The Old Ones Need Love Too

The Old Ones Need Love Too

  I can hear the jokes rolling in…but, seriously. If you know me, or have been following my blog, you know that I LOVE animals. November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. I am a big fan of the ASPCA and the work they do to help animals and promote animal rights. They wrote an article on adopting senior pets. It reminds us that the old ones need love too. In a lot of cases, there is no house training to do, you can leave them unattended and not worry they will get into things they shouldn’t, and you will probably already know if they are going to get along with your family members, including other pets. The other thing to consider is that they are probably much lazier! If you are looking for a pet that will sit next to you while you binge on the latest Netflix series, chances are, an older one is a great choice for you. Now, the elephant in the room is, yes, you likely won’t have as many years with them as you would if you chose a younger pet so I get it, it’s not for the faint at heart. But let’s face it, most of us will outlive the pets we currently have so owning a pet at all can be heartbreaking when that day finally approaches. I mean, I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it, so let’s move on. “I thought you were a Realtor? What does this have to do with real estate?” you ask. Well, let me tell you. Just like animals, new houses often seem to get more love than older ones. People assume they need less work, they have some warranties still in place, and they still look shiny. We Realtors know that no house is without its set of quirks and there is almost always items that need to be fixed, even in new construction. So what about the older home? The one with the mature landscaping and creaks in the floor. The one with a little a little work that will need to be done. Well, it could be registered as a historic home. It may mean that you are getting character that no new home could ever replicate, even with an unlimited budget. You may find an older home that has already had its “kinks” worked out. A previous home owner may have put all new plumbing, electric, and mechanicals in. Most of the settling may already be done so you may deal with far less nail pops and settlement cracks. You’ve probably heard the expression, “they just don’t make things like they used to.” Well, this applies to some houses, as...

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Say What? The Art of Listening

Say What? The Art of Listening

Do you feel like you constantly repeat yourself? I said, do you feel…never mind. Most of us are going a hundred miles an hour in five different directions. We have work appointments, errands to run, phone calls to make, emails to answer, kids activities, making sure we eat right, exercise and have some quality time with our loved ones. We are constantly interrupted by phone ringing and dinging, doorbells, people walking in on your quiet space, and alarms telling us it’s time to get to our next obligation. It’s no wonder that our attention span is that of a 2-year old or worse. We may hear what others say but are we really listening? In real estate, as with many other businesses, it is imperative that we actually listen to what’s being said. A lot can be learned and negotiated in our favor if we pay attention. Most people love to talk. If you listen, you could gain knowledge and insight into motivations, which could give you an advantage in negotiating your side. As a Realtor, we should be listening to every word spoken and unspoken. In today’s impersonal society, it is a lot harder to hear the unspoken word, as it is picked up on most often in the tone or inflections of the voice. Text messages and emails are much easier to misinterpret or read into and, therefore, are not as helpful when needing to use information gathered in a negotiation setting. Buyers and Sellers should be listening to their Realtor. Learn from their experience. You wouldn’t let someone that pulled a splinter out of their thumb when they were 12 operate on your hand. Why would you think you know more than a professional that has sold hundreds of houses? This is not to say that you shouldn’t ask questions. In fact, this is part of the art of listening. Be engaged in the process. Be engaged in the conversation. Learn to communicate effectively by listening first and asking questions and responding second. This seems like such a simple idea. The idea of hearing what others say. But it has become apparent that with all that is being thrown in our faces and competing for our attention, that we all need to get back to some basics. Let’s become masters at the art of listening and it may surprise us at how much more efficient we are and how much more we will...

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Homes for Pets

Homes for Pets

  Raise your hand if you have pets? I would have to raise both hands. Pets are a huge part of American life. I, for one, don’t know what I would do without a dog…or two in my home. So, as I work with pet owners to buy or sell a home, it’s important to take into consideration their particular needs with regard to their pet(s). Is there a fence or can one be added? Is the street busy? Are there sidewalks? Where are the closest dog parks and veterinary offices? Does the neighborhood have a home owner’s association and if so, do they have type or breed restrictions? If it is a condominium building, do they have pet restrictions? Will the pets be home for showings? There are so many things to consider when purchasing a home and even selling a home when there are pets involved. Pets have different personalities and, just like people, can react differently to change. Here are 5 tips to help your pet acclimate to their new environment: 1. Explore the space together If you are like me, the last thing you want to do when there are a million things to get done is just sit and do nothing. I am the person that wants to have everything out of boxes and pictures hung ASAP. When pets are involved, however, it is a good idea to just sit with them in each room and let them explore. They will sniff every inch of that place (it’s also a good idea to be with them to avoid any marking!) 2. Take them on a walk Lots of pets like walks, not just dogs. In fact, I know of one particular goat that loves to go on walks with its owner. One thing I have learned, first hand, is that if you take the time to walk your pet around your neighborhood, there is a much better chance of them ending up back home on their own should they get out unexpectedly. 3. Make sure their things are the first ones to make it in the house Moving is stressful for your pets too. If they have familiar things, it will make them more comfortable. Get their bed set up. Give them their favorite toys. Lay down the same food and water bowls they have been using. Perhaps, even a blanket or rug on the floor will make them feel at home more quickly.  4. Meet the neighbors Just like people should meet their new neighbors, pets should too. If your pet is friendly, it will be a fun activity for them. If your pet is scared or not social, show your neighbors a picture. Either way, it is good for...

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What do Contingencies Mean in a Real Estate Contract?

What do Contingencies Mean in a Real Estate Contract?

  When you are buying or selling a house, many contingencies can be written in the contract. What are they and what do contingencies mean? Let’s take a look at the five most common. Financing. Financing contingencies are the most common type of contingency. It is also the one that in almost all cases, does not get removed until the actual closing takes place, everyone has signed and the property changes ownership. It means that the lender or mortgage company has to fully approve and underwrite the loan and that if the loan is not approved for any reason, the Buyer can terminate the contract and receive their earnest/trust money back unless the contract accounts for it differently. Inspection. I always advise my Buyers to have the home inspected. Not only a general home inspection but if anything comes up on the inspection that may need to be evaluated further, specific contractors or professionals can also inspect those items. Radon, mold, and pest inspections can also be beneficial and can be part of the inspection contingency. Raw land may require other types of inspections and these are included as well. If the Buyer is not satisfied, for any reason, either with the findings, or the negotiations associated with the inspections, this contingency gives them a way out of buying the property. Appraisal. Appraisal contingencies keep buyers from overpaying for the property. Most contracts with appraisal contingencies in them allow the Buyer to terminate the agreement if the property does not appraise for at least the agreed to purchase price in the contract. As we discussed previously, the parties can negotiate if they want to move forward with executing the remainder of the contract but it does give the Buyer the right to walk away if they so choose. Sale of Home. This contingency can be used if a Buyer has another house they need or would like to sell prior to closing on a new one. Not all Sellers like to accept a home sale contingency – especially if the market is hot where they are but the market where the Buyer’s property is, isn’t. The contingency can be used if the Buyer’s property is currently on the market, is not currently on the market, or is already under contract, just waiting to close. Sellers should ask questions and perhaps make certain requirements of the Buyer if they choose to accept this type of contingency. Spousal approval. In a hot real estate market, it is necessary to move quickly in making an offer. If there is more than one Buyer but only one can make it to see the property, this contingency can be used. Typically, a Seller will...

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New Year – New House: 5 Tips for a Head Start

New Year – New House: 5 Tips for a Head Start

If a new house is on your list for the new year, here are five tips on getting a head start: Be ready with a list. Ask yourself some questions. Why are you moving? Why do you want a new house? Why do you need a new house? One you have the answers, make a list of wants, needs, and deal breakers. As you make this list, you may find that you move some things around while you’re making it. That’s fine. You may decide to refine it even after you’ve looked at some houses. Just try to get it as close to perfect before you start seriously looking to purchase. The most important column is the “deal breakers.” Houses have a way of being very shiny sometimes. Buyers may overlook the lack of a garage (deal breaker) because the backyard is landscaped so nicely (shiny) but when it’s 35 degrees and they’re not sitting in shorts in the backyard, they may kick themselves for not sticking to their list. Make sure you keep your list with you and don’t even go see houses that have any of those deal breakers. You’ll thank yourself later. Be ready with your finances. You may be looking at snow now, but Spring and Summer is just around the corner and the housing market will be in full swing. If your market is anything like mine in the Nashville area, you MUST either have cash or be pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender. Not only do you need to make sure you have all your finances in order, so you don’t waste your time, you need to give yourself a leg up on the competition. The more you have saved for a down payment, the better. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a local, reputable lender. There are so many options for mortgages. There are plenty of good and plenty of bad. You may want to ask local Realtors who they think has the best reputation. When you are competing for a house with other pre-approved Buyers, having a pre-approval letter from a company that is known in the community to be reliable and not miss close dates may be just the thing that pushes the Seller to take your offer over someone else’s. Be ready with your time. Not only do you need to have your list and your finances, you have to have time. When a house comes on the market on Wednesday, you can’t wait until the weekend to set a time to see it. You need to make sure your current schedule will allow quick appointments. Be as flexible as possible. If you aren’t someone else will be and...

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Falling Temperatures and Falling Prices: 5 Tips for Selling Now

Falling Temperatures and Falling Prices: 5 Tips for Selling Now

  Last week it was in the 80’s. This week it’s in the 70’s and I’m driving with my windows down. Falling temperatures can often times mean falling home prices as well. We are seeing this currently in our market. Spring came early this year. We were seeing houses fly off the shelves starting in early March. That was great for the intense Spring/Summer market we had but now that schools are back in session, and the temperature is falling, we are seeing a bit of a slow down as well as falling prices. Over the summer, I didn’t see many price reductions. Buyers were buying whatever went on the market, within reason. They knew that if they didn’t scoop it up, someone else would and Sellers knew they could get by with pricing it high because it was going to sell. Unfortunately, there are still those Sellers who didn’t get in the market a few months ago and they have heard about how much houses sold for in their neighborhood or how much money their friend made on their house and they think they can do the same thing. In some cases they can, however, Buyers in the market this time of year, typically aren’t as “desperate” to get into a house by a certain time so they take their time, and they hold on to more of their money. Sellers need to make sure they are realistic with their pricing and their expectations. Sales typically take a little longer than they do in the warmer time of year. They also can see that the Buyers aren’t as eager to pay top dollar for their house like the guy that bought the house next door. There are always exceptions, of course, but generally, Sellers will need to have a little more patience and be a bit more negotiable now.   Tips for selling in falling temperatures: Hire a Realtor or make sure you know the exact recent sales price of homes around you. Word of mouth is NOT the best way to price your house. Just because your neighbor said the guy down the street sold his house for “x” doesn’t mean he had all the information. What kind of financing, if any, was there? Were there any Seller concessions and what kind of repairs did the Seller have to make prior to closing? Just because a house in your area sold for “x” back in February, doesn’t mean you can sell yours for that or more. Appraisers like to use comparable sales within 3 months time. If they need to stretch it, they will go back 6 months but if there are other comparable sales that are...

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