Home FAQs – Toggle Style
by yas

When buying a new home, what upgrades should we go for? What holds the most value? Do we upgrade the lot? Pick more square footage in the house? Add an extra bedroom?, etc.

A lot depends on why you are buying the house. Are you buying it mostly as a home or mostly as an investment? There is a difference.

For the most part, upgrades are high-profit items for builders. They aren’t designed to enhance the value of the house, but make you happier with the house you do buy.

If you are looking at your home as an investment, then you buy from the smaller to medium size in the tract and spend only a minimal amount on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase as a home, then you select upgrades that will enhance your quality of living.

One rule of thumb is to always upgrade the carpet and padding.

I have to make a choice between an updated home in an older neighborhood or a newer home in a more modern neighborhood. The home in the older neighborhood has almost everything I want and is much larger, but which makes the most sense as an investment?

If your goal is to buy a home for it’s resale value and the one you are thinking of buying in the older neighborhood is at the upper end of values for that neighborhood, then it may not be the wisest choice. If it is similar or lower in price to the others, then there should be no problem, because pricing should be considered in relation to the local neighborhood and not compared to homes in other neighborhoods (for the most part)

Plus, is it a neighborhood on the decline, or are others going to be fixing things up, too, so that it is a neighborhood that is improving? It could turn out to be a very good deal as long as you don’t “overpay” because of the recent improvements.

Remember that you also buy a home for it’s value to you as a “home,” and that is something else you should consider. Which neighborhood would you AND your family feel most comfortable in?

I have a family friend who is a Realtor. I like her and she is a help but she gives me one price to sell my home for and I think it is too low. So I called another agent who suggested a price more in line with my expectations. Who do I choose?

You might want to consult a couple more Realtors on the market value of your home. Most of the estimates should be in the same ballpark.

It could be that your friend is being more honest with you about the value of your home and the other Realtor gave you a higher number because he already knew you expected it. This is called “Buying a Listing” and is the subject of an article on our web site.

Or it could simply be that your friend is a good friend, but not that great of a real estate agent.

Mixing business and friendships is always risky to the friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is truly competent and was providing wise advice, she may be offended if you ignore the advice and choose another agent.

Why should I use a real estate salesperson?

A real estate salesperson is more than just a “sales person.” They act on your behalf as your agent, providing you with advice and guidance and doing a job – helping you buy or sell a home. While it is true they get paid for what they do, so do other professions that provide advice, guidance, and have a service to sell –such as Certified Public Accountants and Attorneys

The Internet has opened up a world of information that wasn’t previously available to homebuyers and seller. The data on listings available for sale is almost current – but not quite. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with an agent.

If you’re selling a home, you gain access to the most buyers by being listed in the Multiple Listing Service. Only a licensed real estate agent who is a member of your local MLS can get you listed there – which then gets you automatically listed on some of the major real estate web sites. If you’re buying or selling a home, the MLS is your agent’s best tool.

However, the role of an agent has changed in the last couple of years. In the past, agents were the only way home buyers and sellers could access information. Now agents are evolving. Because today’s home buyers and sellers are so much better informed than in the past, expertise and ability are becoming more important.

The real estate agent is becoming more of a “guide” than a “salesperson” — your personal representative in buying or selling a home.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

Most states require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the state, so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems.

The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from state to state. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents.

The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the state, but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker’s name, not the salesperson’s.

A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons or agents working for him or her.

Do your tours include international airfare?

Travelers arrive from all over the world to begin our tours and it is not possible to include international airfare in our prices. We would be happy to help you arrange flights. Just ask for an air quote when making your booking.

What vaccinations are recommended for this adventure?

It’s important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.

Can you help arrange my travel visas?

Requirements for travel visas vary widely depending on your nationality and your destination. Although we are unable to arrange visas on your behalf. If you do require a visa you can arrange them yourself or use the services of a travel agent or visa processing company.

What clothing should I pack for one of your adventures?

We always recommend packing as light as possible however the specific requirements for your tour will vary widely depending on where and when you are traveling. Our ‘Trip Details’ document includes a suggested packing list and these can be downloaded from each individual trip summary page. The checklist is tour specific and based upon the experience of our ground staff.

What is the most appropriate type of luggage to bring?

We strongly recommend bringing a backpack or duffel bag, as suitcases can be cumbersome and difficult to store in buses, under seats, etc.. Keep in mind that you will normally have to carry your own luggage on and off buses and trains and up and down hotel staircases. Suitcases with wheels may not work well on dirt or cobblestone roads.

What type of ground transportation is used on your tours?

Trip specific information on transportation can be found on the trip summary page however in most cases we use public transportation. We’ve found that how you get there significantly influences the tone of your journey and public transportation allows face-to-face interaction with the local people. Some of our adventures, including our “Superior”, “Comfort Class” and most adventures in Africa, use private transportation.

Can I book extra nights of hotel accommodation before or after my tour?

Yes, in most cases we can arrange additional accommodation at our starting or ending hotels, excluding European tours. If we are unable to provide you with the extra nights we will give you the name of a hotel you can contact directly. Please also note that extra accommodations must be booked outside of 30 days of departure.