Too Little, Too Late: 7 Steps to a Great Professional Experience

Too Little, Too Late: 7 Steps to a Great Professional Experience

Have you ever been in a restaurant and had mediocre to poor service and when it came time for the server to bring the check they all of a sudden changed their attitude and cared about your experience? Or how about the contractor who is working on your house that doesn’t care, tries to cover up issues instead of solve them, then follows up to “make sure you were happy with their service” and ask for referrals. Too little, too late. I see this in home buying, home selling and home building. A Buyer will write a lowball offer and then be very upset when a Seller accepts another offer before theirs is worked out. Too little, too late. If they really wanted the house, they should have offered a fair price to begin with and the Seller would be more negotiable and feel more a sense of urgency to come to agreement. Sellers will play hard ball when it comes to inspection results and items buyers are asking for. Then when the Buyer backs out of the contract because their requests aren’t being fulfilled, the Seller tries to throw money at it. Too little, too late. Home builders will take short cuts, leave things undone, not use proper materials, do the bare minimum and ignore requests to make it right, then come groveling when you mention you are speaking with your attorney. Too little, too late. As a consumer, listen to the experts. Your Realtor or representative does this every day. They see what Buyers and Sellers are doing, how the market is responding to certain situations and can advise you on the best way to handle it. We are all busy and so many of us have too much but we need to be conscience of not taking things on if we can’t do the job or not do it right. We all have reputations. We all have people we can refer and ask for referrals for business. Here are some tips on ways to make sure you and your client/customer have a great experience: Set expectations at the beginning. Ask how they like to be communicated with and how often. Let them know your process and how you manage it. Ask what would make this a great experience for them. Review contracts, quotes, etc. together before starting the job. Tell them you expect feedback before, during, and after the job is complete. When an issue arises, handle it immediately. Don’t make the mistake of giving someone too little, too late. Your reputation and possibly your income can depend on...

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Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain, Rain Go Away

  With all the recent hurricanes, rain is on the forefront of people’s minds. Rain and water can do a lot of damage to a home. Here are some common issues from water and some ways to make the rain, rain, go away.   ROOF LEAKS Find a reputable roofing contractor. I have a great one that will do free inspections. If they find anything that needs to be repaired, they will let you know so you can fix it for a lot less than if you waited until you have water coming in through your kitchen ceiling. Sometimes a fix can be as simple as making sure there are no exposed nail heads. If you keep up with the regular, smaller repairs, you can extend the life of your roof and save yourself money overall.   GUTTER DOWNSPOUTS Gutters are supposed to catch water and direct it away from your house. There are a few things that need to happen to make sure they do their job correctly. They need to be sloped correctly. Water should not sit in the gutters. If it can’t get to the downspouts, it can flow over the top and get into your house in a number of ways. Gutters need to have downspouts. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen plenty of water spilling out onto a patio or in a yard from the second story because there was no downspout attached. Another important element of downspouts is that they divert the water away from the house. They can only do this if they flow out to a splash block (turned the correct way) or if they extend or are buried out into the yard, far enough away from the house. Gutters need to be clean and free of debris. Again, if water can’t flow freely in and out of the gutters, it can’t do its job. Clean them out regularly – more if you have trees near your roof – or get a guard of some sort to keep debris out.   BASEMENTS AND CRAWL SPACES This is a biggie. CHECK YOUR CRAWL SPACES!!! I have seen more sales fall through because of water/moisture issues in a basement or a crawl space. Here in Tennessee, we have humidity. If the slightest bit of water gets into a basement or crawl space, you are asking for trouble. Learn how to properly use and operate your basement and crawl space vents for your area’s conditions. If you have water, get it out. Mold can start to grow and water can ruin and rot materials that are designed to insulate and support the structure of your home. There are many solutions,...

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You’ve got the keys, now what? 5 Things to do as soon as you buy a house.

You’ve got the keys, now what? 5 Things to do as soon as you buy a house.

  You have signed your life away. You’ve stressed out over everything falling into place and the day is finally here and you have bought your dream house. You’ve got the keys, now what? Well, now the fun begins. There are so many things that you can do to make your house your own. Here are a few that I think are top of the list: Change the locks. Unless you bought a brand new construction home that has an owner key that trips the locks as soon as you use it the first time, this is a MUST. You have no idea how many keys are out there to your new house. The Seller can tell you they gave you all the keys but they may have forgotten about the house cleaner they left a key for just to clean after they moved out. If they didn’t get the locks changed when they moved in, the previous handyman could have a key. It is a very inexpensive first step that can give you real peace of mind. While we’re on the subject of peace of mind… Set the alarm. Have an alarm installed or get the existing system checked and begin monitoring. You are going to be in and out of the house. You will have many people in and out of the house as well. People will see your belongings being brought in, and, some may take notice of your nice things. You will be exhausted and may forget to lock up properly when you leave. The best deterrent for thieves is a good alarm system that is armed. Just remember to arm it when you leave or go to bed! Hire a designer. I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t afford to hire a designer – I just bought a house!” There are many designers that will just charge a consultation fee and will help you with everything from where great-grand-dad’s grandfather clock will look best, how to arrange the bonus room for maximum game space, to what colors will look great to show off the family photo above the fireplace. You can get great bang for your buck on this one, trust me. Meet the neighbors. You may think you can wait on this one. You can’t. Once you’ve been in your house for a month, you’re no longer the new neighbor. I agree that the neighbors should make the effort to meet you first, however, if they don’t come by, make the effort. There will be a time when you need them to sign for a package, pick up your mail, borrow a cup of sugar, or you have water running from a pipe...

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Primary Care Physician – for Your House

Primary Care Physician – for Your House

  We are told to get yearly exams and physicals from our primary care physician. We are told to get our teeth cleaned twice a year by our dental professional. Some of us see a chiropractor on a regular basis to make sure we stay aligned and in balance. Some may get regular acupuncture or acupressure treatments as well. All to make sure our bodies are performing the way they are supposed to. We all know that when it comes to our health, if we find things out early, we have a better chance of combating illness or disease. If we take care of our bodies by eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest, we have a better chance of preventing the illness altogether. If we don’t take care of ourselves and we don’t go to the doctor until symptoms are severe, we may put ourselves through more pain and suffering than necessary. And at the very worst, we may not be able to correct the problem. So it is with your house. In my years as a REALTOR, I have seen too many houses to count. Most home owners have done a fairly decent job taking care of their home. Comparing to the human body, they have missed a couple of physicals here or there and maybe only get their teeth cleaned once a year. They’ve had to fix a few things they may not have had to deal with, but for the most part, it’s in good shape. There are those rare homeowners that stay on top of every maintenance item possible. They have a handyman on call and they spend the money to maintain instead of having minor things turn into major. These are the people that do exactly what their doctors tell them to and are pictures of health. On the other hand, there are many more that wait to go to the dentist until their tooth hurts so bad they can’t sleep and end up having to get the tooth pulled when if they had been getting regular cleanings, the problem could have been solved with a small filling. These are the homeowners that don’t even change the air filter in their HVAC unit – ever. Just like some will argue that you will spend more money to eat healthy and get regular checkups, some will also say that you will spend the same amount of money fixing a problem once it presents itself in your home rather than having regular maintenance checkups. I beg to differ. Here is an example: I have a roofing contractor who offers roof inspections. He will let you know if there is nothing wrong. He will also let...

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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

  The weather is warming up and now is a great time to open the windows and get some fresh air moving through your house. It’s also a great time to get cleaning! For most of us, taking an entire day to dig in, throw things away, donate items and organize is not the way we’d like to spend a day off. However, I promise you, you will be glad you did. I have clients who have moved 11 times within a generally short period of time. They relayed to me that they always stayed on top of cleaning, didn’t have a bunch of clutter, touched up paint, and kept it regularly maintained. They did this because if the call came that they were being transferred, there was no time to do it all. They had to be ready to sell and move immediately. Many of us aren’t going to get a call telling us we have to move next week, but what happens when we do decide that we want to downsize or when our family needs change and we need a bigger house? During the Spring and Summer, most housing markets move quicker than in the rest of the year. If you need to move but aren’t ready, you may miss your golden window of time when most Buyers are out looking for a house just like yours. What may be worse is putting your house on the market with all the clutter and dirt that you’ve collected over the past year. The mother of all domestication, Martha Stewart, has a detailed checklist that, if followed, will be sure to have your house sparkling. If you want to get the whole family involved, make a game out of it. Make a chore chart to divide and conquer. You could even hide an item in each room that is to be cleaned. The item could have an award attached to it so that when the person finds it, you know they’ve done a great job and they get rewarded for helping. So, while it may not be the most fun way to spend a Saturday, turn up the music and get cleaning. You’ll get exercise, get great sleep that night, and wake up to a clean...

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What to Repair When Selling Your House

What to Repair When Selling Your House

  To repair or not to repair. That is the question. Most of us have an ongoing “honey-do” list for our houses. We’ll do it when the weather warms up. We’ll do it when the weather cools off. We’ll do it when the Predators win the Stanley Cup or the Titans win the Super Bowl. What happens when it’s time to sell? The “honey-do” list turns into the “crap-we-have-to-do-this-now” list. But what items should you do? Are their items you can leave undone and still get top dollar? And, what are the risks of not doing certain things?   Roof, gutters, HVAC units, water heaters: REPAIR. Most reputable companies will do a roof tune-up to fix any issues. You certainly don’t want to have any leaks when you are trying to sell your house. If your gutters are full, clean them out. Buyers will think you are a lazy homeowner and may even wonder what else you haven’t done that they can’t see if there are root systems in your gutters or they are overflowing with leaves. If the HVAC is working fine, have the unit cleaned and serviced. If a water heater is older, have it checked by a licensed plumber and any necessary repairs done.   Flooring: This one is tricky. If the majority of the flooring is in good shape, you may not need to repair or replace it. If wood floors are warped or deeply scratched in a large portion of the room(s) you may need to bite the bullet. Depending on the type of wood, you may be able to get boards replaced or have it sanded and re-stained instead of replacing all of it. If carpet is stained and can’t be cleaned, it is best to have it replaced. If carpet is bunching up but is in overall good shape, get it stretched. Warning: If you are replacing carpet, while it’s understandable you wouldn’t want to get the top of the line carpet, I do recommend a good pad underneath. If you replace the carpet with something you can see through, you have just wasted your money. A stray cracked tile is not worth redoing the entire bathroom but make sure the grout is in good shape.   Walls: If your walls have been worn from little hands, suitcases, toys, and vacuums, it’s best to paint them. If you can see what color the wall used to be, it’s best to paint it. If every room is a different color or if a room or wall is very dark, it’s best to paint it. In most cases, it is best to neutralize the colors in your home so it will appeal to the...

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