Stress – And How to Alleviate it

Stress – And How to Alleviate it

  STRESS – And How to Alleviate it   Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary defines “stress” as follows: A state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc. Something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety Physical force or pressure   Selling a house or buying a house can most definitely cause stress. Wondering if you’re going to get enough for your house to pay off debts and have a down payment for the new one, wondering if you’re going to be strapped for cash every month, wondering how you’re going to get it all done, and then there’s the actual move – some of you are probably stressed out just reading this! So, what are some things you can do to help alleviate stress? Well, in general, we know we need to: Eat healthy foods Cut back on caffeine and sugar Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs Get plenty of sleep Exercise Be positive   But wouldn’t it be great to avoid stress altogether? I can’t promise that there will never be any hiccups in a real estate transaction, however, here are some ways you can make it as stress-free as possible. Get your paperwork together ahead of time. Ask your lender and/or Realtor what documents you will need from the beginning. That way you’re not trying to find documents from 2 years ago after you have your boxes in a storage unit. Stick to your budget. Not much stresses people more than money. Figure out what you are willing to spend and stick to it. It is not a good idea to put all your extra monthly income into a home. When you want to go to a nice dinner or take a trip to the beach, you’ll wish you had stayed within the price range you set for yourself. Hire a professional and trust them. Whether it’s a lender, inspector, Realtor, or title agent, check them out ahead of time or get a personal referral. Not that humans don’t make mistakes but the good ones will fix them and you may never even know about it. If you question every move, every step of the way, you are bound to be stressed out. If you hire trustworthy professionals, let them do their job. All you should have to think about it is moving. Don’t procrastinate. If repairs need to be done on your home to sell it, DO IT! If the lender or title attorney needs a document, GET IT! If you need to have a difficult conversation, HAVE IT! The longer you put things off, the longer you will be stressed out. Mark it off your list and you won’t have to...

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You say “Tomāto,” I say “Tomahto”

You say “Tomāto,” I say “Tomahto”

You say “Tomāto,” I say “Tomahto”   You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You say tomato, I say tomato.” Besides the way words are pronounced, they can mean different things to different people. That is certainly true when it comes to a real estate transaction. Realtors use phrases in the course of business that they understand to mean one thing. Their client may take it to mean something else entirely. Here are some examples. 1. De-clutter. To a lot of people, de-cluttering may mean moving the piles from the kitchen counter to the closet. Or, only displaying “a few” of the Precious Moments statue collection instead of the entire set. De-clutter in a Realtor’s eye means box up all unnecessary items that are taking up space in closets, on countertops, and get rid of extras that you meant to give away a year ago. Instead of a wall of photos showing the children at every age (and they are now 28 and 30), it probably means display one or two small family photos. 2. Broom clean. If a property is to be left in broom clean condition, as a Buyer, I would not start unpacking immediately upon arrival (caveat: I also wash new clothes before I wear them). Now, if you don’t care if someone else’s bread crumbs or cereal flakes are in the pantry, go ahead and put your Captain Crunch away. Personally, I would always clean or have it cleaned prior to really moving in. Yes, you will get it dirty while moving, but at least it is YOUR dirt. 3. Picture-ready. Have you looked at a photo taken of yourself and thought, “I wish someone would have noticed that one piece of hair sticking out”? The smallest things show up and look less desirable – or at least less perfect – when it’s in a photo. Is the dish towel hanging from the stove handle straight, or is the tag sticking out? Is the toilet seat up? Is the sheet tucked under the mattress so that the comforter fully covers it? Are there magnets on the refrigerator – even on the side? Some things can be fixed after a photo is taken, however, it is easier (and cheaper) to not have to fix them in the first place. 4. ASAP. We’ve all had it happen to us. We tell someone we need something ASAP and we wait impatiently while the other party is probably out having dinner or at a movie, clearly not understanding the urgency of the matter. A good rule of thumb: if your Realtor or Lender tells you they need something ASAP, move mountains to get it done.   Remember, your Realtor has the same objective...

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Market and Mortgages

Market and Mortgages

Market and Mortgages As a Realtor, on a weekly basis, I get asked about the market and mortgages. If you live in Davidson or Williamson County, TN like I do, you live in a HOT real estate market. If you live in the United States of America, you live in an area with historically low mortgage rates. There are several factors to gauge if you live in a hot market. Population increases or decreases Demographics Average income levels Major employers moving into or out of the area Employment/unemployment levels Availability of housing Local tax rates Local building and zoning restrictions   In Middle Tennessee, we are experiencing a large increase in population. We have no state income tax which makes it a very attractive place for businesses and individuals alike. These, along with the rest of the factors above are why we live in a hot real estate market. A hot real estate market is a Seller’s market. Sellers have the upper hand in negotiations, for the most part. There are typically not enough houses for sale to keep up with the demand of the number of buyers in the market and multiple offers and bidding wars are more common. A Seller’s market is defined as having less than 6 months inventory of properties. With regard to mortgages, this can definitely be a factor for a hot or cold market. Our interest rates are currently very low. When there is a threat of a rate increase, that can cause a neutral market to become hot because people want to buy while the rates are low. You may qualify for a $400,000 house today but if the rates increase, you may only qualify for $375,000. When we do get a threat of an increase, I hear a lot of people complain about what will happen. Well, people will still buy and sell property. People will still need more space, less space, get jobs, lose jobs, and even die. I think this chart is an interesting way to show rate history, and to appreciate where we are today.     So, do not worry about what kind of market you’re in or what mortgage rates are doing. If you can take advantage of a great market and a fantastic rate, go for it. If not, it is a cycle and people will always need to buy and people will always need to sell.   Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via...

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Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Are Open Houses Worthwhile?

Are Open Houses Worthwhile? When I list a home for sale, I often get asked if open houses are worthwhile. My answer varies, depending on the property. There are a lot of reasons why open houses can be a great marketing tool. There are also some reasons you may not want to have your house open to the public. First, there are two types of open houses. Broker open houses and Public open houses. Broker open houses are for real estate agents. Typically, a listing agent will have some sort of food or drink and invite other agents to come view the property. These can be as simple as coffee and pastries for a two-hour period or as elaborate as an evening event with cocktails, servers, and a band. I have found that these can be very effective for high end properties. I will let you in on a secret. When I was a brand new agent, my mentor advised me to go to as many broker open houses a week as possible. Not only was I getting market knowledge, I was getting free food! With that in mind, don’t be fooled into thinking that every agent that attends a broker open house has a potential buyer for the property. They may just be there for the food! Pros: Other agents can give their feedback on your property and may save you from making a mistake. An agent may come and realize that the property would fit one of their client’s that they would not have thought of, based on the written criteria alone. May be a safer alternative to a Public open house. Cons: You have to have your property in immaculate shape. Agents are the worst critics. You may have to be out of your property for an extended period of time. Depending on the time of year, time of day, weather, etc. there may be little to no attendees even despite the amount effort or money spent. Public open houses are typically held during the day on the weekend. These are advertised to the public in a variety of ways. A listing agent may put signs out to direct passersby to your property as well as advertise on the MLS, publications and/or mailers. This type of open house invites anyone into your property. This is a great way to get a lot of exposure for your property if the property is in a hot location or a location with a lot of drive-by traffic. Depending on the size of the property, you may ask that more than one agent is present for safety of valuables. Pros: More people view your property in a concentrated time period,...

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