Where Do You Search For Real Estate?

Where Do You Search For Real Estate?

  It seems like everyone is interested in real estate. Even if you’re not in the market to sell or buy, you’re probably curious. It is interesting to know what is going on around you. What did that house down the street sell for? Or you’re driving around on a Saturday afternoon and want to know what the house you just saw with a sign in the yard is listed for. So, where do you search for real estate? Chances are, you get on your phone or tablet and open up an app. A lot of consumers I speak with say that they use apps such as Zillow or Trulia to search for properties and find sales prices and estimated values. But, there are a couple of reasons why apps and/or websites like these might not be the best ones for you. First of all, if you have been following my blogs, you have read “Is Zillow Accurate?” Secondly, apps and sites such as these are not real estate apps – they are marketing apps. They take your information and sell it. They use it to sell to lenders, real estate agents, etc. that pay for leads. Thirdly, some MLS areas have opted not to share listing information. I read one study that showed only 49% of the current MLS listings were showing up on these apps. That’s a LOT of homes not being seen by the consumer. So what is the alternative? Where do you search for real estate information that is up to date and accurate? I am glad you asked! If you live in Tennessee, download this app. It is linked directly to the local MLS in the area in which you are looking. If you live outside of Tennessee, contact me and I can get you set up in your area. This is the greatest tool that I have seen. It tells you the status of the property, how long it has been on the market, shows photos, provides school zones, room sizes, property taxes, how long it has been on the market, and more. You can make your own notes about the property, favorite properties to watch, and even schedule a showing. The other exciting part of this tool is that I can enroll current homeowners in an automated system that will provide comps for their area every 30 days. You can now be a nosey neighbor without anyone knowing. Or, even better, you can stay on top of the market so you know when it is a good time to sell and make that move to the beach you have been dreaming about! The clients and friends that are using this system are...

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Short or Long Term Rental?

Short or Long Term Rental?

  So, you have an investment property. You have checked into all the details and you are able to have a short or long term rental in that location. So which should you choose? There are many advantages to both. Let’s explore! Short Term Pros: You can use the rental for yourself or for family and friends. Simply mark that it is booked. You can block out time for necessary maintenance and repairs without disrupting a tenant and possibly having to pay for them to be displaced. Short term rental rates are much higher per night than long term rates. Many owners make their entire monthly mortgage payment renting their property for less than 2 weeks each month. If you have a less than exemplary tenant, they are only staying for a short period of time and you do not have to rent to them again. The property will be checked on a regular basis prior to people staying so any maintenance issues are typically caught quickly without doing extensive damage from an issue not being reported by a long term tenant. You can stop renting short term at any time after a short term tenant vacates. You can always decide to change to a long term rental. Long Term Pros: You (in theory) have a steady stream of income each month. You don’t have to constantly be looking for new tenants. Long term tenants may decide to stay for multiple lease terms, thus having very low turnover. Long term tenants may tend to treat the property more like their own and handle some of the smaller maintenance items themselves. Typically, if there is painting or carpet replacement needed, that is only having to be addressed on a yearly basis at minimum. You create a trusting relationship with long term tenants and “know” who is regularly in your property. Special permits and hotel taxes are not required for long term rentals. There aren’t as many regulations on long term rentals and they are less restricted.   Hopefully this will give you a general idea of whether a short or long term rental is right for you. Of course, your Realtor would be happy to help you figure out which option might be best for your particular property. Happy Short or Long Term Renting!   Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via...

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How Good Is Your Word?

How Good Is Your Word?

  Have you ever made a deal with someone you felt you had a good relationship with only to have it backfire on you? “You have my word” doesn’t have the same meaning it once did. A couple of years ago I did some work for someone who promised to pay me a certain amount. After more than a year of chasing payment and being promised the remainder, still nothing. Shame on me for not getting a contract. Shame on them for not keeping their end of the bargain. Since some people tend to use words flippantly, it begs the question, “How good is your word?” Are you one to tell a friend you’ll have dinner then constantly cancel? Do you tell a client you will follow up and then don’t? Do you say you’ll take your kids to the park and then something always comes up? Do you tell your significant other you will book that trip or do that chore and somehow it never gets done? I think we have all been guilty at one time or another. We get busy. We get distracted. We forget. What we need to remember is that someone is relying on us. Someone is hearing us and believing what we tell them. Do we want to be a person that they can count on or do we want to know that they take everything we say with a grain of salt? We probably won’t have our family member sign a contract that says they will take out the trash once a week (although that may not be a bad idea!) It is, however, a good idea any time you are doing any kind of business deal – with or without money involved – to write up a contract. Lay out each parties’ expectations. Lay out how the contract or partnership will be dissolved if/when the time comes. Lay out any compensation and all of the terms. My suggestion would be to have an attorney write this up. It doesn’t have to be elaborate if it doesn’t need to be. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to protect all parties. This will save everyone in the end. It may seem simple but not everyone does it. Your partnership may seem so strong or the “deal” so insignificant that it isn’t needed. Not so. Though we would all like to think that our partner’s word is good – we all know it may not be. Be the one who stands up and takes action on the front end to preserve the relationship later. You just might thank yourself.   Photo courtesy of patrisyu via...

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Home Inspections for New Construction

Home Inspections for New Construction

  “I am buying a new construction home, I don’t need a home inspection.” STOP!! Let’s take a step back and think about this before “saving” $500. I have heard this argument from more than one Buyer. The builder may be great. They may have great people working for them. However, even great people make mistakes. What if they had to use a new vendor or subcontractor? What if the material was defective? What if someone was rushing to beat the rain and missed something?   Many inspectors will do multiple inspections throughout the building process. There are generally 3 phases of inspection. Framing Mechanical Insulation Doing phase inspections enables inspectors to check the footers and look for any variance in framing measurements. They can view the electrical and plumbing prior to the drywall being installed as well as making sure insulation is in walls, around windows and everywhere else it should be.   Home inspector, Bill Gunther of BJK Property Inspections has seen some unfortunate things in new construction homes over the years. Plumbers have come in after framing and cut joists for piping and not properly supported the joists that were cut. This could cause structural issues, not to mention, perhaps void possible warranties. Bill has also seen entire sections of walls without insulation. Too bad the home buyer didn’t have him come in before the drywall was put in.   That brings me to the final point. Don’t fret if you found the house further along in the building process and you have not had phase inspections. A home inspector can still find things, and most likely WILL find things. It doesn’t matter how old a house is, a good inspector will find items that got missed. And don’t be fooled that “It wouldn’t have passed the Codes inspection if it wasn’t done correctly.” Again, humans make mistakes. My best suggestion is that you have a home inspection any time you buy anything someone will live in. If you need a recommendation for a good home inspector, most Realtors can give you a list of inspectors they or their clients have used or you can look online. www.Ashi.org is also a good resource.   Photo courtesy of khunaspix via...

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