New Year – New House: 5 Tips for a Head Start

New Year – New House: 5 Tips for a Head Start

If a new house is on your list for the new year, here are five tips on getting a head start: Be ready with a list. Ask yourself some questions. Why are you moving? Why do you want a new house? Why do you need a new house? One you have the answers, make a list of wants, needs, and deal breakers. As you make this list, you may find that you move some things around while you’re making it. That’s fine. You may decide to refine it even after you’ve looked at some houses. Just try to get it as close to perfect before you start seriously looking to purchase. The most important column is the “deal breakers.” Houses have a way of being very shiny sometimes. Buyers may overlook the lack of a garage (deal breaker) because the backyard is landscaped so nicely (shiny) but when it’s 35 degrees and they’re not sitting in shorts in the backyard, they may kick themselves for not sticking to their list. Make sure you keep your list with you and don’t even go see houses that have any of those deal breakers. You’ll thank yourself later. Be ready with your finances. You may be looking at snow now, but Spring and Summer is just around the corner and the housing market will be in full swing. If your market is anything like mine in the Nashville area, you MUST either have cash or be pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender. Not only do you need to make sure you have all your finances in order, so you don’t waste your time, you need to give yourself a leg up on the competition. The more you have saved for a down payment, the better. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a local, reputable lender. There are so many options for mortgages. There are plenty of good and plenty of bad. You may want to ask local Realtors who they think has the best reputation. When you are competing for a house with other pre-approved Buyers, having a pre-approval letter from a company that is known in the community to be reliable and not miss close dates may be just the thing that pushes the Seller to take your offer over someone else’s. Be ready with your time. Not only do you need to have your list and your finances, you have to have time. When a house comes on the market on Wednesday, you can’t wait until the weekend to set a time to see it. You need to make sure your current schedule will allow quick appointments. Be as flexible as possible. If you aren’t someone else will be and...

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‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

  To be jolly…or to buy a house! So many companies and industries slow down this time of year. Offices close for days at a time, the phone barely rings and employees get caught up on their personal errands. Unless you are a Realtor in the Nashville area. People are out buying houses. They are out in droves. One of my agents has three buyers looking for properties and can’t find what they are looking for. We are receiving calls to list properties and calls to purchase properties. ‘Tis the season in Nashville. So many potential Sellers think they should wait until Spring. They think it is a bad time to sell when it’s cold and gets dark at 5:00 PM. Not so. The Buyers who are looking now are serious. Why else would they want to be out when it’s cold and gets dark at 5:00 PM? It is a little extra hassle during the holidays, I understand. However, your house probably looks very homey if it is decorated with lights and festive items. There is something about coming into a house that looks warm and like it could be in a Christmas movie (more like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and less like “Christmas Vacation”). Buyers are less likely to be “looky-loo’s” so you may get less showings but the ones you will get will be more qualified and more seriously interested in your home even before walking in the door. Buyers need to realize that there will be less to choose from during this season, however, the properties you will find will typically not be the leftovers you may get in September when all the other great houses have been scooped up during Spring and Summer. They are likely people who need to move. A lot of companies transfer at the beginning of the year and a lot of Sellers get compensated to move. More often than not, the Sellers that are selling in this season are willing to bend a little more than a Seller in a time when they are receiving multiple offers during a hot selling season. So, when you’re marking things off your long list of to-do’s this season, make sure you consult your Realtor because this may be the best time to buy or sell. Happy...

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Real Estate Commissions – You Charge HOW MUCH?

Real Estate Commissions – You Charge HOW MUCH?

  I often hear from consumers that they feel real estate commission are too high. I often hear from real estate agents that real estate commissions are too low. I guess it depends on what side you’re on!  I also train a lot of agents. In doing so, I am always struck by the same sentiment from all of them. “Wow, there is a lot more to this than I thought.” Yep, there sure is. I once had a client get his real estate license in hopes to save money since he bought multiple properties each year. He very quickly realized that not only was the time invested not worth the money saved, but that he really wasn’t saving anything after all the fees and taxes were paid. As Realtors, we own our own business which comes with several perks. It also comes with a lot of liability and a lot of expenses. There are tools we need to do a great job for our clients. We need equipment, so we can keep up with technology to service our clients. We are required to take continuing education that is a benefit to clients. We pay self-employment taxes. If we have any help with paperwork, such as an office assistant or a contract to close professional, we pay for that. Most hire professionals to do things like take photographs, videos and measure houses. That all comes out of our pocket. We have errors and omissions insurance and license fees. Marketing and advertising and gas to and from properties. We also pay our companies for the benefit of the experience and advice the Brokers give us and those are just hard costs. We’ve all heard the expression, “time is money.” Why are so many people so opposed to paying others for their time? Just like those new agents discover, there is a lot of time spent during the buying and selling process that most clients never see. Phone conversations with clients and agents, emails, text messages, drive time to appointments, scheduling and rescheduling showing appointments, inspections, appraisals, reviewing offers, drafting offers, negotiating, late nights and early mornings, coordinating closings with title companies to make sure that all the client needs to do is show up! Those are just a sample of things that Realtors spend their time doing behind the scenes, so their client doesn’t have to worry about anything but the move. Yes, time is money. Most of us think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars to go see our favorite entertainer or sports team but we balk at paying a professional Realtor handle the details of, quite possibly, the biggest investment we will make in our life. Before I...

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Nashville Investment Property

Nashville Investment Property

  Nashville is the “It” city. It has been ranked the #1 housing market in the nation. Depending on the day, we hear that 80-100 people move to Nashville every day. We were named the #1 Minor League Baseball city. We are in the Top 20 cities for tech jobs, #6 for young professionals and #7 for millennials. We are among the Top 10 cities in which to launch a career and Nashville has the third fastest growing large Metro economy. The list goes on and on. But, with all these accolades, does that mean that Nashville is a great place to buy investment property? Yes and no. With Nashville’s influx of residents, we have also had low inventory. Because a lot of those are millennials and young professionals, the demand for properties under $200,000 has increased significantly. Typically, this is where investors like to buy. They can get in a property for a decent price, rent it out for an attractive price, and still get a nice return on their investment every month. We were getting multiple calls a week for a while from people all across the country that wanted to invest in Nashville. Most used the word that investors dream about, “deal.” “I want to get a deal.” “I’m looking for a deal.” “Where can I find a deal?” and “If you find a deal, I’ll buy it.” Well, the truth of the matter is, there really aren’t many, if any, “deals” in Nashville right now. First time home buyers, young professionals, millennials and investors are all competing over the same property. Investors that have cash may be more attractive to sellers, however, cash is not always king and not all investors have cash. Some sellers don’t want to sell to an investor and will take an offer from an owner-occupant over an investor because they either want to help the “little man” or they don’t like the thought of renters living in the home they have loved for years. Another pitfall of investors is thinking that cash is king – no matter the offer. Sellers won’t necessarily take thousands less for their home just to have it close in two weeks. Some would rather wait another 2- 3 weeks and make more in the long run. If you plan on investing but you are getting a loan, you are in the same boat, for the most part, that owner-occupants are in and you will find the Nashville market a tough one to compete in. The best thing to do is to find the properties before they go on the market or at very least, the same day. Find a Realtor that diligently hunts for properties...

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