Are you On Fire?

Are you On Fire?

  My business coach felt so strongly about me reading this book, she bought it and had it sent to my door! Those who know me know I am not a crier. Well, unless it has to do with animals. I have a big heart but it doesn’t typically come out in the form of tears. Until I read this book. But don’t stop reading this – it’s not a sad book. Quite the contrary. It is a triumphant and inspiring book. I was just so moved by people that made such a difference in so many simple ways, from Jack Buck to Mother Theresa, that I admit – I teared up. We have a choice when we get up in the morning. We can complain about having to get out of the warm bed on a cold day, about having to go to work, and about cleaning up the messes left by “everyone else” in the house. Or, we can choose to be grateful that we are able to get out of bed, go to work and have people to clean up after. The question, “why me?” is a question we all should ask ourselves but perhaps not in the way you are thinking. If you were 9-years-old and burned on 100% of your body, do you think you would live a radically inspired life? Well, if you had selfless people surrounding you, asking you tough questions, and loving you, you could do just what the author, John O’Leary did. On Fire is not so much about him and how he miraculously overcame the odds on his own. It is about what we can each do, every day, to live a life that changes others. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to make excuses because I am so “busy.” I think about the things I can’t do or don’t have time for. But this book challenged me to think differently. Anyone can inspire. We don’t have to travel the world, be the most successful, the smartest, or the most beautiful. We just need to want to make a difference. What are you doing to make a difference? What are you doing to live a life On...

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Divorce and Real Estate

Divorce and Real Estate

  I would venture to say that most people don’t say “I do” with an exit strategy in mind. Most people, even those that don’t necessarily prescribe to the “happily ever after” idea, look toward the future with high hopes and expectations. A lot of couples get married, buy a house, maybe have children or pets and during those years, acquire a lot of stuff. If those relationships turn into more of a nightmare than a fairytale, they can end in divorce. So, what happens to all those things you purchased while married or acquired? Well, they have to be split somehow. Kids and pets are a subject of their own and that is not a subject I am qualified to discuss. The house, however, is my specialty. There are several things that need to be considered when there is real estate involved in a divorce and they all revolve around one question: Are you selling the property or is one party keeping it? To keep things as simple as possible, financially, some people decide to sell the house when they divorce. I am not here to give you legal advice, as I am not a lawyer. I do have some tips, however, that you should consider and speak with your attorney about. When selling a vacant property (land or otherwise) there is not much more to consider, for real estate purposes, than with a normal sale. However, sometimes one party has moved out of the house and the other is staying until it sells. If this is the case, be mindful of staging. If half the furniture is gone or half the closet is empty, buyers ask questions. If tax records indicate that two parties own the home and only one appears to be living in it, negotiation power could be lost if the buyer smells divorce. Also, the person staying in the home will be the one burdened with keeping it clean and having the property shown. This may be a sacrifice worth making or you may want to re-think your decision. If one person is keeping the house in the divorce, you will want to get an inspection as well as an appraisal. Most people think about the appraisal as the way to determine value. While it can help determine market value, it doesn’t take into consideration all necessary repairs. An appraiser will look at the finishes, etc. but they won’t necessarily be able to evaluate functionality of all the systems and appliances. The party staying in the house will want to get an inspection to determine what repairs are needed and take into account age of all major systems in order to get the full picture of value....

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Do I Need to use a Realtor if I am Buying a New-Construction Home?

Do I Need to use a Realtor if I am Buying a New-Construction Home?

  The short answer – YES! I get it, you are driving around on a Saturday afternoon, you see the new neighborhood going in and you want to go look at the model. You are greeted in the model home by a very helpful agent. The agent gets you to sign in with your personal information and asks a few questions. Then they invite you to walk through their homes. They give you floor plans, price sheets, and tell you about the community amenities. As you walk through the beautifully appointed model, you realize that this is “it.” This is “the one!” You try not to get excited but the agent finds you and tells you about their current incentives which include a premium lot and extra upgrades. They can get you set up with a lender and a title company – and if you use them, they will pay for some of your closing costs. Before you know it, your stomach is growling and you realize it is dark outside. You have spoken with a lender and talked through your wish list with the agent and she has written that on a builder contract. WHOA. Take a step back. First of all, let me say, I know many wonderful agents that work for builders. They care about the potential homeowner and do a very good job communicating the process and helping them navigate through, what can sometimes be, rough waters. Let me also remind you that, those agents DO NOT work for you. They work for the builder. They have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of their client – and that is not you. Sometimes the incentives builders give can be a really good value. Other times, it may not be worth the risk to use their preferred providers. It is a good idea to have someone on your side. Someone who knows the right questions to ask and to go to bat for you if things go sideways at any point. We had a client who was having a very nice home built with a very large, well-known, national builder. The builder’s sales agent tried her best to persuade our client not to get a home inspection. She indicated that their Quality Control team was so good that there are never any issues and that they recommend just coming in the day before closing to do a walk through and learn about their warranty. Our client took our advice and got a home inspection as well as walked through a week before closing to make notes of cosmetic items that are not normally a scope of work for home inspectors. To say it was less than...

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All The Single Ladies

All The Single Ladies

    Beyoncé was just in Nashville – but I’m not talking about putting your hands up in the club. I’m talking about single women and home ownership. In the 1950’s, the median age of American women marrying for the first time was 20 – today it has risen to 27. In the 1950’s, if a woman had a job, she was typically a teacher, secretary or nurse. Today, women are surgeons, scientists, business owners and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. Women today don’t feel the need to be in a relationship before they start settling down, owning a home and even investing in real estate.   The National Association of Realtors reports that single women equal 15% of all homeowners. Over the past four years in my personal business, nearly 20% of all our clients have been single women. Some have never been married, some are divorced. Some have partners but want to own something on their own. Some have purchased properties for investment purposes and have a monthly income from their properties.   The Home Story tells us that while men are living with their parents longer, women want to own something and start building community. They may consider their current or future relationship in their home buying decision but it is not the deciding factor.   If you are a single female, living with your parents or renting a place, consider home ownership. Yes, it can be scary, but it is also empowering. Sign up for some workshops at your local hardware or home store. Learn how to lay tile, change out a faucet or install a dimmer switch. You don’t need to wait for someone to “put a ring on it” in order to take advantage of home ownership and all it offers. Talk to a local lender and Realtor. Let them explain the process, step by step. Let them guide you to the right loan products and housing options for you. Women are strong and resilient. Women can do anything – especially own a home!...

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