Tweeterview: Real Estate Tips From Cara Ameer!

In case you missed Monday’s live Tweeterview with real estate expert Cara Ameer, we’re sharing it on the blog.

Enjoy, and feel free to Like or Tweet this post!

We are thrilled to be sharing a Tweeterview with real estate expert Cara Ameer! She has some great insights for us today.

Inspect-It First: Hi Cara, how are you doing this evening?
Cara Ameer:
 I am doing very well!

Inspect-It First: Great to hear! Let’s start with a local question: Are there any unique challenges to being a real estate agent in Florida?
Cara Ameer: Yes, there sure are! Pricing the property correctly in a declining market and contending with short sales and foreclosures.

Inspect-It First: Beachfront property is beautiful – but it can sustain weather damage. What are some safety features to ask for in a beach house?

Cara Ameer:  Hurricane shutters, wind ratings on windows & doors, and check the roof. Find out if there any back-up power sources, like a generator.

Inspect-It First: Great to know! You had a great TV spot about hidden gems on First Coast Living! Can you tell us how to find hidden gems?

Cara Ameer: Work with a trusted agent who knows these areas and has the connections to uncover properties that may not be for sale. Ask neighbors in areas where you’d like to live if they know of anyone that wants to sell, go to local hangouts…

Inspect-It First: Do you have any tips for first-time home buyers?

Cara Ameer: Get preapproved BEFORE you start your home search. Know EXACTLY what you can afford – do you have enough money saved?

Inspect-It First: That is some good advice! Can you share some negotiation tips with us?

Cara Ameer: Always anticipate and do your due diligence. Conduct as much research on the property as you can. Why are sellers selling and what is their ideal closing scenario time-frame wise? Ask lots of questions from the listing agent. Any particular concerns or challenges you need to be aware of? Obtain a copy of the seller’s disclosure. Get an idea of what the seller may owe from public records. Look at the listing history of property, how long it’s been on the market, any price reductions, recent changes to listing descriptions, and find out if things have been added or removed. Were any offers previously accepted but did not go through? Learn to read between the lines… that is the most telling, what is not said or not being done.

Inspect-It First: Good thoughts! YouTube is becoming more and more of a business tool. How do videos figure into your real estate business?

Cara Ameer: Video is becoming the new standard in real estate marketing for an agent, company, and, of course, a property and/or neighborhood. Video is a vital component of my real estate business. It helps tell the story in a way that pictures and a virtual tour can’t do. My slogan is, “Every property tells a story, what’s yours?” There are so many stories in real estate that you can tell in video – you can find an angle w/every property or seller and build a compelling video around that. The possibilities are endless.

Inspect-It First: You are obviously passionate about your video tours! We love the creativity in them.

Cara Ameer: Video is a great way to connect to others in real estate! Most people love the spotlight… especially when their property is highlighted.

Inspect-It First: How does your negotiating style set you apart from other realtors?

Cara Ameer: By always anticipating and doing as much due diligence as possible in advance of the actual negotiation. I also approach negotiating from an amicable vs. adversarial perspective. We can definitely accomplish much more by working together and brainstorming on the best way through the various challenges/concerns of all parties. I also find that providing supporting documentation and information helps the other side understand where the buyer or seller is coming from. It’s also helpful to tell the buyer’s story when presenting an offer and bring to life the names on a contract – it’s nice to understand who they are.

Inspect-It First: That is definitely a one-of-a-kind approach!

Cara Ameer: Always takes a bit more than waving a magic wand…

Inspect-It First: 🙂 Can you share a few ideas on building a home from the ground up?
Cara Ameer: The lot can be critically important – something with a view or privacy is usually highly desired. Consult with a reputable builder. Talk with homeowners in the neighborhood where you want to be and ask what their experiences were like. Go to builders’ design centers to see the type of selections they offer and what pricing is like on upgrades. Ask to talk with the builder’s project manager so you can get an idea of the construction process. Find out about what warranties come with the home. Ask to review a builder’s contract ahead of time. Work with an agent who is well-versed in new construction to guide you through the process and engage the services of an independent home inspector to have a neutral set of eyes inspecting it.

Inspect-It First: What distinguishes a good real estate agent from a poor one? Are there any red flags buyers or sellers should look for?

Cara Ameer: Someone who is dedicated to the profession full time. They realize it is a career, that it’s part of their lifestyle – not something you can just turn on and turn off as you like. There are numerous changes and developments to stay on top of. A good agent is always on their toes and ready to spring into action. When you talk with them, you can tell they are “on it” by the information they are imparting. A good agent should be highly responsive and accessible. Are you dealing with them or an assistant? If an agent isn’t using a smart phone or the latest technology, if replies to your requests are continually delayed, if they just seem “out of it”, if they are not plugged in to the market or are continually showing you things you don’t want to see without discussing why they are showing them to you, you should take note. A good agent should be diplomatic but tenacious, self-driven, and take the initiative. They hould have genuine energy for the task at hand.

Inspect-It First: Wow, that is a great list of qualities to look for! Okay, one final question for you! How much time should a first-time buyer expect to spend finding a realtor?

Cara Ameer: Hard to put a time-frame on it, but if a buyer seeks recommendations via trusted referrals from family, friends, colleagues, and particularly other first-time buyers that have just gone through or are going through the process, then probably not long! Everyone knows a multitude of agents, so ask away…

Inspect-It First: Very encouraging for those who are looking for real estate help! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and advice with us, Cara!

Cara Ameer: You’re welcome! It’s been a great experience!

Learn more about real estate from Cara Ameer on her beautiful website here. Catch some YouTube virtual tours of properties, discover First Coast Living videos, and more!

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