Real Estate Blog

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

As the ice and snow from winter continues to melt and the signs of spring begin to arrive, many people in Middle Tennessee will start preparations to list their homes on the market. As the warmer weather starts to drift this way, use it as an inspiration to do some major spring cleaning, whether you're planning on selling now or not.

Performing regular deep cleaning and purging each year will make the process much less overwhelming when it becomes necessary to prepare a home for listing. In some cases, people who regularly keep up with de-cluttering and cleaning end up spending a lot less money when it becomes necessary to do those tasks at selling time, because the problems are not compounding.

I've been a Realtor for more than 15 years now, so I've walked through more homes than I can remember with my clients. I notice what they notice. I watch their reactions and listen to their comments. I have seen people walk away from a great house simply because they could not look past the clutter and grime. I've also seen people buy very average-looking houses simply because the owners presented a very clean and neutral space that showed buyers they had taken great care of the home.

Here are the three areas I think you should focus on this spring to make your home show-worthy all year. All of these suggestions are inexpensive if you're willing to put in your own elbow grease!

Most people look at this task and become paralyzed because they don't even know where to start. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the big picture, take it one task/space at a time. Make a calendar or chart if you have to in order to keep yourself motivated to keep going. Schedule for cleaning out the garage on a Saturday and the coat closet for the following Sunday afternoon. Be realistic and celebrate with each task crossed off the list!

If you're still bursting at the seams when it comes time to sell, consider renting a pod-type storage unit or asking a friend or family member if you can store some boxes at their place while you show your home. I promise it will be worth it!

Pay Attention to Details
I always say that you should clean as if you have a distinguished guest coming for dinner. You want your home's first impression to be the best impression, because otherwise you probably won't get another chance with potential buyers. Think about things that you notice when you're in another person's home and try to be objective in your own home as you decide what needs attention. Here are some suggestions:

- Clean windows, curtains, and blinds. The more natural light you draw into your space, the better.

- Dust light fixtures and bulbs and replace dim or burned-out bulbs. Again, lighting is important. You might even consider adding extra lamps to darker corners and spaces if needed.

- Clean up and paint up any walls and doors that are grimy and scuffed.

- Scrub your floors and carpets. This is one area where I would recommend a professional if your budget allows for that expense. In my opinion, it's totally worth it.

Beef Up Curb Appeal and Entry Ways
A buyer's first impression actually does not start inside the home … it starts when they pull in the driveway.

- Trim and clear out dried-up, overgrown plants and shrubs.

- Make sure the lawn is freshly mown.

- Rake and sweep all areas near doorways and patio areas.

- Apply fresh paint to doors and doorways to give them a fresh look and smell.

- Add a few colorful plants/planters up the pathway leading to your door.

Need more detailed tips and lists for cleaning? Try these:

15 Tips from Real Simple

Spring Cleaning Chart from I Dream of Clean



Posted on 03/10/2015 11:19 PM by Jarod
Monday, 02 March 2015

In last week's post about HOA's, I told you the basic premise of what an HOA is and I encouraged you to make sure you understand the fees that are assessed each month or quarter if you buy a home that is governed by an HOA. In this week's post I'd like to explain briefly why it is so important for you to know the specific rules and regulations of your current HOA and/or those governing a neighborhood in which you would like to purchase a home.

For the most part, HOA's are great protection for your home's property value.  Some of the rules might seem unreasonable, but as one reporter for CNN Money says, "While the rules may seem arbitrary, you have to ask yourself, 'What if every resident did the same thing?' said Rathbun. In other words, the fact that your neighbor can't put his car on blocks in the front yard is probably to your benefit."

Your main responsibility as a homeowner in an HOA is to know the rules and regulations and to be a part of the democratic process that governs the HOA in which you live. By reading and knowing the bylaws, you can avoid costly mistakes, and by attending meetings, speaking up, and voting, you can guide what happens within your HOA. Being a part of your HOA will also establish more accountability toward those in leadership positions who make the decisions.

I'm amazed at how many people don't even think to ask for a copy of the bylaws when they buy in an HOA, or they get them and never read them. Just because you don't know the rules doesn't mean they cannot be enforced. I observed a flatbed truck picking up a completely finished outdoor shed one day in a neighborhood, and when I inquired about it, I found out the owner had built it without permission. Because the HOA bylaws of that neighborhood forbid building outdoor structures, the owner was required to pay for the removal of this new building. This very costly mistake could have been avoided if he had just read the rules before he started building.

States vary on the rights of HOA's. In some states an HOA has the right to foreclose on a home when fees have gone unpaid, and in others the unpaid fines simply tie up what should have been a pretty simple closing on a sale, sometimes for several days or weeks. Even in states where an HOA is not able to levy fines against a homeowner, they can file costly lawsuits and seek judgments that allow them to obtain liens against homeowners.

Most HOA's have commonsense rules that protect the homeowner's property, but you need to know what you're getting into before you buy a new property or before you try to change one that you already own. I'll be happy to walk you through what to expect and help you find a neighborhood that suits your needs perfectly!




Posted on 03/02/2015 5:11 PM by Jarod
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