Q & A With America’s Real Estate Professor: Finding an Agent

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Zillow

Posted on December 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 24 at 1:00 PM

By Leonard Baron

Finding a Good Real Estate Agent

Q. I’m going to look to buy a house in the spring. I want to find a suitable real estate agent to help me, how should I go about this? Tom L., Pueblo CO.

A. Great question and it’s good you are starting early. I’d suggest you ask around to friends and acquaintances for recommendations on real estate agents they’ve used. You should interview at least three agents and take your time doing this. Agents with more experience, more completed transactions, and more familiarity with the location where you plan to buy property are your best bet.

I would make sure they are doing real estate full time, that they don’t have too many clients where they may not be able to give you good service, and verify with the state that their license is up to date. Lastly, it’s really important to make sure you believe they have your best interests at heart and will assist you in making a smart purchase by knowing about an area and guiding you appropriately.

I always suggest buyers do the hard work upfront to find a good agent and stick with your selected professional. That’s probably going to give you the best outcome in the buying process. Good luck.

Rental Properties Interest Deduction

Q. I keep hearing in the news that they might reduce or eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). Will that apply to residential rental property real estate? Patty A, Los Angeles, CA

A. Congress and the President can make whatever changes they agree upon, which could include eliminating the rental property interest deduction. However, this is highly unlikely, even if they fully eliminated the MID for personal residences. Real estate rental property ownership is a business, just like any other business. In all businesses, the owner can take a deduction for interest expenses paid on any monies borrowed by the company.

The landlord business is no different; interest is a business deduction, and it would be unfair to eliminate it solely for rental property owners - and not for all types of businesses. In that case, that would mean companies like IBM, Microsoft, GM, and Google would all lose their interest deduction and be less profitable – and due to that it’s highly unlikely to occur.

Additionally, there’s been no publicly known discussion from any national politician about eliminating the interest deduction for rental properties, so I wouldn’t worry about it at this point.

Leonard Baron is America’s Real Estate Professor® - his unbiased, neutral and inexpensive “Real Estate Ownership, Investment and Due Diligence 101” textbook teaches real estate owners how to make smart and safe purchase decisions. He is a San Diego State University Lecturer, blogs at Zillow.com, and loves kicking the tires of a good piece of dirt!

Email Your Questions to: Leonard@ProfessorBaron.com

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