Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate – Debbie Shelton

Should I Have an Open House?

If you’ve recently listed your home with an agent, you may be wondering if having an open house will help sell your home faster. Reality real estate shows are forever following couples as they tour open houses in hopes of finding their dream home. In truth, you should rely on your Realtor® to help determine whether or not an open house is right for you.


Once you and your Realtor® entered into an agreement, he or she began putting their marketing and advertising wheels into motion. Trust that they have a tried-and-true method of putting your home in front of the right buyer. That’s not to say that hosting an open house isn’t on the list, but your agent certainly knows if and when an open house will best serve your interests.


Also, keep in mind that hosting an open house isn’t as easy and running a vacuum across the floor and setting out some bottled water. Your home needs to be staged: free of clutter, pets, and personal belongings that may deter the common buyer. Adding to the fact that you need to be offsite might make scheduling an open house more difficult to plan than you thought.


Bottom line: ask your Realtor® what their plans are for marketing your home. An experienced agent will be able to answer your question on the spot and give you peace of mind that your home is in the right hands.

What is Escrow?

If you’re new to the home-buying process, you may not know what “escrow” is. Escrow refers to something of value (such as an earnest money check or deed) that is being held by an impartial third party. It is used as a measure of protection for both the buyer and the seller to ensure that all monies are delivered as expected and intended.

If a mortgage lender is speaking of escrow, they are referring to the funds needed to cover your homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Your mortgage lender wants to ensure that these items are paid monthly, and collects this money as part of your mortgage payment and disperses it to the appropriate parties.

Always ask your real estate agent if you’re unclear about the processes of buying or selling your home. Staying informed will ensure a smoother real estate transaction between all parties involved.

Ask These Questions Before You Hire a Real Estate Agent

Some decisions do not require an abundant amount of research. Where should we go for dinner? Which movies are playing? Does the dog need a bath? The answers lie within common sense or a quick Google search at best. Having a laissez-faire approach to everyday occurrences is suitable, but when it comes to hiring a real estate agent, you’ll need to put in a little more time and effort.

To get you started, here are three questions to ask a real estate agent before you hire them:

“How Long Have You Lived Here?”

If you notice that your real estate agent has to update the GPS with every stop, you may want to look elsewhere. A long-time resident REALTOR will know the area better than an agent who just moved in.

For example, let’s say that you want to live in the country, but you want to have a marina nearby so that you can dock your boat. A real estate agent who knows the area will be able to identify the best location for you quickly and only show you listings that best fit your criteria.

“Which Types of Homes Do You Specialize In?”

If you’re selling a lakefront condo and you’re interviewing a real estate agent who specializes in small homes for first-time homebuyers, then you may want to keep looking. An agent who has experience in representing the type of home that you are selling is going to have a stronger network of potential buyers and a tried-and-true strategy of marketing your listing.

Which brings us to our last question.

“How Will You Market My Listing?”

The real estate market is incredibly competitive, so understanding how your agent is planning on positioning your listing is important. What has been the most effective marketing strategy they’ve used so far? Do they market outside of the area? If the agent you’re interviewing has no real strategy, continue searching.

I would love the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss buying or selling your Smith Mountain Lake home. Contact me directly to set up a consultation.