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5 Things to Keep in Mind When Looking at Land for Sale in Missouri

by Ethel Curbow

Land for Sale in Missouri: What to Look For

beautiful land for sale in missouri

Land for sale in Missouri comes in all shapes and sizes — especially in southwest Missouri. Owning land is a great investment, but you shouldn’t just purchase a plot of land without doing some research first. Some properties can seem like a great buy at first glance but can easily turn out to be too good to be true. In today’s Ethel Curbow blog, we take a look at five questions you should ask when looking at land for sale in Missouri.

Is the Land Easily Accessible?

When you shop for land for sale in Missouri, chances are high that the property you are looking at was once a part of a larger farm or family plot of land. Through years of dividing the land between children, access to the land can become convoluted. The only access point to a plot of land may be owned by one person, or it may be a long and winding path to get to the property. Before you make an offer on some land for sale in Missouri, check the access points to make sure you can reach the main roads.

Is the Land on a Flood Plain?​

If you’ve lived in southwest Missouri for any period of time, you have probably realized that when it rains, it rains hard. Crazy rains mixed with wide variations in land features can result in constantly flooded areas of land. While having water on your land is a feature that many people search for, having land that is predominantly on a floodplain is an entirely different situation. If a property has been determined to be part of a flood plain, insurance rates will go up significantly, and it can be difficult to get the permits required to build a house or other structure on the land.

Will the Land Work for Your Needs?​

Typically, when you shop for land for sale in Missouri, you want property for a specific purpose. Whether you would like to farm or raise animals or you’re just looking for a beautiful property to build a house on, not all land is created equal. For example, you wouldn’t want property that has a lot of trees if you plan to grow crops on the land, and you wouldn’t want wide open spaces if you would like to hunt on the property. Be sure to do a thorough examination of the layout of the property to make sure it will work for your needs.

Are There Issues on the Land?​

When you’re looking at land for sale in Missouri, there can sometimes be issues with the land that may not be apparent during the initial look at the property. However, issues like sinkholes and unfarmable land can arise. If you are interested in a specific property, look into the different tests and inspections you can have done on the land to make sure there are no underlying issues that may appear after you purchase the property.

Talk to a Real Estate Agent about Land for Sale in Missouri​

If you are interested in buying land in the southwest Missouri area, trust an experienced real estate agent to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Ethel Curbow has been a leading Realtor in the Springfield area for over 20 years, and would be more than happy to help you find your next property. Contact Ethel today!

 

Why You Should Choose a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent

by Ethel Curbow

Choosing a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent

coldwell banker real estate agent holding out keys

Sometimes, it can seem that real estate agencies are practically a dime a dozen. So, how do you figure out which agent — and which company — to use when buying or selling a home? As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker for over 20 years, Ethel Curbow and her team know what makes our company stand out from the rest. Keep reading to find out why Coldwell Banker Real Estate is an excellent choice for your real estate needs.

A Company with History

Coldwell Banker Real Estate is one of the oldest real estate agencies in the United States. Founded in 1906 by Colbert Coldwell, the company was created to provide people trying to recover after the devastating San Francisco earthquakes with trustworthy, reliable salespeople to help rebuild their lives. After partnering with Benjamin Banker, Coldwell continued to build their company across the United States. Choosing Coldwell Banker Real Estate means you choose a real estate agency with deep roots based on providing the best service to all those looking to buy or sell a house.

A Name with Meaning​

For over 110 years, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has been synonymous with reliability, innovation, and trust. That basis carries over to every Coldwell Banker agency across the country. Coldwell Banker agencies and agents are held to a higher standard of excellence — a standard that our clients have come to know and expect. When you see a listing posted by a Coldwell Banker real estate agent, you know that the buying and selling of the property is overseen by a name you can trust.

Agents with Experience​

When buying or selling a home, you want to have a real estate agent who has the knowledge, training, and experience to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Coldwell Banker real estate agents go through several personality assessments and trainings to ensure they are a good fit for the Coldwell Banker team. Whether you are shopping for your first house or are an experienced homebuyer, trusting a Coldwell Banker real estate agent puts you a cut above the rest.

Your Springfield Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent​

If you are in the southwest Missouri area and are looking for a real estate agent, trust Ethel Curbow. As a part of the Coldwell Banker Vanguard team, Ethel has helped thousands of homeowners find their next dream home — and you could be next! Contact Ethel today to get started on your real estate journey by calling 417.447.4968.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Springfield

by Ethel Curbow

Becoming a Springfield Real Estate Agent

female real estate agent shows couple first house

Deciding on a career path can feel extremely daunting and leave you asking yourself a lot of questions. Is this the right choice for my family? Will this provide for my needs? Will I enjoy the work? The choice to become a real estate agent comes with a wide variety of benefits but should also be chosen after careful consideration of all the pros and cons of the job. If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent in Springfield, Missouri, Ethel Curbow explains the steps you will need to take to start your career.

Decide if Being a Real Estate Agent is the Right Choice

Becoming a real estate agent can be appealing to a wide variety of people. Some enjoy the freedom from a typical 9-to-5 office job while others enjoy getting to work directly with people and helping them achieve their dreams of becoming homeowners. That said, being a real estate agent takes a lot of work and isn’t for everyone. Working on your own means that you need to be a self-starter and be able to market yourself. Being a part of the real estate industry means that you should have at least some knowledge about home ownership and what to look for in a property — although that can be learned later. Perhaps most importantly, real estate agents need to be able to balance several different tasks at the same time for many different clients.

 

If you are still interested in real estate as a career, consider talking to an agent you know about their job and what it takes for them to be successful. An insider’s perspective on the work it takes to be an agent will really help you determine if this is the right career path for you. If, after doing research and talking with others in the industry, you choose to continue down the real estate agent career path, it’s time to prepare for the tests.

Take the Required Courses​

Getting your real estate license takes significant time and preparation. The first step in the process is passing the pre-examination course. In the Springfield area, the pre-examination course is provided by the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, or GSBOR. After you pass the pre-examination course, you have six months to complete both portions of the AMP examination and complete the 24-hour practice course.

 

Once you’ve completed the required practice courses, you then have to pass both the Missouri state portion of the exam along with the national portion. If you have any questions about the requirements, contact the Missouri Real Estate Commission (MREC) at 573-751-2628.

Find a Licensed Brokerage​

Once you’ve obtained your real estate license, it’s time to find a brokerage to work with. Ethel Curbow has been a proud part of the Coldwell Banker team for over 20 years. Regardless of the brokerage you choose, make sure you join a team of reputable, quality agents. Check reviews and do research into the companies. Then you are on your way to a successful career as a real estate agent in Springfield.

Marketing Tactics Every Real Estate Agent Should Know

by Ethel Curbow

How a Real Estate Agent Markets Your Home

A real estate agent selling a house online

Most home searches today begin online, making marketing one of the most important aspects of modern real estate. Without an online presence, your home will likely sit on the market longer than you expected. Luckily, any experienced real estate agent understands the importance of online marketing. Here, Ethel Curbow shares some marketing tricks that every real estate agent should know.

Listing Your House on an MLS

MLS stands for “Multiple Listing Service.” Every home listed by a real estate agent is listed on an MLS, which allows buyers and other realtors to find properties, increasing the exposure your house receives. MLS has always been the lifeblood of real estate. Before the Internet, real estate listings were actually printed and sent to agents, but this proved to be inconvenient. Today, with the internet, it is easier than ever for realtors to share their listings with other agents.

Taking High-Quality Photos

If a home is not gaining much traction from the MLS, the next step is to market it directly to buyers online. This means listing the home on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and other regional real estate listing sites. To increase the home’s exposure, an experienced real estate agent will take high-quality photos of the interior and exterior of your home. Buyers want to see a home in the best light possible, so before your realtor drops by to take photos, be sure to mow your lawn, clean your home, and open up your blinds to let in plenty of natural light. If you can pique buyer interest through online marketing, your house is likely to sell faster.  

Creating a Virtual Tour

Virtual tours are a great way to set a house apart from the competition. They show the house in its entirety and give buyers the feel of walking through your home, encouraging them to set up a tour and see it in person. Creating a virtual tour can be difficult, but an experienced real estate agent should have the knowledge and resources to pull off this marketing trick.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

Selling a house is not always easy, but working with an experienced real estate agent certainly helps. For the last 15 years, Ethel Curbow has been ranked within the top ten Coldwell Banker real estate professionals in the Springfield, MO area, so she has what it takes to market and sell your home. To learn more, contact Ethel Curbow today!

Selling a House: Pricing to Sell Quickly

by Ethel Curbow

Setting the Right Price and Selling a House Quickly

Selling a house quickly

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of selling a house. If a house is priced too high or too low, it is likely to sit on the market longer than you expect. The secret to selling a house quickly is setting a price that makes buyers think they are getting a deal while giving the seller a return on their investment. Here, Ethel Curbow explains how to set the right price for your home.

Study Your Location

When pricing a home, the first step is to look at your location. Figure out the property values of the homes in your neighborhood and price your home similarly. If you price higher than your neighborhood property values, you may scare away potential buyers. If you price too low, buyers may think you are desperate and wonder if there is something wrong with your home. Keeping up with neighborhood property values is a key aspect of selling a house quickly.

Think about Online Searches

When potential buyers look for homes on sites like Trulia or Zillow, they tend to set search parameters so they only view homes in their budget. For example, if a buyer wants to spend no more than $200,000, they will only look at homes that are below that amount. If your home is priced at $210,000, it will be missed in searches and stay on the market longer. To sell quickly, it’s best to round down.

Use the “99” Strategy

The “99” strategy may seem ridiculous to some sellers, but it actually works. Based on basic psychology, the “99” strategy tricks people into thinking they are getting a deal. For example, a buyer at a convenience store is more likely to buy a bag of chips priced at 99 cents than a bag of chips price for a dollar, simply because it is one cent cheaper. When it comes to selling a house, the principle surprisingly applies. So, if you hope to sell your home quickly, consider marking your $200,000 home down to $199,000. This makes your home look less expensive, attracting more buyers.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

Setting the right price and selling a house quickly can be difficult. Luckily, an experienced real estate agent can help you find the price the reduces the number of days your home is on the market and gives you the greatest return on your investment. To speak with an experienced real estate agent, contact Ethel Curbow! With years of experience, Ethel has what it takes to set the right price, market your home, and make a sale.

A Real Estate Agent Explains Why You Should Not Sell by Owner

A home that is not listed with a real estate agent

As an experienced real estate agent, Ethel Curbow knows that listing a home as “for sale by owner” rarely works as planned. Though the idea of saving money on the commission may sound appealing, selling a house without an agent can be an incredibly difficult experience. Here, Ethel Curbow discusses some reasons why you should avoid selling your home by owner.

It is Time-Consuming

Selling by owner can be a time-consuming process. Between staging your property, taking marketing photos, and preparing for showings, it can be difficult to find a moment of free time. Selling a home is truly a full-time job, and ultimately, the money you save on commission is not worth the time you put into selling. Unless you have plenty of free time, it is best to go through a real estate agent.

Pricing is Not Easy

Pricing a home can be difficult, and it’s easy to get the price wrong when you sell by owner. If you price the home too high, few people will view it. If you price it too low, you may look desperate and scare away buyers. Without the perfect price, the home is likely to sit on the market for months, which can further scare away buyers. A knowledgeable real estate knows how to price your home in a way that attracts buyers and gives you the greatest return on your investment.

There Can Be Liability Issues

Most real estate agents carry Errors and Omissions Insurance which protects you and the agent from any mistakes in the contract. When you sell by owner, you do not have this insurance, so any mistakes you make during the selling process can cost you a fortune. In the end, you will end up losing money on your home instead of saving.

You May Not Save Much

The top reason why people choose to sell by owner is to save money on commission, giving them as much equity as possible when they sell. In reality, you will not end up saving much, if anything. On average, homes sold by real estate agents sell for more than homes listed “for sale by owner.” Additionally, homes listed by real estate agents sell quicker than for sale by owner homes. This means that the homeowners are making more money off of their homes by going through a realtor. In the end, the commission is well worth the price.

Contact Ethel Curbow

If you are struggling to sell your house, contact Ethel Curbow. For the last 15 years, Ethel has been ranked within the top ten Coldwell Banker real estate agents in the Springfield, Missouri region. With her experience and knowledge, Ethel has what it takes to sell your house and find you the new home of your dreams!

Buying a Home: Tips for Buying a Historic Home

by Ethel Curbow

Buying a Home: Historic Properties

Buying a Home Historic Home

Though many dream of buying a historic property, few are up for the challenge. Owning and maintaining a historic home can take a great deal of time and effort, but the experience can be incredibly rewarding. If you are thinking of buying a home with historic value, be sure to read these tips from Ethel Curbow.

Conduct a Formal Inspection

When you are buying a home, you should always receive an inspection. If you are buying a historic home, find an inspector that specializes in older homes. With knowledge of historic properties, the inspector can determine if there are any structural problems that will cause problems in the future.

Make Sure It Meets Safety Standards

When you purchase a historic property, anything is possible. Older homes can have numerous safety problems, including asbestos, lead paint, and faulty wiring. Before you purchase the home, make sure you won’t encounter any of these dangerous issues down the road.

Save for Renovations and Repairs

Making renovations is one of the most exciting aspects of buying a home. With a historic property, renovations may cost a little extra, so be sure to save plenty. Keep in mind that you may have to make additional repairs to fix foundational issues in the home, which can take money away from your renovation budget. Overall, just prepare yourself for unexpected costs.

Look into Historic Home Restrictions

Many people buy historic homes with dreams of renovating the interiors and leaving their own stamp on the property. As exciting as this may be, many historic properties are protected by local and state laws. In order to preserve the character, historical significance, and architectural integrity of the home, you may not be able to make extensive changes. In order to make renovations, you may have to apply for special permits from your local government.

Check out Utility Bills

When you are buying a home, it’s always a good idea to look at the previous year’s utilities bills. With an older home, this is especially a good idea. Old homes are known to have drafts, poor insulation, and other issues, meaning that it may cost a lot to heat and cool the house. To ensure you don’t purchase a money pit, do a little research before buying.

Buying a Home with Ethel Curbow

If you are considering buying a home in the Springfield, Missouri area, contact Ethel Curbow. With years of experience and knowledge in real estate, Ethel has what it takes to find you the home of your dreams. To learn more, give Ethel Curbow a call at (417) 447-4968!

Ethel Curbow: Are You Eligible for Homes for Heroes?

Soldier and real estate agent shake hands with Ethel Curbow

Since 1981, Ethel Curbow has worked tirelessly to put people into their dream homes. For many of us, home ownership is a huge part of the American Dream. But what about our heroes? What about people who expend their lives for the betterment of our nation? For the last several decades, the United States has attempted to serve our heroes through things like VA loans that help get veterans into homes. But more could be done. In today’s blog post, we are going to look at the Homes for Heroes program and see if you might be eligible.

What is Homes for Heroes?

In 2002, Homes for Heroes was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota by current CEO Ruth Johnson. The program was established shortly after 9/11 to “give back to firefighters, law enforcement, military (active, reserves & veterans), healthcare workers, EMS, and teachers.” The goal of the organization is to not only get heroes into homes, but to allow them to save money on that home and on “everyday home-related purchases.”

As of July 2017, “over $25 million has been given back to American heroes on their real estate transactions.” That number sat at just $1 million in 2011 and more than doubled from $10 million since 2015. In the years since Homes for Heroes was founded, Ethel Curbow has been a proud advocate and supporter of the program and offers eligibility consultation.

Am I Eligible for Home for Heroes?

At first, the program was offered to firefighters and public safety officers. Since then, however, the program has expanded to many other heroes of our community, such as healthcare professionals, military personnel, educators, youth workers, pastors and a variety of other professions. Ethel Curbow has taken notice and wants to see if you are eligible for the program. However, it isn’t simply a black and white answer.

The question is less about your eligibility and more about how much you are eligible to receive. According to Homes for Heroes, heroes receive over $1,500 when buying or selling a home. But it’s hard to determine how much you are eligible for until you sign up or consult an agent like Ethel Curbow.

Let Ethel Curbow Help

For nearly four decades, Ethel Curbow has helped get people in the Springfield area into their dream homes, and if you are a hero to our nation, she wants to help you too. Contact Ethel Curbow at (417) 447-4968 or visit our website for more information.

When Should I Start Looking At Buying A House?

by Ethel Curbow

Buying a House: When Should I Start Looking?


Ethel Curbow looks at when you should start looking at buying a house

Buying a house is a dream of nearly every person on the planet. It may not be the dream of every person, but many of us want to one day say that we own our own house. For some of us, that is sooner. For others, it takes more time than we would like. The process is a long and winding for nearly everybody, but looking to buy a home at the right time can solve a lot of problems. Are you financially ready? Are there houses in your price range? There are a wide variety of questions to consider, and today the Ethel Curbow blog takes a look at when you should start looking to buy a house.

How is Your Credit?

Of all the factors to consider when buying a house, there is one that is fairly immovable: your credit score. Without a qualifying credit score, buying a house is going to be very difficult, and even if you are able to, it wouldn’t be the wisest decision. The minimum allowable score will vary with the individual loan type. With a conventional loan, the minimum score rests at 620. With an FHA loan, it lowers to 580.

While it is harder to get a loan with bad credit, it isn’t impossible. We also shouldn’t assume that more people with good credit have loans. According to Credit Sesame scores, the percentage of people with poor credit scores (500-549) who have loans is virtually identical to those with excellent credit scores (720+). You can get a loan for buying a house with bad credit. It is just more difficult.

How Are Your General Finances?

A good rule of thumb for budgeting is to have housing costs, which includes mortgage payments and interest or rent, real estate taxes, and homeowners insurance, come out to about 30% of your income. That is a more broad way to classify your finances, but if you are looking at a mortgage that will take 50% of your income from you, buying a house probably isn’t the best idea.

Another thing to think about is the cost of the down payment. In a perfect world, putting 20% of the house’s price down will save you money in the long run, through lowered interest rates and easier qualification. You don’t want to have to dig all of your savings out to make a downpayment, especially if it won’t even get you to that 20% threshold. That puts you on very thin financial ice. If you were to lose your job or be out of work for several months with no savings, you would have no good solution.

Let Ethel Curbow Help You With Buying A House

Buying a house is stressful. It takes time and effort and shouldn’t be done without proper help. Let Ethel Curbow be that help. Contact us today at (417) 447-4968 or visit our website for more information.

 

Finding the Best Qualities in Your Real Estate Agent

by Ethel Curbow

Real Estate Agent: Finding the Best Qualities in Your Agent

john prine

Buying or selling a house is nothing to be short-sighted about. Of all the decisions that one will make in his or her lifetime, home purchases and sales are likely to be the heaviest and most stressful. Because this is true, it is of the utmost importance for you to find the right real estate agent for your home needs. There are several factors that go into picking the right real estate agent, but in today’s Ethel Curbow blog post, we focus on their qualities, customer service, portfolio, and credentials.

Customer Service

This one is often times difficult to judge. Often times, real estate agents will provide testimonials on their website to show their ability to work with people and the care they provide to their clients. However, even on these websites, you are only getting interactions handpicked by the real estate agent. There are two easy ways to look into an agent’s customer service record: talk with their recent clients, and read their reviews.

Talking to clients is a good way to get a personal feel for the agent. As you talk with the person, especially someone with a negative view of the agent, you can get a feel for whether or not their thoughts are warranted. It allows for you to get a more in-depth look at the agent. Reviews do that same thing, but quicker. You won’t get the most in-depth analysis, but you will have access to testimonials--both good and bad--through a simple google search. It is important to be thorough in these cases so that you aren’t easily swayed by a few sparkling reviews, but also aren’t scared away by one bad apple.

Portfolio

This quality is easier to find. Depending on the real estate agent, you may know their portfolio beforehand simply from word of mouth. Agents with more of an online and media presence likely have a more extensive portfolio. However, you also have to be mindful of the quality of a portfolio. For instance, we see commercials for lawyers all the time. Those lawyers are often lawyers who focus on personal injury or divorce. So while they are prominent, you shouldn’t call them if you need a criminal lawyer. Perhaps you are looking to sell a house and a prospective real estate agent specializes in the buyer’s market? Or maybe they sell more expensive real estate while you are looking at just buying your first home. Portfolios are easy to find, but they aren’t always black and white.

Credentials

As discussed in our last section, different real estate agents have different skill sets. This is also reflected in their credentials. It is important not to confuse a license with a credential. Licenses, which are doled out and regulated by the state, are broader than credentials. All agents are licensed but not all have the same credentials. Some notable certifications and credentials are:

  • Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)

  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)

  • Certified Property Manager (CPM)

  • Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS)

Find an agent that specializes in the services you need.

Ethel Curbow Wants to be Your Real Estate Agent

Since 1981, Ethel Curbow has been the most trusted real estate agent in the Springfield area. As a former Army wife, she has moved over 15 times and knows the terrain better than anybody else. She has been one of the top producers at Coldwell Banker Real Estate over the last 15 years, including being named one of the top 100 realtors by REALTOR Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. If you want the best, give us a call today at (417) 447-4968 or visit our website for more information.

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Ethel Curbow
Coldwell Banker Vanguard, REALTORS®
1334 East Republic Road
Springfield MO 65804
Office: 417-447-4968
Fax: 417-447-1214