Garage Expansion & Makeovers: Is It Worth It?

Welcome back to our “Is It Worth It” series! We’ve analyzed if it’s worth it to buy a house with lots of land, add a home security system, upgrade your backyard, and finish a basement. This article is covering garage expansion and/or renovation. If you’ve considered giving your garage a makeover, this is the blog for you.

Garage Expansion

What it is: Making your existing garage bigger.

A lot of older homes come with one garage stall, which is pretty inconvenient if you live with someone who also owns a car. Tiny garages sometimes feel extremely cramped and the space just ends up as another form of storage.

A garage expansion provides an add-on to your existing garage, creating more space. Expect to pay anywhere between $80 to $200 per square foot for a home addition.

Is a garage expansion worth it?

It could depend on where you live but when done right, the cost to expand your garage is worth it. Especially if you have the smallest garage in the neighborhood, your listing price will bear the brunt of an outdated, old-fashioned garage. In this instance, your home’s value will increase with a garage expansion.

Garage Makeover

What it is: Upgrading or renovating your current garage.

There are literally infinite ways that you could upgrade your garage, but here are a couple ideas:

  • Epoxy floors
  • Drywall
  • Paint 
  • Built-in storage cabinets
  • Built-in bar
  • Workout area
  • Crafting or other project-creating space
  • Painting or art studio
  • Play room

Is garage renovation worth it?

If you look up pictures of garage renovation and see what people are doing to modernize and improve an otherwise overlooked space, you’ll get your answer. Prepare to be in awe and inspired to tackle your own garage — you can absolutely see a positive ROI from a garage makeover.

Detached Garage

What it is: Building a garage that’s not connected to your home.

A detached garage has a lot of perks, primarily because it can be renovated into a rental space or ADU. But even if you don’t plan on renting it out, detached garages provide extra space — perfect for workshops or storage.

The biggest downside to a detached garage is if you live in a place with some intense weather. Walking out to your car in the middle of a snowstorm or downpour isn’t fun.

Is the cost to build an attached garage worth it?

You’ll likely receive more ROI for a detached than attached garage. If you decide to turn it into a rental, you could easily make all of the costs back and then some. That’s not even counting the fact that an ADU or rental unit will add immense value to your property.

The Final Verdict

Garage expansion, renovation, or even building a detached garage are all worth it. If you’re ready to take on the project, we wish you the best of luck! However, if you want a better garage space but don’t it’s feasible in your current home, look through our property listings to find some stellar homes and garages!

How to Sell Your House Fast

Life’s not a race, but it can sometimes feel like that when you put your house up for sale. Especially if you’re crunched for time, you need to know how to sell your house fast — plus, your house can lose value the longer it sits on the market. Get a good start out the gate by emulating some of the world’s fastest animals. On your mark, get set, GO!

Make your property visible.

Fast animal to emulate: Cheetah

Cheetahs and their iconic spots stand out on the savannah. You need your property to be just as visible with good marketing and lots of exposure.

A few strategies:

Make your home more appealing to the general public.

Fast animal to emulate: Octopus

Octopus aren’t the fastest animals in terms of distance traveled, but they are some of the fastest animals when it comes to camouflage. They can change their entire appearance in the same time it takes for you to blink your eye!

The octopus is a great inspiration if you’re trying to sell your home fast because they remind us of the importance of blending in. A super-custom home will often turn buyers away. It’s not always the worst idea to paint over that blood orange wall with a simple eggshell white, or to take down anything that others might find tacky or gaudy. 

And remember — a clean house with no visible clutter is a necessity for becoming more appealing to the general public. While you want your property to stand out like a cheetah, it can stand out in a bad way if things aren’t tidy. Try to blend in by giving off a “blank slate” feel for potential homebuyers.

Research to get the right price.

Fast animal to emulate: Dolphin

Did you know dolphins swim up to almost 40 miles per hour? They’re not just fast, they’re known as one of the smartest animals on the planet. Use their smarts as your inspiration by finding the best price for your house. 

A real estate agent will help you do this, but if selling FSBO, pull comps to see neighboring house sale prices. Take renovations and flaws into account when determining your price. If your listing price is lower than your home’s value your house will probably sell fast, but at your expense.

If you’re struggling to come up with an accurate price, sell with a time-limited event from RealtyHive. You still get to put in your final say as to whether you want to sell your house or not (and you could potentially make more money than in a traditional house sale).

Work with the right people.

Fast animal to emulate: Pronghorn

Pronghorn are not antelope (but usually are mistaken for them), but they are the fastest land animal in North America. They don’t really have predators because of their speed (they can run up to 60 miles per hour) but the other reason is because they migrate in packs.

When you’re looking for an agent or title company to sell your house fast, it’s important to find someone who can work on your timeline. Make your expectations clear from the start and look around for other options if the partners you’re looking at can’t deliver. 

What to do if you’re extremely crunched for time:

The easiest answer to sell your house fast is to take a lower offer and/or go for a cash closing. This is not ideal, but it might be necessary if time is true of the essence. Be wary of “we buy houses for cash” companies because it guarantees you’ll get ripped off.

Reference: Tips on Selling your House Fast

The other alternative is to list with RealtyHive. Our time-limited events mean your house can go quick (and sometimes you might receive offers even before the day of the auction), sometimes at a price that’s more than what you expected. Look into the benefits of selling with RH!

House Offers Keep Getting Rejected? Try These 4 Things

Like asking out your crush to the school dance, only to be turned down, no one likes facing rejection. But in the case of house offers, a rejection can impact more than your ego. 

Receiving a few rejections isn’t uncommon, especially if you’re buying in a highly desirable area. But at a certain point, if you’re only receiving rejections over a longer period of time, then it’s a good idea to take a step back. Use this guide as a way to reflect and move forward so that you can finally land your dream home.

1. Reflect on where you’re looking.

Countless cities in the US have houses that fly off the market like hotcakes. If you’re putting in house offers in highly competitive areas, it’s time to reassess your strategy. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • House or location? Is the house itself or the location more important to you? Can you sacrifice living in the city for a house that’s 45 minutes away? If so, start expanding your search area. If not, consider buying (or renting) a condo or apartment — and analyze if this is a good investment.
  • Quality or affordability? Can you afford to up your house offer? Are you comfortable with keeping your budget at the expense of going for a less desirable property?

2. Learn from every rejection.

Jenny P., a homeowner who has dealt with house offer rejections writes, “Use [the rejection] as an experience to understand what your favorite features were on the home, so you know EXACTLY what you want for when that right one does come along. With that, put your best hand on the table when the home you truly want most comes along.”

3. Detach your emotions.

Who hasn’t scoped out a house they love and imagined themselves living there? While fantasizing about wraparound porches and breakfast nooks is fun, your hopes will rise and subsequently crash with each rejection. You’ll save yourself some heartache by channeling your inner zen gnome as pictured above, which we didn’t know was a thing but are here for it.

Remember that even an accepted house offer isn’t a guarantee, especially not if you write in contingencies that end up affecting closing. Until closing, try to not get too emotionally invested or it will make the process even more challenging.

4. Try a new approach.

Feel like you’ve done all of the above and it’s not working out? Don’t despair. There are still plenty of things to try!

Write an escalation clause.

Most home buyers put in an offer with their max price. They often can end up paying more than their max price, potentially more than was necessary.

Escalation clauses leverage this by listing your initial offer, your maximum, and an incremental amount that you’ll pay up to that point. In practice, this looks like saying, “I don’t want to pay more than $300k. My offer for this house is $280k but I’ll increase my offer by $1,200, up to $300k.”

Look for overvalued properties.

Overvalued properties are properties that sit on the market for months. Do some research to find an overvalued property and put in a lower offer.

Work with a Realtor.

If you haven’t hired a Realtor at this point, it’s a good time to do so. The right agent has knowledge on writing house offers and knows of more properties to look at than what you might see in your Zillow search.

Try a time-limited event. 

The time-limited events at RealtyHive connect motivated sellers with buyers. You get to choose how you want to bid and put in an offer and the sellers might accept your offer before going to auction (like a regular house sale). Look through our listings and test your new knowledge today!

Renting vs. Flipping: Which Is Best?

Ham or turkey sandwich? Regular or DoubleStuf Oreos? Netflix or Hulu? We live in a world that’s constantly filled with choices, some easier to decide on than others (the answer is always DoubleStuf). But when it comes to the choice between renting vs. flipping a property, which is best? 

Luckily there’s not one option that’s inherently better or worse. You just need to figure out whether renting or flipping is best for you. We’re laying out five considerations to help you make your decision. 

#1 What makes sense for the area you’re buying in?

We’ll keep on saying it ‘til the cows come home: location is everything. Location is one of the foremost factors to keep in mind when deciding between renting vs. flipping. Even if you determine that you’re taking the landlord route (or vice versa), location will influence whether you take on a property in the first place.

Locations Best Suited for Renting OutLocations Best Suited for Flipping
– College towns
– Cities
– Near attractions and vacation hotspots
– Rural areas
– Suburbs, particularly single-family homes

This list is not exhaustive, and there are plenty of exceptions — the type of property also plays a big role. For example, a cabin in the middle of nowhere would likely be more successful as a flip than a long-term tenant rental. A condo near a lightrail station, not too far from a downtown area could be great for renting or flipping.

Location also influences the work on your end. Fixing up a cottage two hours away might sound like a great project, but your cash flow will stagnate, compared to if you rent (or flip) a house two blocks down. More than anything, in terms of renting vs. flipping, think about what makes the most sense in your area (and do your real estate due diligence).

#2 How much work do you want to take on?

Flipping takes a ton of work upfront. Renting out is an ongoing commitment. You can hire people to do both (renovate your property or hire a management company, respectively) but doing so will cost you.

In the span of a year, hiring a team of renovators to flip will undoubtedly cost you more than using a property management company. Many flippers take matters into their own hands to save money, but it’s a massive time investment. 

That being said, if you bought a fixer-upper and sold it within a year — even within two years — and everything went smoothly, you’d likely make way more than renting it out in the same amount of time, even without a property management company. But if you don’t have the time, skills or money to hire someone else and you lack the ability to crunch the numbers as to how to make a profit, flipping won’t lead you to the green.

#3 How much money are you willing to spend?

Does spending tens of thousands upfront or taking out an equivalent loan in order to properly renovate feel like way too huge a risk? If so, you’re better off renting out a property. Keep in mind, many soon-to-be rental properties still need renovation (but you can avoid this by picking a property with little room for improvement).

#4 How do you want to make money?

If you’d rather make a lump sum, flipping is the right move. If you like the idea of incremental income over an extended period of time, renting out is for you.

One thing to note with renting out: owning a rental property doesn’t mean you’ll have steady income every month. Buying new appliances, replacing the roof in 10 years, a lack of renters — these are all income factors that don’t affect flippers.

#5 What are your current circumstances?

There are a couple things we mean by this:

Flipping

  • Do you (and/or does someone you know) have the skills to fix up a property?
  • Do you have the time to fix up a property?
  • Are you currently able to fix up a property (ex. recovering from a recent surgery)?
  • If you answered no to any of those questions, are you able to pay an outside company and still likely turn a profit?
  • Is there a great fixer-upper you have in mind?

Renting Out

  • Do you have the time to find tenants?
  • Do you have the time to manage your property (ex. responding to minor fixes, lockouts, etc.)?
  • If you answered no to either of those, can you afford to pay a property management company?

Remember that — as is true with any investment — there’s risk in flipping and renting. Don’t make decisions based on how you’ll theoretically make bank in the future. Be realistic about what you can manage or else this investment will turn south.

Is it better to flip or rent?

That’s for you to decide! The renting vs. flipping debate has pros and cons on both ends. Regardless of your decision, RealtyHive has a number of listings that can set you on your investment property journey. Connect with motivated sellers in one of our time-limited events today!

How to Tell if a House Is Overpriced

What does this July weather and the current housing market have in common? Both are hot, hot, HOT. Tons of people are buying and houses are often going in days (or even hours). When things are at such a fast pace, you can easily get sucked into offering on just about anything. 

Fast paces can be fun, but not when you’re competing on already overpriced homes. Learn how to tell if a house is overpriced — and preferably before you put an offer in!

It has spent a long time on the market.

This tends to be the best indicator that a house is overpriced. If you’ve seen a house on the market for a year or longer, there’s a good chance you can put in a lower-than-usual offer. Granted, sellers will probably throw your offer out the window if it’s too low. Talk to a real estate agent to get more insight on the property and for guidance in making an offer.

PS: If you’re a seller in this situation, bring your property to RealtyHive! Our time-limited events mean that you keep the integrity of the list price while getting to open up the conversation with more buyers.

The numbers don’t match with similar homes in the neighborhood.

If the 3-bed, 2-bath that you’re looking at doesn’t seem all that different from the 3-bed, 2-bath down the street, but is listed as $20k+ more, this should raise some eyebrows. 

Of course, factors such as the amount of land and renovations will up the price, but do some investigating before you make an offer. The takeaway: always do your due diligence! Research other homes for sale in the area to see how the one you’re looking at stacks up.

The value doesn’t match the cost of living.

Sometimes house prices start competing with each other, this grows and continues over time, and suddenly you have house prices that are outrageous for the area. For example, a small town in the middle of nowhere where even the shabby-looking 2-bed, 1-bath houses are closer to $300k than to $200k

In these instances, it’s probably not the homeowner’s fault that their house is overpriced. All the same, it’s something to look out for. If they don’t bite on what feels like a more reasonable offer, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

3 Reasons Why an Overpriced Home Is Bad

  1. It could be a bad investment. In housing-bubble-crash style, you might have to sell for less than you originally bought it on (lose money on the house).
  2. Value affects everything. HOA fees, property taxes and closing fees are just some examples of things that will increase with an overpriced home.
  3. It doesn’t just hurt buyers. Sellers often struggle to sell homes that are overpriced. Even if someone puts an offer in on your overpriced home, the appraisal might not match. The buyer would then either have to come up with the difference or find a different lender.

Avoid Inflated Prices With RealtyHive

Our listings feature highly motivated sellers who are looking for bids, as well as have the discussions that are necessary to sell. Find better transparency with RealtyHive and avoid overpriced homes in the process!

Active Property, Contingent & Other House Selling Stage Terms

There are seasons and stages for just about everything in life, and the same is true for selling a house. Buyers have to know the difference between an active property and a contingent one, along with several other selling stages before trying to move forward. 

Without knowing the different stages of selling a house, buyers can miss out on an opportunity — or at the very least, get their hopes up. Familiarize yourself with the selling stage lingo and the listings page will quickly become your friend instead of a source of confusion.

Active Property

An active property is one that’s on the market. The sellers haven’t accepted any offers.

What it looks like: On a listings results page, an active property is every property that doesn’t have words like “pending” or “contingent” in the description.

How to proceed as a buyer: If you’re interested, put in an offer or work with a real estate agent who can help you show your commitment to the seller.

Active Property With Bump

“Active with bump” means that someone made an offer on an active property but the sellers can ditch it for a better one.

What it looks like: The MLS will state if a property is active with bump, but this property will otherwise list as “active” on platforms like Zillow or Trulia. 

How to proceed as a buyer: Working with a real estate agent is pretty much the only way to know if a property is active with bump. Only agents and those who work with agents get access to the MLS. Your agent will best know how to proceed (likely by helping you come up with a better counter-offer).

Contingent or Pending

With a contingent or pending property, the sellers have accepted an offer. If everything goes according to plan, the property is set to close with the buyers who put forth this offer.

What it looks like: A traditional listings page will clearly label a property as  “pending” or “contingent.” In some MLSs, contingent might list as “active with bump” but a local agent will have more details on whether that’s the case.

How to proceed as a buyer: Your best bet is to look elsewhere, but keep this property in mind if you’re in love with it. You never know, things could go awry and the deal could fall through.

Closed

Closed properties are sold properties.

What it looks like: As a buyer, it’s rare that you’ll see a property listed as “closed” (“sold” is more common) but in case you see it, know that it’s off the market.

How to proceed as a buyer: Keep on lookin’!

Expired

When a property is expired, it means the contract with the listing agent ran out and the sellers didn’t renew the contract (or get a new agent). 

What it looks like: The sellers might no longer want to sell, they might switch to FSBO, or they haven’t switched to a new agent yet.

How to proceed as a buyer: A real estate agent will have knowledge as to whether or not a contract expired. They’ll best know how to proceed, but if you happen to know the sellers, it could be a good idea to talk to them and see what’s going on.

If you find out the sellers are still wanting to sell, feel free to put in an offer. However, you’ll want as much knowledge as possible before proceeding too far. While an expired contract is sometimes the fault of the agent, it’s not always. Working with unruly sellers or investing into an asset with way more flaws than meets the eye will quickly turn this buying process from a dream to a nightmare.

If you’ve spotted the common theme of working with a real estate agent, good job. Agents have access and industry know-how that can greatly benefit buyers. But don’t just go for any agent — use Cashifyd first!

Cashifyd connects you with an incredible agent in your area and gives you cashback at closing. In other words, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars in closing costs, simply by choosing to connect with an agent through an app. Use Cashifyd for your next home purchase — you’ll gain invaluable insight on different selling stages and access to the MLS by doing so.

Dealing With Bad Neighbors in Real Estate

It’s amazing if you’re close with your neighbors, it’s solid if you both just do your own thing, but dealing with bad neighbors is the worst. Things get even more complicated when you’re trying to sell your house. 

At this point, it’s not just a nuisance — bad neighbors can reduce your home’s value up to 10 percent. Luckily, there are several things you can do to hopefully leverage the system (and get the best possible deal for your home).

How to Avoid Buying Next to Bad Neighbors

The best offense is a good defense. Ideally, you won’t ever have to deal with bad neighbors by doing as much research as possible.

Scope out the area.

Drive around (or park and walk around) the neighborhood where you’re hoping to buy. Ideally, try to go at a time when people are out and about — either on the weekend or after work during the weekdays. Make sure you’re not trespassing or loitering, but see if you can get a sense for the neighborhood before you decide to move forward with buying.

Buying out of the city, state or country? Use Google Maps and look up the property with the street view option.

Be extra vigilant about racism and other forms of discrimination.

This is a tough one to look out for because racism is as abhorrent as it is pervasive. As Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, and Asian folx are already well too aware, not every racist neighbor is going to fly a Confederate flag in their yard. Not every homophobic or transphobic neighbor is going to have bumper stickers that reflect their views on their car (though both situations are definitely telling).

Countless neighborhoods in the US are seemingly innocuous, then a Black family moves in and the microaggressions or outright violent behavior from white neighbors ensues. Trust your gut above all else, but here are some things that could also help:

  • Work with a real estate agent you trust. Find someone who is honest, transparent, knows the area, and ideally, has insights on what racism looks like here.
    On the flip side of this: some real estate agents are corrupt and just as racist as the hypothetical future bad neighbors. If you feel like your agent is steering you away from (or toward) certain areas or preventing you from purchasing, record all of this and report it to the HUD. This could be a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  • Try to access county census data. See if there are any instances of BIPOC families who moved in but didn’t stay for more than a few years.
  • Ask the sellers. Keep in mind, they very well might try to gloss things over for the sake of their sale, but a lot can be gleaned in how they respond.

We at RealtyHive hope that no one ever has to deal with racism or discrimination in their neighborhood, but we recognize that racism and discrimination are deeply, historically entrenched in the world of real estate.

If you do end up in a bad situation, document every incident that occurs. Try to get videos and witnesses if you can. Take it up with a lawyer and a judge will determine the level of harassment. This could result in a restraining order or even an arrest, depending on the situation.

Check yards and house exteriors.

An unkempt yard, a tree with huge limbs reaching over to the house you’re looking at, a dog that’s constantly outside and constantly barking, overflowing trash — these are all signs that could point to a bigger problem. If the house exterior has peeling paint and looks rundown, same thing.

It’s not a guarantee that there’s an issue, but homeowners usually try to stay on top of their home. You don’t have to pass on your dream house if the neighbors’ house is struggling, but it’s still good to keep in mind. Again, if other houses are in rough shape, it could ultimately affect your own home’s value.

How to Deal With Bad Neighbors When Trying to Sell

Get some scoop.

If you’re on good enough terms to talk to your neighbors, try to figure out how long they plan on staying in the area. It can be a selling point if you’re up front with potential home buyers and tell them that so-and-so are trying to move in the next year or two.

Reach out and/or find resources when appropriate.

It can be stressful to live next to neighbors who frequently get into shouting matches. While you obviously want to respect their privacy, you should also be on the lookout. Sometimes a “bad neighbor who yells a lot” is actually involved in an issue of domestic violence. If you overhear or witness something dangerous (or the potential to turn physically dangerous), call the police or non-emergency line.

Reflect on whether your neighbors are actually bad.

Are your neighbors too loud or do they just have three kids who love to play? Is it that much of a deal if some of their apples fall off their tree and into your yard (if so, kindly and respectfully talk to them about it)? Are you carrying any biases that make you view your neighbors in a more negative light than they deserve?

Some neighbors are truly bad neighbors, but sometimes the roles of who’s actually bad are reversed. Write out your grievances, reflect on if there’s anything you could do differently or if there’s a way to reconcile an issue. Be ready to hear how you could be a problem, too!

Make your house more sellable (and maybe even more “neighbor-proof”).

You’ve done everything you can but there’s no denying it: you just have bad neighbors. At this point, you can cut your losses and consider lowering your home price. Or, you can try some things that could create more perceived distance from your neighbors and increase home value.

  • Look into soundproofing materials.
  • Install blackout curtains.
  • Consider adding solar or privacy screens to your windows.
  • Invest in a higher fence.
  • Consult with a landscaper for hedges, trees or shrubs that could add more of a barrier.
  • Connect with a real estate agent — with their experience, it’s likely they’ve encountered similar situations and have good advice.

If you’re really concerned that your house isn’t going to sell, look into listing with RealtyHive. Our time-limited events connect you with motivated buyers and can get your property sold faster (and potentially at a higher price than you ask for). Learn about the benefits of selling with RH today!

Wondering Where You Should Live? Keep These Things in Mind

We all have our dream places to live. It’s pretty spectacular when you make that dream a reality. But before you sell it all to move to the country or trade in the beach for the mountains, here are some location considerations to keep in mind — before making a decision.

Living in the Mountains

What people expect: 

Gorgeous vistas, fresh mountain air, the smell of pines, nature at its finest.

What people don’t realize:

Tough weather. Some mountain towns get snow every month of the year. In Winter Park, CO, July and August are typically the only months without fresh snow. This is great if you’re a skier, not so much if you want a garden and an “average” summer.

More wildlife. Living in a remote mountain town is awesome for exposure to wildlife, but being so close to wild animals definitely has its downsides. 

In states like Montana and Northern Wyoming, it’s highly discouraged to go hiking by yourself — it’s extremely dangerous as you could encounter a bear or moose. Some homeowners can’t even take their garbage out whenever they want, solely because of bears! In a Colorado college town, a man was attacked by a mountain lion mere miles from the city.

Less access. Living remote is amazing for many people, but it’s still good to keep in mind that the lack of access will affect you in almost every way. There are fewer restaurants, often not as much variety as what you’ll find in cities, fewer stores, and depending on how far you live from town, inclement weather will all but eliminate the possibility of grabbing a bite or something from the store.

If you’re used to being able to get whatever you want, whenever you want, you’ll undoubtedly feel some frustration moving to a remote spot in the mountains. 

Altitude sickness. Difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea and vomiting are just some of the symptoms of altitude sickness. People can go their whole lives not knowing they’ll suffer from it — until they get to the mountains. If you’re hellbent on moving to the mountains, take a mini trip first to see how your body does.

Living in the City

What people expect:

Bustling nightlife, bars and restaurants galore, centers of culture and diversity, lots of things to do.

What people don’t realize:

Way more expensive. If you’ve never lived in a city, you probably won’t know how much the cost of living affects you until experiencing it firsthand. 

Living in the city is much different than vacationing in the city. Unless you’re ready to spend $12,000+ a year on your own place, be ready to live with roommates. You’re not going to eat at restaurants all the time (you’d probably be broke if you did), you’ll have to go to work — it’s a lot less glamorous than when you visit for a long weekend.

Pollution. Noise, light, and air pollution are very real. People with asthma, allergies, or other sensitivities will likely long for peace and quiet (not to mention the ability to just breathe normally).

Traffic and parking. Paying for parking is just another cost of living expense. Parking tickets are basically a rite of passage. You could feel like you live 5 miles from work but in cities like LA, proximity doesn’t mean a shorter commute.

Living in the Country

What people expect:

Peace and quiet, living out their farmhouse dreams, a simpler life.

What people don’t realize:

“Simpler” doesn’t mean easier. If you want to live out life like a country song, know this: it’s a lot more work than 3-4 minutes of catchy lyrics indicate. Owning a lot of land or a farm is a ton of work (even a hobby farm is practically a full-time job). Living away from the city or suburbs means that you have to take care of a lot more things on your own, such as plowing or even getting your own water supply.

Prepare to drive more. Everything becomes a commute. Seeing friends, getting groceries, going to work — it takes more time and requires more planning.

Wildlife, again. If your countryside abode is near tall grasses or the woods, you’re at higher risk for deer and wood ticks. You’ll have a higher chance of hitting a deer. Pets could be at risk in an area where they’re no longer towards the top of the food chain — coyotes live in every state except Hawaii.

Living Near the Water

What people expect:

Living the boat life, beautiful views, fishing abound.

What people don’t realize:

Water is unpredictable. Look up a picture of the Grand Canyon, think about how water formed that, and that should tell you all you need to know. Flooding near lakes and rivers and hurricanes near the shore greatly impact homes. There are things you can do (such as protecting lake houses from flooding with sandbags) but living close to or right on the water carries some inherent risk.

Wildlife, part three. Near lakes and rivers, this looks like gnats and mosquitos. In Florida this can look like alligators. On a California beach, good luck eating a snack when gulls are around.

Could be more touristy. Everyone loves taking a vacation near the water, which could bring lots more people near your house than you might expect. In highly touristy areas, this could drastically drive up home prices as well.

Living in the Desert

What people expect:

Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, warmer weather, lots of sun.

What people don’t realize:

Scorpions. We’re not even calling this “Wildlife Part ___” because scorpions get a category of their own. Even if you don’t live directly in the desert and live in a city like Tucson or Scottsdale in Arizona, you will likely encounter scorpions at some point. Get used to shaking out your shoes before putting them on, and do some research — some unfortunate homeowners have built or lived in a migratory scorpion path.

Summers are rough. A lot of places that get snowy, cold winters are tough to endure, but you can at least dress warmly to somewhere. In desert climates, there’s really nothing you can do other than hang in the shade by the pool when it’s 110 degrees or more. 

Water is precious. There are rules on when you can water your lawn (or if you can have a lawn). A lot of homeowners opt for xeriscaping, which might not be your jam if you’re hoping for luscious green grass.

None of this is to discourage you from moving to your dream location. In fact, we think you should look through the RealtyHive listings to see if there’s a house for sale in an area you love! The point is that no place is perfect — the last thing you’d want is to risk it all for a location where the reality doesn’t live up to expectation.

5 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know

Selling real estate is one of the most expensive financial decisions most people ever make. Due to the high monetary stakes, many people look for a real estate agent to guide them through the process, but before diving in and calling just any agent, there are some things you should be aware of. Here are 5 things real estate agents don’t want you to know. 

Agents don’t want you to know: The MLS has lost its power

One of the biggest advantages to selling a property with a real estate agent is their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Before the days of the internet, the local MLS was the only location where all for sale properties were posted and the information was only available to licensed real estate agents. While the MLS system is still used today, it has been largely democratized by large listing portals like Zillow or Realtor.com. In fact, these portals tend to have direct relationships with MLS organizations meaning that the portals get property information almost as quickly as real estate agents can. If you list your property with a real estate agent, you can request that they add your property to these portals for you however if you choose to sell on your own, listing on these portals is free. 

Agents don’t want to you know: Many properties sell themselves

The real estate industry is HOT right now. Even with the financial and societal chaos caused by COVID-19, cities across the US are reporting a sellers market with a lot of competition among buyers. Many real estate agents are hardworking professionals who will do the necessary work to properly position your property for success. They take good photos, write compelling descriptions, and do additional marketing to get your property as many offers as possible, but in this market many properties will sell quickly without that professional touch. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Not every agent offers the same service

Agents don’t all offer the same service when listing a property. Some real estate agents offer professional photography and drone images as part of their basic service. Others offer staging or guidance on how to improve the curb appeal of a property. Yet others don’t offer any of these services or require additional payment or fees to cover these charges. When looking for a real estate agent to sell your property, make sure you ask exactly what services they will provide. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Beware of dual agency

No matter if you’re buying or selling real estate, you want to work with someone who has your best interests in mind. As a buyer it may seem obvious to call the phone number on the real estate listing or sign, but that’s not always the best idea. Listing agents have what’s called fiduciary duty to the sellers meaning that even if an agent is working with both the buyer and the seller in a real estate sale, all choices they make must be for the best interest of the seller. As a seller, this might seem like a good thing. You have the “in” with the agent on the other side of a deal, but this can also work against sellers. While an ethical agent wouldn’t do this, there are cases where an agent encourages a seller to accept an offer from that agent’s buyer client — even if it might not be the highest or best offer. 

Agents don’t want you to know: You can negotiate rates

Using an agent to purchase real estate costs nothing, but sellers can expect to pay an average of 6% of the sale price of the home in commission to their real estate agent. When a property is sold, a commission is paid to the listing agent (the agent who represents the property). The listing agent then pays the agent who represented the buyer as a “thank you” of sorts for bringing a buyer to the property. As a seller, you are able to negotiate the percentage of your sale price that you are willing to pay. 

Looking for an easier way to get a discount when selling real estate? While some agents and real estate brokerages offer discounted rates for discounted service, RealtyHive has created a program that negotiates with agents on your behalf to get you a discounted rate with full service. This program is available for any property almost anywhere in the US and helps sellers save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions with absolutely no cost to them. Interested in buying? Contact RealtyHive to connect with an agent who will save you money when buying your next property!

Should You Get Your Broker License?

It’s the question that’s crossed every real estate agent’s mind at least once. Whether you’re about ready to make the jump and get your broker license or are still skeptical, we’ve weighed out the pros and cons for you. Find out if becoming a real estate broker is worth it.

Broker License Pros

You can work for yourself.

Who doesn’t want 100% of their commission? Working as an agent broker means more autonomy and not having to split your earnings, and is usually the biggest draw for agents to get their license. Not to mention, owning the listings is a pretty sweet incentive as well.

When you’re working for yourself, you can take that direction in so many different ways. You could use your license to oversee a team of agents and earn commission off their sales. You can function independently, or you could become an associate broker. Associate brokers can often leverage a higher commission and still work directly with clients.

Becoming a broker opens more career doors.

Real estate agents are pretty limited in how they can grow their career. As mentioned, becoming a broker means you can end up in a managerial or associate role. Another option is becoming a designated or principal broker, and from there you can become a broker-owner (where you own the brokerage).

Another role that’s available for brokers is property management. Property management companies are required to have a licensed broker on staff. You could work for a company or even start your own (and not have to hire a broker).

For any agent who’s feeling a bit stagnant and wants to step into a new role, getting a broker license is a solid next step. After all, you can still work with buyers and sellers, but becoming a broker takes your career into a new direction.

You could increase your salary.

Agents already know that brokers can make more money — but how much more? 

The answer varies. Unsurprisingly, states with the most expensive house prices (New York, Massachusetts, Washington, etc.) have the highest annual salaries for agents. But the median agent salary is about $49,000, according to Investopedia. By contrast, the median broker income is around $54,600.

According to ZipRecruiter, full-time real estate agents across the country make between $66,000 and $91,000 per year. Real estate brokers roughly average between $80,000 and $110,000 per year

While it’s tricky to narrow down exact earnings (especially in a commission-based system), one thing is clear. No matter where you are in the US, your broker license will almost certainly increase your salary.

Broker License Cons

It requires more work to get…

Becoming a real estate broker varies a lot by state. Here are some of the basic things you can expect to encounter:

  • Having some form of real estate agent experience
  • Taking a broker class
  • Passing your broker exam

As far as the variances go from state the state, it’s all over the map. In Massachusetts you need 40 hours of coursework and need 3 years of agent experience. In California, you don’t need actual agent experience as long as you graduated from college with a major or minor in real estate. In Texas, you need 900 hours of coursework!

Before even starting the journey to getting your broker license, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out your state’s requirements.

…and is typically more work overall.

Depending on the role you embark upon with your broker license, there’s a good chance you’ll end up taking on more work. More specifically, a lot of this work is administrative — organizing appointments, open houses, reviewing and writing contracts, building client databases, handling agent and client issues, etc.

Many real estate agents love the thrill of a sale and interacting with clients, and are quickly bored by administrative work. If you’re sincerely happy with helping people buy or sell homes, don’t feel like you have to become a broker — especially if you don’t think you’ll like the work involved.

Greater responsibility comes with greater risk.

As an agent, the brokerage you work for is legally and financially responsible for your transactions. When you become an agent broker, this responsibility transfers to you.

Certain broker roles carry more risk than others. For example, if you plan on managing a team of agents, know that they are your financial and legal responsibility — if something goes down, you could be held accountable.

Find an agent broker program that works for you.

If you decide to take on your broker license, you’ll want to align yourself with the best resources available. RealtyHive has a co-broker program that strives to provide just that. You can shorten the selling process, experience more calls to the listing agent, access better marketing and we hand potential buyers for your listings over to you for free. Learn about becoming a co-broker through RealtyHive, and best of luck with your license!