We’re Closing!

We’re Closing!

  You have been keeping your house clean for what seems like an eternity. A Buyer came along and you negotiated the terms and your agent calls to say, “We’re closing!” So now what? There are several things you need to know and to consider about the closing. If you read my blog Read The Contract!, you will know how important it is to read what you are signing. Not only can you get into legal trouble if you don’t, you may not understand the important details of the actual closing and your move. I go over the contract with my clients but even still, there is so much information and many times, emotion, that not everyone understands the details they are agreeing to. Let’s take a look at some details that can be overlooked:   Closing and Possession Date:Are these dates the same? In Tennessee, most of the time they are but not necessarily. If they are the same, that means that when you go to closing to sign the paperwork, if you are the Seller, you need to be out of the house for good. If you are the Buyer, when you go to closing, as long as the house has been paid for (I will talk about this point in more detail), you should receive keys and be allowed to move in immediately. As a Seller, if you know you are going to need more time to get out, that needs to be discussed in negotiations. As a Buyer, if you need to get into the house prior to closing, that needs to be negotiated on the front end. Be sure to communicate timing with your agent or the other party. Your closing may be first thing in the morning and the other party may not be signing papers until the end of the business day if the closings are “split.” This may cause some confusion as to when the Seller needs to be out and when the Buyer can move in. Funding:Whether the Buyer is paying cash or getting a loan, the money needs to be in the hands of the title company and possibly even the Seller, before the keys will be given and the Buyer will gain possession.  If there is a loan involved, the loan will need to be funded by the mortgage company and the down payment and any closing costs will need to be received. Many people think that since they signed the paperwork, it is a done deal and the Buyer can move in. Just like you can’t walk out of a grocery store with a full cart without paying, you can’t move into a house you haven’t paid...

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Waiting for a Snowstorm

Waiting for a Snowstorm

  If you have lived in Tennessee long enough, you have experienced the agony or joy (however you look at it) of waiting to see if we actually get snow or not. You plan, you prepare. The kids are out of school, you take your work home with you, you stock up at the grocery store and you dig the shovel and the sleds out of the depths of the garage. Then you wait. And wait. It gets cold. The kids get excited. They watch out the window for the slightest sign of white stuff falling from the sky. You’re waiting for a snowstorm but nothing happens. The sun comes out, warms up the roads and all that preparation and excitement was for nothing. That can, unfortunately, be how waiting for an offer on your house feels. You do so much to get your house ready to sell. You check off the to-list, hire the handyman, declutter, and tell your family that if they so much as sneeze in the house after it is clean, that they are not to show their face in your presence. Ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration. However, by the time you have planned and prepared, the waiting for an offer can be excruciating. So what can you do? What do you tell your kids when the snow doesn’t come after all the hype? Is it really the weatherman’s fault or are some things (like Mother Nature) out of their control? Those people get a bad rap. I mean, I feel it too, but they do their research, follow the patterns and if, at the last minute, the wind turns or global warming decides to show its face, there’s not a lot they can do to make it snow. The most they can do is keep you updated as weather changes so you can make the appropriate changes to accommodate her. So, when you prepare to sell your house and you do everything right but it still doesn’t sell right away, is it the real estate agent’s fault? Hmm, well, maybe not. Maybe, like Mother Nature, the market turns. It shifts, rates change, the government shuts down, suddenly 5 other houses on your street go up for sale. Any number of things can happen to cause a shift and your house not to sell. Sometimes, the best you can do is stay updated as to the current market and make the appropriate changes to accommodate it. That’s not to say that there is not a human element. Just like the meteorologist, the real estate agent could have been wrong or gave you bad advice – after all, they are human. When you are...

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Scary Houses

Scary Houses

  ‘Tis the season to talk about all things scary so I thought I’d write about scary houses. Buying or selling a house can be scary. Some things should be taken care of prior to selling and some things you may need to run away from. Mold. We see mold more often than we’d like in our area. Tennessee has a humid climate. If there is not proper ventilation in crawl spaces or if exhaust fans are not present or used properly, there can be mold in crawl spaces and bathrooms. If there has ever been a water leak or any water penetration, there can be mold. The scary thing here is that you may not see the evidence of mold because it may be in the walls. The best thing to do, as a buyer, is ask if there has ever been any water damage. The best thing to do, as a seller, is to take care of water immediately and, if necessary, remove any drywall around the wet area and make sure it is completely dry and void of mold before doing the cosmetic repair. Some buyers will walk away from a deal where mold has been found due to health issues, so be diligent in any repair you may do. Foundation. This is a big scary issue for buyers and sellers alike. Foundation work can be expensive and it can be very involved. Foundation issues can also continue to surface as ground shifts. There are historical homes that have to be “jacked up” every year or two simply due to age. They don’t have to be houses that you walk away from, necessarily, you just have to know the risks. The good thing about foundation work that is performed by licensed contractors, is that a lot of the work is warrantied for an extended period of time. If the Seller is willing to remedy the situation and provide a warranty, a lot of buyers will still buy the house because they have peace of mind. Roofs. If a roof is in need of replacing and you are a seller, in most cases, you are better off biting the bullet and replacing the roof. A lot of homeowners know they need a roof replacement but they wait for that big storm to hit so they can get some help from their insurance company. Well, if that big storm never hits, they may have caused themselves more issues due to potential leaks and the urgency of the needed repairs/replacement once they are ready to sell. My suggestion is to get a roof inspection from a reputable contractor prior to listing the house and do any necessary repairs. It is a big...

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Or Can You?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Or Can You?

  We live in a world that we have so much at our fingertips. Get online at 9:00AM and have a new suit delivered to your door by noon. We can take virtual trips to the Grand Canyon while lying in bed in Indianapolis. We can even tour a house from our phone while standing in line at the coffee shop. So why, then, can be it sometimes be so difficult when it comes to actually buying that house we’ve been dreaming of? Perhaps you can’t always get what you want. There are a lot of factors at play. Maybe the app you have been using has outdated information and the house is already sold. Maybe the photographer did such a great job that the pictures are quite deceiving. Perhaps the description of spacious and meticulously maintained was very subjective. Or, just maybe, it isn’t for sale right now. The nation’s real estate market is currently experiencing low inventory. So, what do you do if just can’t find what you’re looking for? (There’s another song in there) There are several options depending on your budget. You can rent until that right place shows up – but you need to be ready for it. Make sure you can either get out of your lease with little consequence or sign a month-to-month lease. Another option is to buy a house in a location you love and renovate it to be exactly what you want. There may be plenty of things about it you like, and you can build on what’s already there. Lastly, you can build. Of course, you need to have the land, but if that’s available, it’s a great option. One word of warning, however, you still may not get exactly what you want. Why? Well, there are several reasons for that, too. Your lot may not be able to hold the size or shape of the exact home you want. There may be an HOA involved that will disallow one of your desires. It may just not be possible to have all the things you want in the size or style of house you choose. Your architect and builder are good sources for these questions before you get started. And lastly, we change what we want. In the beginning, we want a humble home on a nice lot bordering a creek. Then we grow, change, and see many more possibilities. We then want the 3000 square foot, 2-story “smart” home with an award-winning pool and trimmings that could stack up to any on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Why am I prosing on not getting what you want? Because it’s just a house. They come and they...

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How to Sell Your Home

How to Sell Your Home

  Through the years as a Nashville Realtor, I have worked with people at various levels in their knowledge of the home selling process. One thing that rings true is that, unless you do it every day, you don’t know or understand it all. I will take you through an overview. Certainly there are nuances and each circumstance can cause the process to change a bit. Also, make sure you consult with your local Realtor because some of this may be different based on what state you live in. There are also details that I am leaving out in order to not put you to sleep so make sure to get all the information and trust the person you are working with. 1. Listing Consultation – If you are using a real estate agent or a Realtor (yes, they’re different – if you want to know how, read this), you will likely meet at their office or at the property you would like to sell. This is where you will discuss and sign the listing agreement with their company that outlines what they will do, what you will do, and how much you will pay them. You will discuss the comparable properties in your area, average days on the market, and the list price of your property. 2. Prepare Home for Market – If you haven’t done so yet, get to work on making your property sparkle and shine. First and foremost, make sure it is clean. Do necessary repairs, paint, clean carpets, pressure wash, landscaping, get a storage unit, etc.  It’s good to have your Realtor give you suggestions as to what is necessary. You and/or your Realtor may also find it helpful to use the services of a professional stager. If you are living in the home, they can help decide what to pare down and how to arrange the furnishings to best showcase the home. If the property is vacant, it is sometimes advantageous to use a staging company that can provide furnishings and accessories to help buyers envision the home being lived in. 3. Professional Photography/Videography & Measuring – One thing that is a MUST HAVE in most markets is professional photos. It amazes me how many photos I see that actually hurt the sale of a home. Your Realtor should cover the cost and your job is to have the house looking like a model home before the photographer gets there. There are exceptions here as well. If the property is an investment property that is currently being rented, there may be no way around having unnecessary items in the photos and it may not necessarily be in model home condition. In these instances, it...

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Uh Oh, It’s Magic

Uh Oh, It’s Magic

If you know me well, you know I love magicians. It fascinates me to watch good ones perform and stun their audience. Some seem to read your mind. Others seem to predict the future. I love to be freaked out and wonder, HOW DO THEY DO IT??? You will ask yourself the same thing when you work with a great Realtor. They make it look easy. They get things done. My job is to work behind the scenes to fix all the things that go wrong when selling or buying a home. What, you don’t think anything went wrong when you bought or sold your house? That’s probably because you had a great Realtor on your side. Things always go wrong. They are not always big things that can cause deals to be delayed or to fall through but, trust me, there is always something. Lenders get the wrong document signed, they somehow have the wrong close date or purchase price. Title companies find undisclosed tax liens on the property that is supposed to close in 5 days. A Seller takes a refrigerator that they were supposed to leave. An appraisal comes back low. A Buyer forgets to mention a bankruptcy. The list goes on and on. Some things can’t be fixed, but most can. Don’t give up. I have been able to get a major home builder to pay closing costs, and replace items they initially said they would not. Lenders have jumped through hoops. Title companies have gone to bat for clients and other agents have worked with their clients to come to amicable solutions. In the end, everyone wants the same thing. We all want the house to sell. Sellers want to sell it, Buyers want to buy it, and all the vendors want to be paid. Most Realtors don’t get paid until closing, therefore, they should do everything they can to find solutions for issues that arise. I have been asked if I can move a house to a different location. I actually do know people that can do that! Bottom line is, make sure you have realistic expectations of the magic that can be performed. Also, though, be satisfied that your real estate agent is working hard for you and if you’re not, get another...

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