Blank Space

Blank Space

  As I stare at the blank space before me on my screen, I can’t help but think about the correlation to the New Year. There is something freeing about a fresh start. Whatever happened this past year, either good or bad, is gone. I love the thought of a clean slate. When I moved from Phoenix to Nashville so many years ago, I was so excited to start a new life – a rebirth of sorts.     As I reflect on the year that is passed, I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life: My family and friends, my team members, my Mastermind group, my BNI group, my business coach, and my clients. This past year, we have helped dozens of individuals and families, first time home buyers and investors buy or sell homes and land in the Middle Tennessee area. I am so grateful for all of them. Some have moved out of state as far west as California and as far east as Virginia but most have stayed right here around Nashville. 35% of our clients this past year were repeat clients and almost all were a referral from another client and/or have referred us to someone new. That is how our business grows and we appreciate all those that have helped us reach our goals.   We have seen a lot of changes in the real estate industry over the past year, both nationally and locally. The Federal Government instated TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure) in October, TREC changed rules in advertising for local real estate agents and agencies, and AirBnB has come to Nashville in full force. Our team has seen a lot of changes as well. We look back on 2015 and learn from our successes and our mistakes. We look forward to 2016 and the opportunities that lie ahead.   We wish you much happiness and success in the coming year. If your plans or goals involve purchasing or selling property in the Middle Tennessee area, we are here to help. You are welcome to help us reach our 2016 goal!   Photos courtesy of adamr, niamwhan, mrpuen, Stuart Miles, and scottchan via...

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Goal Setting

Goal Setting

  There are many ways to approach goal setting. As we wind down yet another year, most of us are already looking ahead to 2016. Some people may set New Year’s resolutions. Others set SMART goals. Some don’t even bother because they weren’t successful in the past. I like vision boards and goals that correspond to those items. I have long term and short term but all lead to a future that I design. I have set goals in many different ways and I have found a few things that tend to help me.   Think BIG. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Many people will tell you that you need to set realistic goals. I agree…to a point. You don’t want to make your goals SO out there that they should be part of a dream sequence in a movie. If you can’t sing your way out of a tin can, don’t have a goal to be a Grammy winning vocalist. On the other hand, I believe you should have some goals that you feel are just outside of your reach. I have found that, for me, it makes me work harder than I may have if all my goals are easily attainable and I typically attain more than I thought I could. Think SMALL. I know I just said the opposite, but I mean be specific. If you want to take a vacation, think about where you want to go, when you want to travel and how long you will stay. How many new contacts do you want per month? How many face to face appointments will you have per week? How many phone calls will you make per day? When looking to the future, I like to reflect on where I’ve been. What worked and what didn’t? How many sales did I have last year? If it was easy, maybe I need to increase my goal for this year. If it was hard, I need to be truthful with myself and ask if I could have made it easier or if I need to stick to that same goal to nail it this year. Make it fun. For me, if it’s fun, it makes an impression on me and I tend to remember it and have an easier time achieving it. I like to make vision boards with pictures and words. I am motivated by seeing these hanging in my office every day. It’s hard to slack off when a picture of an over the water villa in The Maldives is staring me in the face. I WILL get there and I won’t get there if I waste time – so I get...

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Is a Home Warranty Worth the Money?

Is a Home Warranty Worth the Money?

  In order to know whether a home warranty is worth the money, we need to have a clear picture of what it is and how it works. A home warranty is similar to a warranty you may get on a car. If your car starts making a funny noise and you take it into the shop, the warranty may cover the labor and parts but you may pay a small service fee. On the other hand, if the warranty has disclaimers that preclude that funny noise, you may be paying full price for that repair.   There are several ways to purchase or receive a home warranty. You can purchase one directly from a warranty company, for a home you currently own. You can purchase one at closing for a new property you are acquiring. A Seller can purchase a home warranty for you per the Purchase and Sale Agreement and it will take effect on your closing date. A builder can provide one for you at time of closing when you purchase a new construction home. The cost varies, depending on square footage and what is covered and they typically come with varying service fees. I have seen them range from around $300 to over $1000. So, is it worth it? My opinion is, it is only worth it if you need to use it for a covered item. I have had clients purchase them and never use them. I have also had clients who have purchased them and received a brand new HVAC unit during the coverage period.   If you think of it like an insurance company, you may understand the logic. Many insurance companies are notorious for trying to find ways to get out of paying a claim. You paid your co-pay when you went to the doctor or you paid your deductible when the shingles were blown off your roof but the company continues to tell you, “that’s not covered.” Well, some home warranties can be similar. Some can also save you a ton of money – but, again, only if you need to use it on a covered claim.   Like most things, some people have had good experiences and some have had bad ones. Overall, I would say that they are worth it. A warranty for the typical house, under 5000 square feet, is not going to cost more than about $550. When you compare that to the cost of a new HVAC, I’d say it’s worth it.   Tips for purchasing a home warranty: Do your research. Research several companies and look at the reviews. Most warranties are for 12 months, but some may be transferred from the current owner...

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Realtors are like Santa’s Elves

Realtors are like Santa’s Elves

Santa has them. They just build toys and eat candy all day, right? I bet there is more than meets the eye in the job description. How do they learn to build all the different toys in the world? They would have to go to school to learn. And what happens when new technology comes out? They’d have to go back to school to learn about all the changes. They would have to take care of the reindeer and make sure they are in tip-top shape and ready for their big flight across the world. They would likely need to understand how the sleigh works, too, and know how to do simple repairs in case of emergency. Ever wondered how Santa knows which toys each child gets? Elves probably have spreadsheets and paperwork galore to keep it all straight. I am not sure if Santa has a cleaning crew, but I bet the elves do their share of cleaning so that everything sparkles and shines.   People.howstuffworks.com says that “elves would have to be powerful, energy-packed beings in order to fill Santa’s quota of gift-making” and that they are probably “feisty… hard-wired for constant activity.” Kidzworld.com tells us, “the average elf makes enough cash to support him/herself up in the North Pole, but it’s not enough money to retire on. Most elves are in their line of work for the love of Christmas and the kids that their toys bring joy to, not the moola.”   So, how are Realtors like Santa’s elves? Well, they do a lot more than meets the eye. I have people say to me, “Oh, I love looking at houses. I bet it is so fun.” Yes, it is fun. It is also A LOT of work. The good ones go to school, keep up with the latest changes in our industry, technology, neighborhoods and developments, learn and understand a lot about houses and mortgages that is outside our scope of work, do simple repairs, make sure houses sparkle and shine for showings, do tons of paperwork and spend hours on the phone.   But Realtors get paid a ton! They get a big fat check at the closing table. Yep, we do. We get paid when we sell something, not necessarily for all the hours we worked. Out of that check we pay our licensing fees, association fees, broker fees, MLS fees, we buy lock-boxes, pay the fee for the card that gets us into those lock-boxes, signs, business cards, phones, computers, tablets, gas, oil changes, and car washes for our vehicles that we drive clients in. Since most Realtors are not employees, Uncle Sam collects self-employment taxes. Again, without an employer contributing...

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5 Mistakes Buyers Make

5 Mistakes Buyers Make

  I was recently asked what the biggest mistake I see buyers make. I have worked with hundreds of Buyers and while they are all different, there are some pitfalls that I see repeatedly. Hopefully you can learn from others and not have to experience these yourself. At very least, if you find yourself falling into one of these holes, get out as quickly as possible!   Thinking they need to see EVERY SINGLE HOUSE in the area in their price range before making a decision. I have clients make a list of wants, needs, and deal breakers. With most clients, if they have given us all the information in the initial meeting as far as what they are looking for, we can find a good fit for them in 10 houses or less. Don’t insist on seeing all houses in a neighborhood if they don’t all fit your criteria. You don’t need to see the house if it is significantly above your price range if you are in a Seller’s market. Chances are, the seller is not going to give you a significant discount off their house just because you like it. Of course, there are always exceptions, however, this is where a good Realtor can help by running comps and finding out if they are overpriced or within the market.   I had an initial meeting with a prospective client one Monday afternoon. When the couple arrived, the wife had a flyer in her hand that they had picked up at an open house the day before. The loved the house. As we discussed their wants, needs, and deal breakers, they agreed that this house fit all their needs and checked most of the boxes they were looking for. They had looked enough online that they weren’t worried about something better coming along next week. Before they left my office, I helped them write an offer on the house I hadn’t even seen in person. That was May of 2012 and they still live in the same house today. So, guess what? They made the right decision and didn’t regret not spending every weekend for 6 weeks looking at houses!   Believing “if it’s meant to be, it will still be there”. I am all about people praying before they make a decision – especially with a decision as significant as buying a house. If that is your belief, then by all means, do it. I also think we have brains for a reason and people are put into our path in the form of mentors or advisors for a reason, like Realtors. If your Realtor tells you that if you want a house, you’d better not wait...

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