Credentials & Accreditation
Every state has a department that specializes in real estate. For instance, there is the Arizona Department of Real Estate where you can research if a Realtor has certification and accreditation to buy and sell property in that state. You can also find out if the real estate professional has been involved in any disciplinary action as well. If a real estate agent refers to themselves as a Realtor, that means that they are a member of the National Association of Realtors.
There are real estate agents that don't specialize in one area, but there is a current trend for them to do so.
- Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR): Education to represent buyers in the real estate transaction
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): Training in residential real estate
- Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): Training in working with both buyers and sellers that are 50+ years in age
A good real estate agent relies on their reputation for future business. Referrals are the first step when searching for the perfect person to help you buy or sell your property. Start with asking those you trust about Realtors they have worked with in the past. Then once you have that list of professionals, ask them for a current and past client list. Everyone's situation is unique, but the overall experience should be positive. If not, keep searching.
Currently, real estate transactions incur a 5-7% commission split between the buying and selling agents. If the commission on your home is lower than normal, fewer agents are willing to show it as then they don't make as great of a commission on it. You can negotiate this later, especially when one agent does the entire transaction, but should not be on the table initially.
Everyone needs to start somewhere, but it shouldn't be on your house! If an agent has less than 3-5 five years experience, they should have a mentor making sure the transaction is completed accurately. Additionally, don't enlist a family member as your real estate agent as this is a very stressful time and can illicit negative emotions during the process. Also, look for professionals that specialize in your neighborhood, as they will know what has sold and at what price, and can usually tell you why. Someone who lives 50 miles away will only be able to make an educated guess.
By utilizing all of this tips and tools you will be able to make a more informed decision on selecting the right Realtor for your property.
Posted in: Professional Services]]>
Plumbing is one of those household maintenance tasks that people think they can do on their own. Often times though, that isn't really the case. Plumbing is one of the more complicated and costly maintenance issues that homeowner's face. Do you know when it is time to call a plumber or when you can do it yourself? Here are a few tips to help you make that decision.
Slow or Clogged Drains
One of the most common reasons a plumber is often called is when a drain slows down or is clogged. Many times something has been wedge down in there or an accumulation of hair can cause the issue. Most people will head to the hardware store and buy an over-the-counter product to see if that will do the trick. For minor clogs, it will. A simple preventative measure is to place a silver mesh cover over your drains. Most often than not though, this is one of those times when it is safer to call in a professional plumber. They can use air pressure to dislodge a clog, can fix a damaged pipe, or troubleshoot a larger issue.
Troubleshooting a running toilet is the first step. Before calling the plumber, replace the flapper, float apparatus, and fill tube. If that doesn't fix the issue, you could have sediment on the flushing mechanism that a plumber will need to replace.
Low Water Pressure
The first thing you want to do is call the water company and inquire if there are any water main issues, as this is the most common cause of low water pressure. If the low water pressure has been occurring over time, look at your filtration system and change out the filters and aerators that can develop mineral deposits on them, such as calcium. A simple way to clean shower heads and bathroom faucets is to attach a plastic bag filled with white vinegar and let it soak overnight. If the water pressure is still low, it is time to call a plumber as this could be the symptom of a larger leak or break in a pipe. If the water pressure occurs suddenly, then call a plumber right away as it typically signifies a larger issue than a quick vinegar fix!
Always Call A Plumber For These Situations
Sometimes it is just easier to pick up the phone and have a professional plumber do tasks that are complicated or dangerous.
- Sewer line or septic tank breaks, leaks, or issues
- Installations of new pipes, sinks, tubs, or water heaters
- New construction on a home or business
Posted in: Home Services & Repair]]>
The Food Itself
A great caterer should be using the freshest, highest quality food. It is really all about the food itself. If you are serving your guests last week's leftovers you might not see smiling faces at the end of your event. Your caterer should be delivering high quality, great tasting food and have substitutions readily available for any guest that has a specific food allergy. The caterer should be able to transport and reheat, or cook onsite if available, the entire preplanned menu.
Food Safety is Key
Keeping food stored at the correct temperature is a must as well as making sure it is served at the right temperature. The fastest way to make your guests sick is to have a caterer that doesn't put food safety at the top of their list. They should be easy to comply with the food safety regulations set forth by the FDA without any trouble.
Great Customer Service
A caterer should be able to work with you on creating a menu that works within your budget and highlights the theme of the occasion. When you have a last minute change in the number of meals needed or need to sub out a dish, their customer service should shine through. In a world filled with food allergies, a caterer needs to also have alternatives available for those dietary requirements and offer those when discussing the menu. Being a great caterer that gets repeat referrals is more than just being a stellar chef.
The Day of The Event
A catering company is only as good as the members of the team. Not only do they need a great chef, but also line cooks, servers, and even dishwashers. Your guests might only see the servers bringing out the yummy food, but more than likely, they set the place settings and organized the decorations as well. The back of the house has been making sure your catered food is hot and delicious and ready to be served with a smile. The caterer you hired would be orchestrating all of these moving parts effortlessly (or appearing so) which then allows you to enjoy your event.
Posted in: Professional Services]]>
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Cleaning Service
- Do they have liability insurance in case they break something?
- Do they have worker's compensation insurance for their employees? Do they use subcontractors or are they employees of the cleaning service?
- Who will clean my home or business? Is it one person or a team and have they had a criminal background check performed?
- What is the procedure if the work performed isn't satisfactory? Do you have a crew leader check each home and sign off on the work?
- Are you able to clean using organic or natural ingredients if I don't want standard cleaners used in my home?
Posted in: Home Services & Repair]]>
1. Check Your Heating System and Ceiling Fans
Before it gets cold outside, and everyone else has the same idea, have your heating system checked out. For under a $100, a technician will check out your system and make any necessary repairs before the temps drop down. Have them also run a carbon monoxide test at the same time. Reverse your ceiling fans for the winter so they are running in a clockwise direction. This creates an updraft and pushes the warm air back down into the room. This allows you to save money on your heating costs as you can lower your thermostat and save a little bit of money.
2. Roof and Chimney Inspection
In the southwest, most homes have either a flat surface or tiled roofs. Clear off all the debris as this holds in moisture and unnecessary weight on the roofs. Don't forget to clear the gutters of any leaves, branches, or other debris. In other parts of the country that have to worry about snow, make sure all broken or missing shingles are replaced and repaired before the first snowfall. This is also the perfect time to clean out the chimney and make sure it is in good working order.
3. Window and Doors
For under $10 you can pick up exterior caulk. Make sure to apply it to any gaps in windows or doors that are larger than a nickel in diameter. These gaps are letting precious hot air out and letting the cold air into your home. Add weatherstripping around doors to make sure that light isn't shining through. If you need to seal glass to a window frame use an easy to apply window-glazing putty.
4. Lawn Care
Before your area freezes, mow your lawn on the lowest setting, typically the mulching blade. Instead of composting your leaves, leave them on the lawn. Next, cut up your dried leaves using the same mulching blade into dime-size pieces and apply evenly onto the trimmed down grass. These will decompose under the snow and provide nutrients for next year's lawn.
Posted in: Home Services & Repair]]>
Avoid Gravy Work
One of the easiest ways to add a little bit to the mechanic's bottom line is to fudge the time it takes to do certain repairs. Not many people would see an additional half hour or an hour added to a job as a red flag. For instance, a good mechanic can do most routine jobs in under 30 minutes, but you are changed for 1-2 hours of labor. That is considered gravy work.
Flush Your Money Down the Toilet
Most mechanic shops have a low-priced oil change that is a loss leader to bring you into their shop. While that oil change might cost under $25, they will suggest you buy a transmission flush, power steering flush, or any other liquid flush. There goes your money and more often than not, you did not need that particular flush.
Check Engine Light (aka The Idiot Light)
The check engine comes on for many different things and some are quite simple to fix. A lot of times though it comes on to remind you to have your oil changed every 3000-5000 miles, depending on your vehicle. What happens though is that the mechanic will tell you a myriad of other reasons for it to have come on. With most newer cars you can ask to see the computer printout of the error message once they plug the car into the machine. Others will definitely need to be diagnosed and some mechanics will charge upwards of $300 to figure out why it is on.
How Bidology Helps
With Bidology, you can put in a request in the system for the type of work you need done on your vehicle and your budget. Once a mechanic agrees to your terms, make sure to review their profile and ask any other questions before you hire them to fix your car. This allows you to use the Bidology tools with confidence when hiring a mechanic so that you avoid being ripped off.
Hi Brandon - Thanks for the review
Whenever it is time to hire a contractor for a home or business remodel, it can be overwhelmingly choosing the right contractor for your job. It can take a bit of time to make sure you have covered all of your bases and receive quality work. Here are a few tips to hiring a good contractor.
Your friends and family is a good place to start as they might know just the perfect person to help you out. You can even ask on your Facebook status, especially if you are looking for someone specific. Crowdsourcing information is a great way to get a list of names so that you can start whittling it down to the perfect contractor.
Pick up the phone and start calling all the contractors on the list. Have a set of questions that you will ask each one: Can they do the size job that you have and in the timeframe you want it down? What is an estimate of charges? What is the process for change orders? Do they work with subcontractors or do they do all the work? Are they bonded and insured? If your project costs more than $600, choose a contractor that has all the licensing, insurance, and bonds needed for tyour state. From a list of 10, you might now have two that work well for your project.
Select a Contractor
You can always tell if you will work well with someone after meeting them face-to-face. Have an in-person meeting and show them the space that needs the work. Listen to your gut and go over all the questions you had previously asked. Make sure the contractor is the perfect fit for your needs. If not, keep looking. Don't just go with a contractor because of time constraints or you can have an even bigger problem on your hands.
The Bidology Factor
With Bidology, we have sourced contractors and our model helps you to set a specific budget then the contractor must agree to your terms. At that point, interview the contractor by reviewing their profile and asking questions before hiring them for the job. This helps to empower you with the Bidology tools and allows the process of hiring a service provider for your particular job to be a little bit more automated, and a little bit easier and hassle free.
By following these easy steps, you can hire a contractor for your home or business project. Use Bidology today to see how easy it can be to find a reliable contractor for your residential or business needs.
Bidology Launch July 1, 2015
We are excited to announce the OFFICIAL Bidology Launch on Wednesday, July 1st 2015.
For more information please visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @bidology
Posted in: General]]>