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REALTOR® RE/MAX 100 Springfield, VA Licensed in VA www.traister.com

Friday, November 16, 2018

For Your Protection, Get A Home Inspection

A friend who's buying a home out of state sent me a text message last week asking if getting a home inspection was, in her words, "a total racket."

I asked what was going on and she explained that her agent had recommended a home inspector, and that she didn't think it was worth doing the inspection because since the agent had recommended the inspector, the inspector had "skin in the game/incentive to make sure [the deal] goes through."

I explained to her that I always tell my buyer clients to get a home inspection, and that the inspectors I recommend are professionals I trust to protect my clients' interests. Sometimes they find nothing serious, other times they find something that sours the deal. Often, they find things that either need to be repaired before the transaction (such as faulty equipment), or that the new owners need to be aware of for the future (such as a water heater nearing the end of its useful lifespan).

Regardless of whether the deal goes through, the home inspector usually gets paid at the time the inspection is done, so there is no incentive for them to make sure the deal goes through.

The bedrock of my business is referrals from clients, so if I recommend a home inspector who doesn't do a good job, that reflects badly on me and is something my client is likely to tell others when they ask for recommendations for a REALTOR.

My duty as your agent is to protect you and your interests, not the transaction.

In your corner,

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What Will You Do When You Win Mega Millions?

I was on the phone with my friend who is a financial advisor today and the conversation inevitably turned to the Mega Millions Lottery, which is up to a $1.6 billion jackpot (just in case you've been living under a rock for the past week). He confessed that he hadn't bought a ticket yet, and I confessed that I'd bought a few. In fact, last week, while I did not win the $900 million jackpot, I did walk away with $2 — and I promptly reinvested it in another ticket.

Since I was talking to a money guy, I asked him how I should take the money when (not if) I win the jackpot tonight.

As it turns out, taking a one-time cash payout is the best way to go. Yes, you walk away with less than 50% of the full jackpot after taxes, but if you invest most of the money and get a return of more than about 1.5%, you will ultimately do better than if you take the annuity option. With some sound financial advice, you can parlay that paltry $750 million into billions.

And when you do I'll be there to help you find a sweet place to live while you watch your fortune grow.

Incidentally, my friend told me he'd give me $1 million if he wins tonight — and I'm holding him to that. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Updating a home you're planning to sell - what pays off?

I recently met with a homeowner who is planning to sell her late 1950s home within the next year. She wanted some advice about what improvements she could make to increase the resale value of her home.

This is a subject that comes up frequently with seller clients, and my advice is almost always the same: invest in things you will be able to enjoy while you're living here, and/or invest in home maintenance items you have been putting off doing.

A few years ago I had a client who had invested significant money in the interior of their home, but the HVAC was very outdated and the home had windows dating back to the 1970s. Potential buyers who came to open houses commented on the bright colors and modern look of the kitchen, but ran away when they noted that the HVAC was not keeping the home cool on a hot day, party because the air was escaping through the old windows.

Eventually the home sold — after my client invested in new windows and updated the HVAC system — and my client made that money back on the home because it sold above the asking price.

Replacing outdated HVAC, old windows, and/or an old roof are investments that will reap rewards when it's time to sell.

For this client, I suggested new windows and updating the HVAC, and she was planning a master bath remodel that she will get to enjoy until she's ready to sell the home.

For more information on renovation ideas that pay, visit: https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/which-home-improvements-pay-off

As always, if you have questions I'm here to help! I also work with a number of contractors who can help make your home renovation needs, so don't hesitate to call or email!

In your corner,

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Preparing for Hurricane Florence in Fairfax County

The Commonwealth of Virginia has posted some great infographic on preparing for hurricanes. These and other useful tips can be found at http://www.vaemergency.gov/.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters: Are You Prepared?

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Central Atlantic region and my social media filled with posts from people wondering how to prepare.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website features a page with recommendations for preparing for hurricanes. These recommendations can also be applied to other types of extreme weather events and disasters.

Here are some steps you can take to be prepared for hurricanes and other types of disasters:

Know where to go
Sheltering in place is often a good recommendation, but what if you or a family member is injured and needs medical help, or what if your home is rendered unsafe during a disaster? Where are the nearest hospitals, and where can you go if you need emergency shelter? Write down addresses and phone numbers in a safe place — you may not have access to the internet (even from your phone) in the event of an emergency.

Be prepared for power and water outages
If the power goes out, how will you feed yourself? What if the water isn't running, or has been contaminated? NOAA recommends that you keep an emergency rations kit with foods that don't require any preparation or refrigeration, and that you keep these emergency rations in a water-tight container. Make sure everyone in your household knows where this container is located. If the food is canned, make sure you include a can opener and utensils in your kit. You can also store first aid supplies in this container. Keep enough food and fresh water on hand to last 2-3 days.

A generator and/or a camp stove can be extremely helpful in a crisis. Make sure you buy it well ahead of an emergency to avoid low supplies right before a forecasted weather event, and never operate a generator or portable gas stove indoors as these devise produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death (See my blog from last year on CO). It is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned and is, according to the CDC, the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. CO results in more than 430 deaths and 50,000 emergency room visits each year in the U.S. alone (See the CDC FAQs about CO.)

Have a plan for everyone in your household
Sometimes disasters strike suddenly. Have a plan for you and everyone in your household in the event that you're not together when something happens. Plan where to meet up if communications are down, and how to communicate if power is out (charged, hand-held walkie talkies with a range of more than a mile can be useful in this situation).

For more information visit the NOAA website.

As always, if I can be of service in any way, just let me know.


Rob Traister
RE/MAX 100
Licensed in VA
(703) 935-6891

Friday, August 31, 2018

1471 Davis Mil Rd., Lancaster, VA 22503

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/SWCRD7/1471-DAVIS-MILL-ROAD-LANCASTER-VA-1000069885
Exceptional investment in historic Northern Neck. 15 minutes from crabbing & fishing. Was operated as an assisted living facility until 2001, now serves as a retreat. 16 bedrooms, 8 full baths, in-ground pool, tennis court, dock, detached single family residence with detached garage and workshop, and Chapel on site. Great opportunity. Adjoining properties also for sale -- up to 190 acres!
Bedrooms: 16
Bathrooms: 8
Price: $1,200,000

For more information about this property, please contact Robert Traister at 703-642-3380 ext. 4721 or rob.traister@gmail.com. You can also text 4182709 to 67299.

See more listings at: www.traister.com

MLS ID: 1000069885

https://www.facebook.com/RobTraisterRemax100/ https://twitter.com/robtraister http://https:://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJYV3Vzpb57DXoL7ONZawaw

554 Catron Ridge Rd., Bentonville, VA 22610

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/SEFCV3/554-CATRON-RIDGE-RD-BENTONVILLE-VA-1001907176
PRIVATE COUNTRY RETREAT! 3 bed/3 bath house on 6.3 acres overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Beautiful hardwood floors throughout, ceramic tile in all baths, spacious kitchen, walk-out basement, huge deck, covered sitting porch. Basement could be converted to in-law suite/guest apartment. 2nd small house on property could be renovated for office space/guest house. Sep. workshop w/elec. AC and heat.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Price: $289,000

For more information about this property, please contact Rob Traister at 703-642-3380 ext. 4721 or rob.traister@gmail.com. You can also text 5094900 to 67299 (Message and Data Rates May Apply, see terms and privacy policy).

See more listings at: www.traister.com

MLS ID: 1001907176

https://www.facebook.com/RobTraisterRemax100/ https://twitter.com/robtraister https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJYV3Vzpb57DXoL7ONZawaw

Friday, March 9, 2018

How that $3,000 discount broker "rebate" can cost you more than $5,000

I had coffee with a new client the other day. He's looking for a house in Fairfax and told me he had pretty much decided to go with a discount broker, but one of his friends told him he should talk to me before he made up his mind.

When we sat down the first thing he said was "How much of a rebate will you give me if I go with you?" When I told him I don't give rebates he said that was all he needed to know, and that he was going to use the discount broker.

I asked him how much of a rebate the discount broker offered him and he said it would be around $3,000, which is what they advertise on their site.

"That's a lot of money," I said. "And do you know how much that rebate is going to cost you?"

He looked at me like I was speaking another language. "It's not going to cost me anything -- they're giving money to me!"

That's when I "dropped some truth" on him about buyer rebates -- they cost the buyer money.

Here's how the buyer rebate from this particular broker works: The company gives the buyer a percentage of the commission they receive from the seller, and according their site they typically pay buyers as much as $3,000.

Whoo hoo! Free money, right?

Not even close.

The commission, while paid by the seller, comes out of the purchase price of the house. So when you buy a house, the seller gets that amount minus the commissions and other closing costs. If the buyer is financing the purchase, that "rebate" is money the buyer already borrowed, and he has to pay that money back to the lender with interest.

At today's mortgage rates, a $3,000 "rebate" could cost the buyer more than $5,000 over the life of a 30-year loan.

Then I explained my approach. Using all the tools at my disposal, I negotiate the best deal for my clients to get them the lowest price.

Using those skills, I work to save my clients as much or more than they will end up paying for a discount broker "rebate." 

Let's talk about how much money you can save by working with me. Call or email today.