Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

  While it may not seem like the sun will ever shine again and the temperatures will rise, it is happening. The days are already longer. Soon we will see buds popping up out of last year’s mulch, lightning bugs will appear and I will be scratching mosquito bites. Here comes the sun, and with it, home buyers! What can you do to make sure your house looks the best for potential buyers? I have written a lot about how to make your home look great and if you are in the market to sell, you have probably read everything about big projects and must-do’s. So, here are some quick tips for when you getting ready and once you are on the market. Exterior A potential buyer will park and walk up to your house. Take that same route and take a broom with you. Clean up driveways, sidewalks and porches. Some people may not think this is a big deal but it may be one of the first things a buyer sees. Afterall, they will be looking for the address and if your mailbox is in the front, they will see it. Clean it off and, if necessary, apply a fresh coat of paint. Clean up any landscaping around it to make sure it is neat. Above all, just make it neat and clean. You don’t have to plant new things in the ground and wait until everything is blooming. A few nicely placed pots with colorful annuals can dress up an otherwise dull exterior, both in the front and the back of the house.   Interior Pack closets. You’re moving. Start to pack. People need to see space in closets One of the most common requests from Buyers is STORAGE! Don’t make it look like nobody lives there, just make it look like there is plenty of room for everything the Buyer would need to store. De-clutter kitchen. Kitchens have a way of accumulating things we think we need or use on a regular basis. Coffee makers, blenders, toasters, spices, candy jars, fruit and vegetable holders, all seem to make their way onto the counter and never leave. This makes it look like there is not enough counter space or cabinets. If you truly do not use it every day, get it off the counter. If you don’t use it much at all, you may be able to pack it away, otherwise, put it in a cabinet but make sure to be thoughtful in the things you keep handy. Buyers will look in every drawer and cabinet and you want to make sure things are clean, organized, and spacious feeling. Floor space. Toys, shoes, bags, etc. tend...

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

In real estate, what’s love got to do with it? Well, everything and nothing. I have helped hundreds of people buy houses who have fallen in love with “everything about it” only to sell it a few years later. So what gives? Did they really not love it in the first place or did one of them change?  Here are three things to consider when falling in love with a house. Things WILL change.Neighbors will move in or out so the ones you adore today, may be gone tomorrow and the new ones may not be as desirable as the previous ones. The big tree that shaded you during those hot summer days could topple in a storm. Make sure your love isn’t conditional or you may fall out of love at the first sign of “trouble.” You have to maintain it.It may have looked like a model home when you first saw it. You may have heard angels singing in your head. Who is going to take care of cleaning it, changing lightbulbs, pulling weeds, unclogging drains, replacing the HVAC unit? You are. Or you will need to pay someone. Either way, it’s your responsibility. Will you still love the house if/when it costs you thousands of dollars? You may have to leave.Unexpected things occur. You may get married and your new spouse doesn’t have the same feeling toward the house as you do. You may get divorced and have to leave it behind or sell it. You may outgrow it. If you grow your household and have children or animals, they may require more bedrooms or a bigger yard. You may have an injury. If the bedroom is upstairs and you can’t easily navigate stairs, will you sleep on the couch forever? We throw the word love around so easily. But when it comes to real estate and one of the largest investments most people will make, there needs to be more than love to help make your decision. Does it meet your needs? Does it have the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require? Does it have a floor plan that works for you? Does it have the outdoor space you desire? Is the location convenient? Do you see a job change in your future? Will that make the commute unbearable? Is it near the places you already frequently visit? Will it require more time/money than you have or are willing to spend? There is nothing worse than being excited about buying a house and then being house poor. Not being able to go out with friends or take vacations because your house costs you too much money is not a life most want to live....

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A House is Not a Home

A House is Not a Home

  A house is not a home. It is a respite. It is an escape. It is a place where celebrations occur. Relationships develop, families are formed, animals are raised, memories are made and love abides. I am a Realtor. I enjoy matching people with houses and being able to help others sell their property to build wealth or to move on to a new house to make new memories. What I love the most, however, is after the closing happens. I am so fortunate that many, if not most, of my clients were either friends before or became friends during and after I helped them buy or sell their property. I get invited to events, holidays, and parties at their homes. I get to see their kids grow up. I celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings and births with them. The house I helped them buy becomes so much more than four walls and a roof. It is where life is lived and memories are made. It is their home. I tell you this because, yes, I love what I do and I truly believe I deliver a valuable service. The point is, buying a house doesn’t make a home. People make a home. Memories make a home. The house you buy will not make you happy. A house will not heal relationships and cure illness. It will not keep families together and cause rainbows to shine from its windows. What I do can facilitate the process of a new beginning. The house can be a foundation (no pun intended) to build on. Put the emphasis on what’s truly important. Don’t worry if you don’t keep up with the Jones’s. The Jones’s may not have love and peace in their house. Take time to make memories and not be so concerned with competing and having the next best thing. A house is not a home, the people are. Value them and make lasting memories that will transcend those four...

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We’re Building a Pool!

We’re Building a Pool!

You’ve bought a house – congratulations! Now you’re thinking about summertime in your new home and declare, “we’re building a pool!” So, you call pool companies, get quotes and design options and choose one that you are excited about. Eric is a nice guy and he gives you a good deal. You sign on the dotted line and he says they can start digging in about two weeks. He comes out to measure and talks to you about setbacks and septic lines – did you say septic lines? If you have a septic system, you have some extra due diligence. The story continues. Eric calls a few days later and tells you the pool needs to be moved because the County imposed a new rule that no part of the pool can be off to the side of the house. OK. Round two. He redraws the design and you approve it. It didn’t have to be moved much and you think it will still look good though you won’t be able to see it all out your side windows like you had hoped. They now can start digging the pool in about another 2 weeks. Onward! The next time Eric calls, it better be to say they are on their way with shovels. Nope, not this time. This time it is to say that the pool needs to be moved further down in the yard, a tree will need to be removed and that with the new design, you will need more pavers and, of course, more money. Ugh. You look at the design, decide that it is actually going to look better than the original and, it’s only money, right? Let’s move forward. Now it is another two weeks before they can begin to dig but at least you can have a pool before summer. Eric calls a few days later with more news, and not the kind you were hoping for. Guess what? That septic system is in the worst possible place, not at all like you thought, and it is not going to be possible to dig a pool anywhere in your yard with all the rules and restrictions. Now what? Well, you do have one final option. Connect to sewer. Sounds easy enough. Bwahahaha. The utility companies have to mark the lines and they have 45 days in which to do so. Tick tock. Then the permits have to be pulled and the actual connection needs to take place but not before paying the connection fee as well as the assessment. About $5000.00 later, you can now have the septic system shut down and the plumbing hooked up to sewer. This means about another $10,000...

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Not as Good as the Original

Not as Good as the Original

  Don’t you hate when a classic movie is remade and you are so excited to see it but then so disappointed when it it’s not as good as the original? How about when they came out with the new Coke? What were they thinking? Some things can be improved upon. Some companies learn from previous experience and customer feedback and their new product is actually new and improved. How does this translate into real estate? Many home purchasers will walk into a model home and say, “I’ll take it!” Only after sitting down with the on-site agent will they realize that the cost of the model home is substantially more than the base price due to all the upgrades that are in the model they loved so much. Similarly, you may have seen a house built by a smaller, local builder and decided to contract with them to build that same house on another lot they have. You may be disappointed with the quality of craftsmanship or the customer service (or lack thereof) throughout the process. Three lessons here: Hire a professional Realtor to represent you. A lot of on-site agents do a great job. They can recite every feature and upgrade, help you decide which lot will be best, and even let you know what they think the builder might accept as an offer and what he might throw into the price of the home. The thing you need to remember is that they do not represent you. They represent the builder – the Seller. A Realtor who represents you can also help in terms of local reputation of builders. If they have worked in the area for any number of years, they will likely have had some experience with the builder you are looking at. She may even have a relationship with them or their agent and may be able to use that to your advantage when it comes to negotiations. Hire a home inspector and have the house inspected at various times throughout construction. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it’s great. Faulty materials and simple human error can be to blame. Your neighbor’s house may have been built well by the same builder but if the crew was different, yours may have totally different issues. A home inspector can inspect the house during construction and they will have access to the framing and the guts of the house prior to the drywall going in and hiding potential problems. Don’t get too caught up in the “model home”. Model homes are just that “models.” They typically have that perfect look – everything you would want. The question is, “at what price?” Sometimes builders will...

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Dude Looks Like a Lady

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Not everything is as it seems these days. In music, this is true in songs like Dude Looks Like a Lady and Funky Cold Medina, genders were not what they seemed. In real estate, lipstick on a pig is probably the description that would best describe what I’m talking about. Sometimes we can get very caught up in the exterior. We love the facelift the house has or that the flooring is all new. We may even be buying a brand new house and love that we won’t have to deal with all those issues like in a 75-year old house. Well, not so fast. Not everything may be as it seems and there may be more – or less – than what meets the eye. This is why it is so important to have two people on your side. A great Realtor and a great home inspector. First, your Realtor has likely seen a LOT of crazy things in their experiences and can warn you as to some of the things they have seen in the past. Second, they will (hopefully) be very honest with you and help you be realistic and see the house for what it is, not just what it seems to be. This can work the opposite way as well. Your agent may know that you really want a solidly built home and that getting an older home with “great bones” would be better for you than a new construction home that was built in a few months, based on known quality issues of the builder. A great home inspector will make sure that you know the true condition of the property, not just if things are operable or not. They will check everything from the foundation to the roof and everything in between. They can check for mold, radon, and structural issues. You need not be alarmed by all the little details since all houses have issues,  but listen to the warning signs. If there are red flags in the inspection report that could be continuous issues, take heed. You don’t want to get into a money pit, no matter how good the house may look. Bottom line is, you can change cosmetic items in a house to make it be what you are looking for – and at a fairly minimal cost depending on your needs. It is much harder and costlier to fix a house that is sliding down a hill in the backyard because the structure has not been properly maintained. Do your research, hire professionals, and don’t get fooled by the dude that looks like a...

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