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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Home Renovations

Home Renovations

  Anyone who has lived through home renovations knows that the process is not the most pleasant thing ever. The contractors get to your house early, probably about the time you are getting ready, getting the family ready, and/or trying to get out the door to go about your day. They are noisy and messy and sometimes they have no regard for your property. Hopefully the end result is worth the hassle. Getting a good contractor is key to a good home renovation experience. But what type of home renovations are the best? What will give you the most return – biggest bang for your buck? Let’s check it out.   Kitchen             We’re not talking a total gut job here. Do a facelift. If your cabinet doors aren’t quite modern enough, leave the boxes and just replace the doors. Refresh with new knobs and pulls. Replace counter top with a less expensive solid surface option. You may consider new appliances if yours are old or don’t match. Paint and call it a day. Bathrooms             Some people are opting to remove bath tubs and have extra-large showers instead. While this is not necessary for resale, you may personally enjoy it. Just remember, if you remove any bathtubs, make sure there is at least one in the house. You could remove a complete buying sector from looking at your house if there is no bathtub. The master bath is the bath with the most value-add, however, a small powder room could be a very inexpensive cosmetic update and have a lot of impact. Master baths with nice vanities, solid counter tops and unique storage solutions are all the rage. Again, unless you have a 1950’s house that hasn’t had the shag carpet removed, you may be able to get by with some minor updates. A new faucet and a coat of paint can really change the look of a vanity. A new framed mirror or medicine cabinet can transform the entire space. Exterior When you are looking to do updates, not much has the bang for the buck like a good cleaning and fresh paint. A lot of exteriors could use a pressure washing. Painting trim and shutters can really freshen the look of a dull exterior. If you really want to change the look but not get into a serious renovation, try adding some stone veneer or cedar shake if the home style allows. This small detail can magically change the appearance with not a lot of cost. A trend that we are continuing to see is outdoor spaces so consider adding a covered or screened patio or deck. You will likely get a lot of use out...

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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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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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Out With the Old, In With the New

Out With the Old, In With the New

This is the time of year that we make plans. We set goals and resolve to do things better. On Jan 1 we have a clean slate for the year. 365 days to get it right, to get up early, to eat healthy, to exercise, and to get organized. A new beginning can mean many different things. For some, it’s saying goodbye to a less than stellar year behind and looking forward to the beautiful potential of the year ahead. It’s out with the old, in with the new. If you are looking for a major change, you may be considering a move. You may need to sell the old house and purchase something new. You may decide to move out of state. Maybe you want to stop putting work into that money pit and buy something brand new. Whatever you are planning, none of them will be perfect. The grass isn’t 100% greener. It will be fun for a while. It will satisfy your need for change and it will be good in a lot of ways, but don’t be fooled into thinking all your house problems will be solved by getting into something different. Here are some things to consider: A move of any kind is expensive. Depending on how much stuff you have, a move will cost you thousands of dollars. You can do it the old school, college way and get your friends to help but you may be looking for new friends as well as a new house! It’s always best to leave it to the professionals. You also need boxes and packing material. Also, if you are selling and/or purchasing a new place, you will have costs associated with the sale(s). See my blog, How Much Does Buying a House Really Cost for more info. A move costs you time. It takes a lot of time to sort through all of your belongings, decide what is going with you and what you need to give away or throw away. Then you have to pack everything. You may have to take off work in order to physically move and/or attend all the appointments that are associated with selling and/or buying. A move is stressful. No matter how much you try, you will be stressed at some point during a sale, purchase or a move. Timelines can be tight, vendors can be frustrating, deadlines can be missed, things can not go the way you planned, and you don’t have any idea which box the toilet paper is in. I always want to help anyone that wants or needs to sell or buy. But I also want them to know what they are getting into. It’s not typically perfect...

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