at These St.Patrick’s Day Crafts

Get in the spirit of the St. Patricks season by decorating your home with these fun, homemade crafts!


 
 

  Decorate your garden with these handmade gnomes!


 
 
Wreaths aren’t only for Christmas! Try different styles to make your home ready for St. Patrick’s Day


 
 
Whether you’re just arriving home, or hosting guests for a get-together, it’s always nice to have a sign in the spirit of the Spring season, welcoming people home


 
  Wanna take your luck with you wherever you go? You can attach a four-leaf clover on a chain, its lucky, and stylish!


 
 


 
 


 
 


 
 
Dress up your couch by adding fun, clover-themed throw pillows


 
 

Hang up a sign inside or out, to get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day!


 
 
Try creating your own decorations, by painting different Irish-themed designs


 
  Show your St. Patricks spirit at night! Hang up these springtime outdoor lights!


 
 
Deck the halls with St. Patricks colors! Perfect for decorating the house for a party!


 
 


 
 
Brighten up your home with this clover-themed glasswork

happy couple on beach

14 Picture Perfect Places to Spend Valentine’s Day

Thinking of getting away this Valentine’s Day? Check out some of the most beautiful and romantic spots on the planet!

Montego Bay, Jamaica
 


 
 
Iceland
 


 
 
Maldives
 


 
 
Tulum, Mexico
 


 
 
Mátala, Greece
 

 
 
Colonia Del Sacramento, Colonia, Uruguay
 


 
 
Pig Beach – Big Major Cay, Exuma, Bahamas
 


 
 
Lake Zakrzówek, Krakow, Poland
 

 
 
 
The Pyramids of Giza, egypt
 


 
 
Kings Canyon National Park, California
 


 
 
Rome, Italy
 


 
 
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
 


 
 
Glaciar ojo del Albino, Argentina
 


 
 
Paris ,France