So You Want To Be A Realtor?

You’ve heard a lot about the super flexible schedule, the perks of being your own boss, and the potential to make as much money as you want. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, there are many things you need to think about before jumping headfirst into the world of real estate.

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#1. Flexible Schedule

In real estate, flexible schedule means making yourself available 24/7. To be successful, it may mean working every weekend, and late into the night. It means always putting your client first, even if you’re on vacation. Yes, you get to make the schedule, but it can be a crazy full schedule.

 

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#2. Being Your Own Boss

It is so nice being your own boss. It’s such freedom! It also means that you get the stress of hitting your sales goals, and not knowing if you’re going to get a paycheck. You really have to think big when choosing a career in real estate. It’s a business, and you’re the boss. You’re the independent contractor, so it will be up to you to handle the the taxes, and expenses. It may be wise to hire an accountant, because your expenses, education, etc. are all tax deductible, and the accountant will be able to help you take advantage of those right away.

 

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#3. Finding A Broker

Before you can become active, you must find a broker to associate with. You can choose a national company, or a local one. It’s up to you. I personally chose Carpenter Realtors, located in Indiana, because of the endless tools they offer to their broker associates. The best thing to do is to interview multiple brokers to see which one is the best fit for you. Remember, they WANT YOU, so don’t be nervous about meeting them.

 

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#4.  The First Few Years

If you want to be a successful agent, you might have to struggle for the first few years. As any new business venture, it takes time, effort, and consistency to get it off the ground. Your business will work mostly on the referrals and reputation that you built up in your first few years. If you maintain that effort, your business will bloom.

 

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#5. Marketing

Worth of mouth will be your best and most effective marketing approach. The more connections you have, the bigger your business will be! You must grow your business, become knowledgeable, and maintain a great reputation to get your best clients. Hard work does pay off! People. This business is 99% working with people. If you don’t like working with people, then this business isn’t for you. Even if you love people, there will still be an adjustment. This was challenging for me. I love real estate, but am also a major introvert. Finding the courage to talk/approach to people was and is my biggest obstacle.

 

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“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

Walmart Farmhouse Decor Under $25

#1. Better Homes and Gardens Small Galvanized Bin

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These bins are only $7 at Wal-Mart, and are perfect for organizing those small items around the house! 🙂

 

#2. Farmhouse Chic Tin Plaque with Glass Bottle Wall Decor

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Change the look as often as you want by choosing different flowers!

 

#3. Farmhouse Chic Tin Tray with Three Glass Jars Wall Decor

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Another great option if you like to change up the look!

 

#4. Winston Porter We Gather Together Rustic Farmhouse Wall Decor

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Perfect for kitchen decor!

 

#5. Better Homes and Gardens Medium Wire Basket with Chalkboard

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A favorite! I love keeping things organized and labeled, so the chalk board is a win!

 

#6. Chapter Lined Chicken Wire Bathroom Storage Tray

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Perfect size for bathroom countertops!

 

#7. Elegant Expressions by Hosley Metal Pails With Chalkboard, Set of 6

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Set of 6 pails for only $10.30!

 

#8. Chapter Lined Chicken Wire Bathroom Storage Basket

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Fits perfectly on any shelf! We use ours as a snack holder on our kitchen counter!

 

#9. Small Vintage Wall Basket

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The perfect size for a small bathroom space, or under the kitchen cabinets!

 

#10. Mix The Media Wooden Framed Chicken Wire with 6 Clothespin Clips

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Perfect command center addition! 🙂

 

 

The best thing about country living!

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Best Things to Buy at Goodwill

It’s amazing how many things you can find at thrift stores. Add in a little imagination and patience and the possibilities are endless! Here are my top favorite things to get at Goodwill!

#1. Unique dishes

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It’s hard to find complete matching sets, so I like to mix and match themed dishes!

 

#2. Rustic decor

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There are always tons of baskets, wooden trays, and boxes to  choose from!

 

#3. Books

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Books! You can never have too many!

 

#4. Coffee mugs

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For some reason, these types of cups make coffee even better!

 

#5. Faux plants

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The floral section is a hit or miss, but they usually have a good selection!

 

#6. End tables

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A little paint and new hardware can go a long way!

 

#7. Picture frames

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Always TONS to choose from!

 

#8. Throw pillows

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Buy a pillow for $2, and then go to Hobby Lobby for a great decorative cover selection! You can get a brand new look/pillow for under $6!

 

#9. Little decor items

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Knick Knacks-always plenty to choose from. 🙂 

 

#10. Lamps and shades

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This is another hit or miss item. Sometimes you’ll find the lamp, but no shade, and vise versa.

 

 

 

 

Creating A Kid-friendly Home

A few tips to create a safe and well decorated home for the whole family!

 

#1. Choose furniture that does double duty. Storage trunks, side tables with drawers, dressers as changing tables (we loved that one), etc.

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#2. When looking for furniture, look for something that is heavier and chunky. Littles have a way of knocking things over, and having something strong and stable will prevent that from happening.

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#3. Use stain repellant fabrics. Think leather couches and stain repellent drapes. You never know when your littles will wipe their face on the curtains, or make an accidental spill on the sofa. 😉

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#4. Choose safe accessories and décor. Littles LOVE to reach and play with all things shiny and tiny. Choosing to decorate with pillows, books, and blankets are always a good idea!

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#5. Keep your rugs and your babies happy by using easy to clean and forgiving rugs. Stay away from viscose and silks and opt for quilted hides, Persian rugs (because of their dark and busy patterns), and natural fiber rugs as they are all very easy to clean and or hide a spot in.

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…and just like that, we have both a nicely decorated and kid-friendly home! 🙂

 

 

Decorating with ALDI

I love shopping at ALDI’s. The prices are unbeatable, the selection is good, and I love the different specialty items they have. One thing that I’ve slowly become aware of is their large selection of home goods. I didn’t realize that they had so much to choose from! Below are my favorite $15 and under finds!

#1. Memory Foam Bath Mat

 

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Only $9.99, and super comfy to stand on. 🙂

 

 

#2. Easy Organizer

 

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Only $8.99, and can be used for anything!

 

 

#3. Wire Bath Stand

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Ours has held up great! Only $12.99

 

 

#4. Sunflower Plants

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I just got a whole bunch of these-one of my favorite plants! 🙂 Only $2.99!

 

 

#5. Easy Home Showerhead

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Multifunctional and works great!! Only $7.99

 

 

 

All of the items are currently available in-store! Check them out! 🙂

Benefits of Having a Rain Garden

Rain gardens are a smart and proven way of using beautiful landscaping to: clean our waterways, protect our precious natural habitats, improve homes and neighborhoods, reduce flooding and save millions of dollars in pollution clean-up and massive utility construction projects. The benefits of these gardens are endless!

A rain garden will:

  • Filter runoff pollution
  • Recharge local groundwater
  • Conserve water
  • Improve water quality
  • Protect rivers and streams
  • Remove standing water in your yard
  • Reduce mosquito breeding
  • Increase beneficial insects that eliminate pest insects
  • Reduce potential of home flooding
  • Survive drought seasons
  • Reduce garden maintenance
  • Enhance sidewalk appeal
  • Increase garden enjoyment

 

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Simple and effective!
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If you live in a state that gets a lot of rain, a small pond is the way to go! I love this design.
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This is a great option for multiple runoffs. 
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Who doesn’t want their own waterfall!? 🙂
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Another simple, yet great touch to this yard! 

 

Do you have a rain garden? I can’t wait to get started on mine! 🙂

10 Things To Buy At Five Below!

Decorating is one of my favorite things about house flips. With that being said, it can also be overwhelming when you’re on a budget, and short on time. Which, is why DIY, dollar stores, thrift stores, and Ebay are my staples when getting/making décor for a new home. Now I can add one more place to that list. Five Below! Here are my top 10 favorite finds for $5 and below!

 

#1. White Globe Lights

 

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I love adding these around windows, mantels, and patio doors. They add the perfect amount of light! The $5 price tag is by far the cheapest I’ve seen these go for.

 

 

#2. Metal Lanterns

 

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If you like decorating with lanterns like I do, then you will LOVE the $5 price tag on this one. I haven’t been able to find one cheaper.

 

 

#3. Edison Bulb Lights

 

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Can you tell I love decorating with light!? Hehee! Unbeatable price for these Edison lights! 🙂 (These are always out of stock online, but are always available in-store!)

 

 

#4. Wire Storage Bins

 

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Only $5 for the perfect farmhouse décor/organizer! These are one of my favorites!

 

 

#5. Dipped Wood Bin

 

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The perfect size for organizing the cabinets!

 

 

#6. Animal Shaped Shag Rug

 

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I like to use these as small accents when staging a home!

 

 

#7. Embossed Faux Fur Throw

 

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The perfect accent blanket. Super soft, large, and only $5!!

 

 

#8. 2 in 1 Glass Dispenser

 

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I always keep this full of lemon water!! The glass jar fits perfectly in our fridge. 🙂

 

 

#9. Cactus Planters

 

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Even if you don’t have a green thumb, these will grow. Hehee! 😉

 

 

#10. Color Your Own Foldable Ottoman

 

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Our little guy LOVED doing this. Plus, the extra storage containers always come in handy! 🙂

 

 

 

If you have any favorites, let me know! I’m always looking for new ideas! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unique Things To Do Before You List Your Home

With the peak real estate season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get your home ready to sell! We all know the basics in preparing a home ( clean, de-clutter, get rid of personal items, etc.), but I have found that there are 5 things that people rarely do, but should.

Here are the 5 things you should do before you list your home:

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Clean Your Drains: There are two things prospective homebuyers will do when they look in your kitchen and bathrooms: check for odors and run the water. Your drains—whether sink or tub—become the star of your showing, so spend some time making sure they are unclogged and clean.

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Freshen Your Curtains

We often think about cleaning our windows and blinds, but you also need to freshen your curtains. Curtains not only hold odors, but they hold dust and dirt—two things that are immediate turn-offs for homebuyers. Dust or vacuum each panel working from the top down (pay special attention to hems and folds) and use a damp cloth to clean any noticeable spots. Toss curtains in your dryer (gentle cycle) for a quick fresh fluff.

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Empty Your Closets

Storage is something that buyers are always looking for in a new home, which makes closet space a high priority (trust me, buyers will open every closet). Empty all closets as much as possible with the goal of eliminating half of everything you see. Donate clothing to charity, return items you may have borrowed from others and pack away out-of-season items. This same rule can be used for drawers and cabinets—when buyers open up these key storage areas, you want them to see space, not clutter.

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Spruce Up The Entryway

According to Zillow.com, most buyers decide in the first 30 seconds of seeing a home if it has the potential of being “the one.” Not only should you improve the curb appeal of your home (new paint on the front door, flowers in the garden, lawn mowed), but you also need to spend time cleaning and organizing the entryway.

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Improve the Scent
When it comes to buying a home, smell is one of the senses we use the most. Even if you think your home doesn’t smell bad (tip: invite an honest friend to do a quick walk-thru to evaluate), you should err on the side of caution and add some elements to your home that will make it smell fresh and clean.

What else do you do to prep your home?

 

Easy and Cheap Kitchen Remodels for under $500

If you’re wanting to remodel your kitchen, but aren’t wanting the price tag that goes along with it, you will love these easy and cheap ideas! It’s amazing, and surprising, how far $500 can go! 🙂

 

#1. Declutter the Counter Space: Kitchen counters tend to collect a ton of stuff. Anything from coffee makers, to toasters, to utensil storage, etc. An easy way to change your kitchen’s look is to simply put all that stuff away. For under $500 you can install two shelving units to transform that under-the-sink space that isn’t being used.8fda9e87eabd0f7caa2f52aa205df288

For more tips and tricks for decluttering, check this out! http://www.pennypinchinmom.com/how-to-organize-kitchen-counters/#_a5y_p=5072702

 

#2. Paint: Paint everything, literally! This is the most affordable way to completely transform your kitchen! From walls, to cabinets, to laminate counters, and even appliances! You can literally make your kitchen look brand new just by changing the colors!

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#3. Add an island: A kitchen island not only increases your work space, but also provides much more storage (a huge bonus in my book). This is by far my favorite under $500 option! https://www.wayfair.com/Darby-Home-Co%C2%AE-Arpdale-Kitchen-Island-with-Wood-Top-DBHC1715.html

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#4. Make your stove or dishwasher stand out: Bold colors like red and orange can make any room pop! You don’t have to get a whole new dishwasher or stove to make it happen. You can easily buy just the front panels for $500!

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#5. Change the lighting: This is my favorite one. I love adding chandeliers to pretty much any room. They add so much elegance, and have to power to completely change each room I put them in! I typically get mine used, so they never cost more than $200!

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#6. Resurface your cabinets: Swap out those heavy wooden doors with glass panels to display your cute dishes and glassware. You’ll be surprised at how much openness  it will create!

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#7. Update the flooring: If you have an outdated vinyl floor, and wood look can provide a gorgeous update! You can get the following options for under $2 a square foot!https://www.lowes.com/pd/allen-roth-4-85-in-W-x-3-93-ft-L-Toasted-Chestnut-Handscraped-Wood-Plank-Laminate-Flooring/4505968

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#8. Replace your outdated counters: We recently decided to just paint out dated laminate counters. We could have easily replaced them for $500, but we got a whole new look for under $150. Win! The info/picture below is what we used, and it turned out beautifully!

http://adaesthetic.com/diy-glossy-painted-kitchen-countertops/

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Ready for the Great Hunt? Things to Know Before You Start Your Home Search!

During the purchase of our first home we wish we would have known that education is the key. That knowledge is power. Had we known what questions to ask, it would have saved us a lot of time, money, and resources. I hope you find these tips as helpful as they were to us when we purchased our second home. It made a world of difference between the two transactions!

#1. How do I begin the process of buying a home? Questions to ask yourself:

  • Should I rent or own?
  • Am I ready to buy a home?
  • How much can I afford in a monthly mortgage payment?
  • How much space do I need?
  • What area of town do I like?
  • Talk to family and friends.
  • Drive through the neighborhood-When you’re buying a house, it’s not just the house, but the neighborhood/community you’re buying.
  • Look in the “homes” section of the newspaper- this will give you a basic idea of the kinds of homes and prices that are currently on the market in your area.

#2. How does purchasing a home compare with renting?

  • The one advantage of renting is that you are generally free of most maintenance responsibilities.
  • Many advantages to home ownership are:
  •           Your chance to build equity in your home.
  •           Tax benefits.
  •           Protection against rent increases.
  •           Freedom to decorate your home the way you want.

#3. How do I know if I’m ready to buy a home?

  • Do you have a steady job (or source of income)?
  • Have you been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years, or do you have a good reason that you weren’t?
  • Is your current income reliable?
  • Do you have a good record of paying your bills?
  • Do you have some credit history-can you show that someone lent you money, and that you paid it back per the agreement?
  • Do you have money saved for a down payment, or gift funds available to you? (If you’re not able to make a down payment, check with your lender to see if they offer a 100% financing option!)
  • Do you have the ability to make the mortgage every month, plus any additional costs? (taxes, insurance, HOA, etc).

#4. How do I know what I need in a home?

  • Make a list of your priorities-Establish a must have list and wish list. (location, size, amenities, etc).
  • Realtors love it when you know exactly what you want/need when looking for a home! 🙂

#5. What should I look for when deciding on a community?

  • What community will fit into my daily lifestyle- find out what your neighborhood allows. Do they allow gardens, small sheds, playgrounds, pools, etc?
  • What are the schools like?
  • Do I want convenient access to shopping, transportation, libraries, museums etc?
  • Do I want peace and quiet of a rural community? Location is everything!

#6. How do I find a good real estate agent?

  • Interview them
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (ex. Why should I hire you as my realtor?)
  • Ask your family and friends for a referral.

#7. How can I find out how much homes are selling for in certain communities and neighborhoods?

  • Ask you’re real estate agent! They can quickly and accurately get you the information you are looking for!
#8. Is an older home better value better than a new one? A lot of this is simply personal preference. Do you like the character in older homes? Do you want something new and completely updated?

Many considerations:

  • Individual characteristics
  • Maintenance (a concern with older homes)
  • Architecture and structure
  • Energy efficiency

#9. What should I look for when walking around a home?

  • Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
  • Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the house?
  • Are there storage places?
  • Does anything need fixed or replaced?
  • Will the seller repair or replace items?
  • Imagine that house in each season
  • Will you be happy with it year-round?

#10. How long will I be living in this home?

– Things to consider:

  • Just get out of school and looking for a first home?
  • Early family-are you planning on raising a family in the home?
  • Empty nester- will you be downsizing soon?

#11. How can I keep tract of all the homes I see?

  • Take a picture of each home your like.
  • Put in binder with your checklist.
  • Write down pros and cons-this really helps when needing to make decisions.

#12. How many homes should someone look at before choosing one?

  • Visit as many as you want!
  • Communicate with your realtor what you like or don’t like-this is a big one.
  • Organization-stay organized when you do your search.

#13. I found a home, what types of inspections are required?

  • Get a home inspection first and then assess the inspection before you incur any other expenses.

#14. What does the inspector do, and how does the inspection figure in the purchase of a home?

  • Checks for safety of home.
  • Focus on structure, construction, and mechanical.
  • Makes you aware of what repairs are needed- how much does it cost to repair?
  • Use a qualified and experienced inspector-very important!
  • Before you sign the final offer, make sure to have an inspection clause.

#15. Do I need to be there for the inspection?

  • It’s not required, but always a good idea! That way the inspector can walk you around the property and point out his findings.

#16. What are home warranties, and should I consider them?

  • They offer protection of possible costly repairs.

#17. How can I find information on the property tax liability?

  • Should be included on the listing.
  • Ask the seller!
  • Check with the local tax assessors office.

#18. Do I really need home owners insurance, and how do I get a good rate?

  • Yes, home owner’s insurance is a requirement.
  • Shop around for a good rate!
  • Ask for referrals from realtors and friends
  • Flood insurance may be required. Check with real estate agent or insurance agent for flood plan information.
  • Tip: Use the same insurance company as your Car and Life insurance for a better discount.

#19. I am ready to make an offer-how do I determine the initial offer?

Your offer should include: (your real estate agent will help you with this!)

  • Complete legal description of the property
  • Amount of earnest money
  • Down payment and financing details
  • Proposed move-in date
  • Length of time offer is valid
  • Details of the deal-what stays and what goes?
  • Remember: be prepared for a give and take negotiation!

#20. Do you need a lawyer to buy a home?

  • Laws vary by state.
  • Ask you real estate agent!

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Have fun house hunting! 🙂