BUNKER HILL - If you’ve ever sold or bought a house, you already know the headache that it can cause. But that process is as painless as possible with Lisa Webb of Third Street Realty.

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CJ Nasello hosts a segment with Webb on Our Daily Show every third Wednesday of the month. On a recent segment of “Third on Third With Third Street Realty,” Webb and CJ talked about buying and selling in a tight market and all the realty tips you need for an easy move.

“It can be very stressful, especially for a first-time homebuyer,” Webb said. “Communication is the key thing. If you don’t know, ask, because if you don’t ask, then you’re going to not know what’s going on, and then things can go haywire from here. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll get you the answer.”

CJ can relate a little too well; Webb is his realtor, and he’s preparing to close on his first house. But while he was initially overwhelmed, Webb quickly took the reins and guided him through the process.

Real estate is notorious for its ups and downs. We’re currently in a tight market, which means there’s little room for negotiation; the asking and offer prices are pretty similar. This is partly because our area has low inventory. In other words, there aren’t many houses on the market, so buyers can’t afford to negotiate with the seller. Supply is low and demand is high.

This can be a stressful situation for buyers, especially first-time buyers like CJ who are still trying to figure out exactly what they want. But Webb says it doesn’t have to be difficult.

“Upfront and honesty is key, and the second step is keeping close contact with your real estate agent,” Webb said.

She encourages buyers to scout out the listings themselves online, then tell your agent about the properties you’re interested in. The buyer and agent can work together to determine if a listing meets the buyer’s needs.

Because we’re in a tight market, Webb cautions buyers to keep their contingencies to a minimum. Many buyers will put in an offer but require certain criteria to be met before the deal concludes. Even this form of negotiation can hinder a buyer’s chances.

“We don’t want to do that in a tight market because your offer isn’t going to be competitive. It’s not going to get noticed by the seller,” Webb explained. “The seller has to make the decision, but you have to be competitive with your offer.”

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Because there aren’t many houses on the market right now, Webb also advises buyers to know what they want and not get caught in a bidding war. She notes that it’s “very easy” for buyers to become overwhelmed when other competitive offers are coming in, and she’s seen more than one client settle way above asking price because they got caught up in the moment.

“As a real estate agent, it is my job that my buyer understands what that means. [If] you’re coming in $20,000 over asking, if you have to sell your house tomorrow, you better be prepared to bring money to the table to be able to sell, because you probably will have to,” Webb explained. “We have to make sure: Are you ready? Because once you sign on that dotted line, we’re going. You’re in it. You jumped, and we’re going to go forward.”

She also noted that the properties in an area affect each other, which both buyers and sellers should consider. One seller’s move could change the property value for every house on the block. She encourages people to study the comparable properties (or “comps”) in the area before you make or take any offers.

“The numbers are what everybody in the area buys and sells their homes for,” Webb explained. “It’s affecting all of your neighbors. It’s affecting the values of the surrounding neighborhood…It’s very important to know what those comps are, because those comps in that market are going to justify what the price of your home is.”

This comparison mindset won’t just help you find the right property; it can also bring you to the right realtor. Webb recognizes that every buyer and seller has different needs, and she suggests they should consider what they need from a realtor before committing to any agency.

“Get a second opinion on your real estate brokerage,” Webb said. “Interview those agents. Just because Mom and Dad use this guy that’s been in real estate for 50 years, doesn’t mean that he’s a good fit for CJ.”

And CJ would know. Webb has been a great fit for him as he prepares to close. After all, she’s no stranger to real estate. Webb has worked as a realtor in the Riverbend area for years. She was recently recognized for her dedication to the Glen Carbon and Edwardsville chapter of the TEAM Referral Network, a group she helped build from its beginning.

Her final, most important piece of advice? The realtor matters.

“You need to know, like and trust your agent and be able to comprehend what they’re saying to you,” she said.

While real estate can be complicated, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Agents like Webb guide buyers and sellers through the process so that everyone can find the home they want.

“Third on Third With Third Street Realty” airs on the third Wednesday of each month on Our Daily Show. To have Lisa help your family buy, sell or short sale, visit thirdstrealty.com today!

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