Puppy Prozac

Puppy Prozac

  Anyone who knows me, knows my love for animals – especially my two dogs. They have been constantly by my side through many things in my life, one for the last 14 years, the other for 9. The youngest one has always been full of energy. She would chase a ball or a Frisbee for hours. At some point, the energy turned a bit negative and she and her “sister” would get into fights. Something would set her off and they would just go at it. Many tears were shed and quite a bit of money was spent on vet visits and trainers. As her behavior worsened, I finally started putting puzzle pieces together.  She had anxiety, and lots of it. I found a trainer that specialized in these behaviors and we discussed medications since behavioral training alone hadn’t seemed to help much. I took her to the vet and they prescribed her what I call “Puppy Prozac”. I felt bad. For a lot of reasons. I felt bad having to put her on a daily medication. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her any other way. But most of all, I felt bad that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took some time for it to take affect but she is much calmer now. It didn’t change her personality as I had feared and it didn’t take away all her OCD and anxious behavior, but I can leave without her tearing things up and there have been no more vet visits because of sibling rivalry. I realized that I was making excuses. I was brushing it under the rug. I didn’t want to admit there was something wrong. I just thought it was her personality and that I would just have to live with it. What I didn’t consider was how much happier she would be once she took a little pill every day. I see this with homeowners. What? Puppy Prozac? Well, not exactly. What I mean is, I see houses that clearly have some issues. Anyone walking in the door would recognize it immediately but the homeowner doesn’t want to admit it. They don’t want to take responsibility, do the work, or spend the money. So, they let it go. And the result is, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse. That hairline crack that showed up a few years ago that has gotten bigger. The door that was sticking that now won’t even close. The wood that was wet that you can now stick a finger through. The gutters that have been clogged and have turned into water running down the wall in the living room. Most of these things would be fairly...

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It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

  You can feel it, finally. The crisp air in the morning and the cooler temperatures at night. Pumpkins on porches, pumpkin desserts, and pumpkin spice in your coffee. Fake spiderwebs that I think are just an excuse to not clean the real ones. Ghosts and skeletons hanging in trees, haunted houses, hayrides and corn mazes. It’s Fall Y’all! With the change of season comes a change of market. Some people would never dream of selling their house anytime but Spring, but let me give you some reasons why you may decide now is the time, and what you need to do if you pull the trigger. 1. It isn’t so hot. I must say, it isn’t such a pleasant experience to show Buyers houses in the heat of summer in the South. You get in a hot car, burn yourself on the seatbelt and leave sweat marks on the seat. You turn on the A/C and get hot air blowing around the cabin. It cools down about the time you are at your next stop and then you step out into the humid heat. You want to look at the outside but you are already sweating profusely. The lock sticks and you struggle to get the door open to get into the cool house. There is a sense of relief once you step inside but the only thing you can think is, “Do you think they’d notice if I took a shower?” Looking in the attic and the crawl space is not something you will want to spend much time doing because of heat and possible critters. So, heat can put a negative feeling in a Buyer’s head about a house that they normally would have given a second look. 2. The kids are back in school. If Buyers have children, it is not necessarily “fun” to take them to see houses. For one thing, they can be emotional over not wanting to move. Secondly, they get bored. They get into things. They want a snack. They need to pee. They want your attention. They want to go outside. Or, they love every house they see and they don’t want to leave any of them. Either way, it can detract the parents from really getting a good look at the house and seeing what they need to. You might not be able to make the best decision or you may miss some things because the kids are around. 3. Colors are beautiful. If the leaves are changing colors, nature has done decorating for you. Oranges, reds, and yellows can add a warm, welcoming feel to a home. Feel free to use pumpkins and fall flowers to decorate but make...

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When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits

  Being in the real estate business since 2004 and being the Managing Broker of firm, I have seen, heard, and experienced quite a bit. I never say, “I’ve seen it all,” because just when I think I have, something new happens. But I digress. I would say the main thing I have learned is that not all real estate agents or clients are created equal and sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. One of my agents had a listing that a non-resident buyer had under contract. The Buyer’s agent had a full-time job and couldn’t answer the phone, email, or text about real estate until after 5:00. The lender for the Buyer was not communicating and the agent couldn’t, and the buyer didn’t speak English. The Buyer was jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the loan, doing everything necessary and yet the closing date kept being pushed back – 5 times to be exact. To complicate matters more, the Seller was buying a house whose owner had to sell before they could buy the house they had under contract and that family had to sell to them before they could close on the house they were buying. 4 families were being effected, all sleeping on the floor because they thought they were going to close weeks ago. My agent communicated everything she knew but was not sure she was ever getting the whole story, nonetheless, the truth. She went to the Buyer’s lender’s office (which happened to be his house) and banged on the door, demanding answers, only to be faced with more half-truths and more delays. While she fought for the Buyer that wasn’t even her client, the Buyer’s agent was nonchalant and did very little to help, nor did he feel any responsibility toward the 4 families whose lives were in limbo for weeks. When he was asked to help so his client could close and the others could move forward as well, he refused. My agent stepped in, yet again, and got the deal done for everyone. Most agents would have given up well before it got to that point. This is why it is so important to find a real estate agent that you trust and one that will not only fight for you but fight to get the deal done if that is what everyone wants. If she hadn’t taken the reigns and exhausted herself, 4 families would have had to move back into their homes or continue sleeping on their floors while they put their homes back on the market. On the other side, agents, you need to understand that not all clients are created equal....

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New Kid in Town

New Kid in Town

  What if someone would buy a house for you? With cash. Let you move into it, and then you could buy it from them at the same price and terms as they bought it? Too good to be true? Actually, it’s not. There’s a new kid in town and their name is Ribbon. Ribbon is backed by venture capitalists who wanted in the real estate game. Ribbon saw a gap in needs that were not being met and created a solution. There are plenty of iBuyer-type programs. Those are the programs that will give you an offer on your current home. Typically, the offer is quite a bit less than market value and they charge you fees of, up to around 12% in order to not sell the traditional way. That is certainly one way to go about selling your current home but what if you know it will sell, you just need a bit more time? What if you need to do some painting or some improvements to the house that will be so much easier if you don’t live there? What if you really want to go ahead and move into that new house now so the kids can get settled into school? But wait – you need the money you are going to make from the sale of your current house in order to buy that house. Darn it. You could get a bridge loan, but that takes time and you really don’t want to deal with all the paperwork. Moving into an apartment until you sell the house is an option but that means you are moving twice and that’s not ideal. Staying with friends or family is not really a great solution since you would be inconveniencing them and most of your stuff would be in storage. You could take that lowball offer from Zillow or Opendoor but you need more than what you would net from that for the down payment on your new house. In walks Ribbon. Ribbon will buy the new house for you – with cash! The only contingency in the contract will be inspection. This not only makes your offer better, but they can close within a couple of weeks and you can move in. You will pay rent – just to cover their costs – and you will have 6 months to sell your house and buy the new house back from them at the same terms. Unlike the steep fees that some of the other companies charge, Ribbon charges 1.95% of the purchase price of the new house. Just like the other companies, not all houses will qualify, but it is another great option to explore....

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Trust

Trust

  Trust is an interesting thing. It is free to give, but costly if lost. If it is broken, it may never be repaired and sometimes, trust is irreplaceable. A friend told our secret. A colleague got the promotion by taking credit for our hard work. A contractor stole from us. A parent didn’t do what they said they would do. Words. An action. We’ve all had our trust betrayed somehow. It is disappointing. It hurts. What do you do when that trust is broken in a real estate transaction? Let’s take a look. You own a house that had some storm damage on the roof. You were able to get your insurance to pay out on a claim. You weren’t having any major leaks so you did a quick fox and used the rest of the money for some other improvements you’ve been wanting to make. Fast forward a year. You are selling the house. You’ve disclosed a few things you knew might come up but your house is in pretty good shape, overall, and it’s a hot market so it should sell fast. You receive two full price offers right away. Well that was easy! You decide on the one that had the best terms and moved forward. As suspected, a few things came up on inspection but no big deal. There was a question about some shingles on the roof but the inspector said it looked like there had been a repair and there were no active leaks. Then you get a call from your agent. He asks some more detailed questions about the roof and you start to get nervous. Apparently the Buyer was shopping for insurance for their “new home” and the agent pulled a CLUE report on your house. “A what?,” you think. It stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. In layman’s terms, it’s a record of insurance losses. Remember that claim you filed? Remember that money you received? There’s a record of it. So, the Buyer knows you were paid for an entire new roof to the tune of $6500.00. That money is long gone and the old roof is still there. The buyer demands a new roof. You can’t deliver. You lose the buyer. Well, that’s OK, just go back to the other buyer, right? Not so fast. Now there is a disclosure issue. You have to (or should) tell that other buyer the situation. If you don’t, your agent should. They will probably want a new roof too, or a reduction in the sales price, or they may not trust you now and wonder what else you aren’t telling them. When you do something to lose trust, you could it...

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5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor

  WHO Who are you affiliated with? The company doesn’t necessarily make a difference but, are they on a team? Who is their Broker? Who can they call on if they need help or have questions during your transaction? If they are part of a team, it typically means you will always have someone to contact if you have questions or want to see a property. Not many individual Realtors have seen everything in the real estate world so it is always good to have resources to pull from.   WHAT What is your process for helping me purchase or sell a property? Do they have a written outline or flow chart of what to expect? If not, they may not be organized enough to have taken the time to prepare or they may be flying by the seat of their pants, so to speak. Make sure they know the process well. There are a lot of moving parts and details that can easily be missed if there aren’t checks and balances. You don’t want to be responsible for making sure the “I’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed.   WHEN When can I expect to hear from you? Don’t expect to communicate with your Realtor every day unless there are things that need to be discussed, however, it is a good idea to understand when and how often is reasonable to expect updates. This is a good time to give them your expectations of how and how often you’d like to receive updates as well. Realtors aren’t mind readers so make sure you make your needs clear so you are not frustrated or disappointed.   WHY Why should I use you? What sets them apart? Do they specialize in what you are selling or looking for? Do they have extensive experience with your demographic? You may be looking for someone who has a lot of time to devote to you personally or you may prefer someone who has a lot of business and, therefore, may not be as personally, immediately available. Make sure their qualifications meet your expectations prior to hiring them, otherwise you may be underwhelmed with the service you receive.   HOW How will you market my needs? Whether you are buying or selling, your Realtor should be letting others know what you have to sell or what you want to buy. There are not only a plethora of public places to market, but Realtors have access to private groups and networking opportunities to make your needs/wants known to professionals that may have the means to meet that exact need.   As in any other business relationship, you need to feel comfortable that they can...

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