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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Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

  Baby it’s cold outside! Have you turned on the heat yet? Chances are, unless you live in Florida or Arizona, the answer is probably, “yes”. A lot of people think that they should wait until Spring to sell their house. They ask me if it’s best to wait until the holidays are over and the weather warms up. Not necessarily. There are a few reasons why you may want to test the market now. Lookie-loos don’t go out in the cold. That’s a Realtor term – haha. People that are just kicking tires, not serious buyers, are typically not going to browse around when the weather is bad. They are more likely to stay inside and look online. They also have too many things going on with the holiday season to fill their time so they don’t have time to window shop for houses. Therefore, most people that see your home will actually be serious, qualified buyers. Houses feel “homier” in the cold months. If you have a fireplace, it’s a great time to use it. If you have twinkle lights or holiday decorations, they all make the house feel cozier and more like a home. Warning: Don’t go overboard with decorations. The house still has to look spacious and too many decorations can make rooms look smaller, cluttered, and be distracting for potential buyers. There are less daylight hours. You may think this is a bad thing, however, if you are still living in your home, buyers will only have so many daylight hours in which to view your home and you will only be incovenienced with showings during those hours. Fewer houses are on the market. This automatically gives you an advantage versus waiting until the Spring when you have a lot more competition. You may be out of town. If you are travelling, you may be more open to showings at any time because you won’t be there anyway. You can clean before you leave and not have to worry about tidying up. Certainly there are negatives: There may be less showings. Because there are typically less buyers in the market at this time, you will likely have less people see it and, therefore, it may take longer to sell. Your holidays may be interrupted. A lot of folks travel for the holidays. Some think about moving closer to their relatives and since they are in town, they want to see houses. This may mean that they want to see your house on Christmas Eve or the day after Thanksgiving when your house looks like Cousin Eddie is visiting. Landscaping can look drab. While the inside of the house may be warm and inviting, the outside may look...

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Let’s Get (a) Physical

Let’s Get (a) Physical

  A cold, the flu, broken bones, bruises. Some of these will go away on their own, but sometimes we need the help of a professional. Sometimes, we have symptoms but don’t know what’s wrong. And, other times, we may not have any symptoms at all, or think they are just normal wear and tear on our body but really, they are much more serious. We are told to get yearly exams and a physical 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. It is the same 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 that could have been prevented, 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...

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That Makes Sense

That Makes Sense

  One of my most common questions from Sellers is how to make their house most appealing for potential buyers. If you follow your nose, and your other senses, the answer is quite easy. Here are some ideas on how the five senses can help you sell your house. Sight The first thing potential buyers will notice is the curb appeal. Make sure the lawn is mowed, weeds are pulled and flowers are not dead. The front door area should be swept and the door and handle clean. When entering, they should immediately notice the house is neat and clean. Don’t have the breakfast dishes in the sink or beds unmade. A dirty or messy house can be very distracting to a potential buyer. It’s a good idea to have the house staged – at least making sure that personal items are down to a minimum, there is a good flow without furniture impeding, and that there are appealing colors throughout the house. Sound I have found that soft jazz or light classical or instrumental music is best for this sense. You will never appeal to everyone but these two are the most widely accepted – even getting lost in the background at times. There are a lot of options in how to play music. Some people have speakers in their house. Others have cable or digital television channels that play music. This is much more welcoming than a quiet, cold house. If you are able to leave it playing every day when you leave for the day, that is ideal – and it’s nice to come home to, as well! Touch I like to make a home book for sellers. This book may have photos from another season (when flowers were blooming or when snow was covering the ground), Before/After photos of renovations or home projects, property information, utility information, flyers for buyers to take, business cards or contact information for vendors, HOA documents, etc. This can often keep a potential buyer in the house longer, keeping them engaged, giving their other four senses a chance to work! Smell There is good reason that this is the most powerful of our senses. Just as much as there are good smells that can help, there are definitely some smells that can hurt the sale of your house. Let’s talk about the bad first. If there is a foul smell of any sort, it can be detrimental. A good idea is to have a third party give you an honest answer. You may have pets and you may be used to it. You may cook certain foods regularly that stay in the house for a while. This is one thing...

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I Love Zillow!

I Love Zillow!

  Why isn’t my listing on Zillow? Why is old information showing up? Why doesn’t it have all our photos? Why is another real estate agent’s information listed as if they are the listing agent? When I find houses on Zillow and send them to my agent, a lot of them are under contract and some of them have already sold.  Here’s the answer: In order to pull all of the information to the site, Zillow has to have an agreement with the local MLS or an individual real estate brokerage. If there is no agreement with Zillow, the listings will not automatically pull through and, therefore, not show up on the website. If they do pull through, the information may not be what your agent entered into MLS and/or your actual listing agent may not be the one listed. Zillow is a business. It is not set up as a service to hand out information for free. It is a marketing website that happens to use real estate as it’s platform. Zillow makes money by selling advertising. They sell advertising to real estate agents and put that agent’s information on pages advertising other real estate agent’s listings. Sound wrong? Yeah, some local MLS’s thought so too, so they decided not to allow Zillow to take the listings any longer. If this is the case in your market, your real estate agent needs to manually upload your listing to Zillow. There still may be other agents being advertised on the page, but your agent can “claim” the listing and make sure that consumers have their contact information in case they have questions or would like to schedule a showing. So, how do you make sure you are getting the most current, accurate information? My first piece of advice would be, consult a Realtor®. They can cross check the listings you find with the local MLS information to see how accurate the information is. They can also help you determine price by doing a Comparative Market Analysis of your home, taking into consideration upgrades and other factors. They can also help you with the For Sale by Owner properties you may find listed on Zillow. Secondly, there are actual real estate apps that pull directly from MLS and will have the most current, accurate information. One of those is a private app that I give my clients. You can do all the wonderful things you can on Zillow, it is updated every 15 minutes, you and in a few short weeks it will have nationwide listings (yay!) If you’ve read this far, here is a link to my app https://homescout.app.link/6157307050 My favorite feature is that when you “love” a property, the app will notify you immediately if there is a status change...

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The Real Estate Gamble

The Real Estate Gamble

  I was speaking with a past client last week. I helped her buy her house 11 years ago. Her house was built in 1905 and she fell in love the moment she walked in the door. The place had charm, it had character and best of all, to her, it felt good. She is only the fifth owner in over 110 years. That says something about the house. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years and neighbors are selling to developers and building what we call “tall skinnies” on postage stamp size lots. My client understands people wanting to make money and because of the development, it has greatly increased the value of her home but she is not going anywhere. She receives phone calls, mailers, and personal solicitations frequently and she is not budging. She is determined to protect what is hers – a piece of history. She was so thankful that I was a part of helping her preserve history. She made my day telling me how happy she has been all these years and how she just wants to preserve the house and take great care of it for future generations. It got me thinking about how much I love what I do. I get to be a part of preserving history, building wealth, new beginnings, and growth. Some may just see it as a transaction. I see it as a lifelong relationship. To some, it may just be a property. I see it as a home or a tool to build wealth. You need someone on your side to look out for your best interest. Are you trying to build wealth or are you trying to find a forever home and preserve a piece of history for future generations? You need someone who is going to be there to help you navigate through the weeds 11 years later when your precious home is being threatened. Just like a financial advisor that you trust to help you make decisions that will affect you for years to come, a great Realtor can be a wonderful resource and member of your personal advisory council. Next time you are thinking about buying or selling, look at it with a fresh perspective. Have an advisor on your side to help you through the paperwork and possible legal pitfalls. If you wouldn’t take $100,000 or more to Vegas and throw it all down on one number, why would you trust a less-than-professional person with an investment that is likely worth much more than that? Can you do it yourself? Maybe. Should you? Probably...

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