Hendersonville Ranked 5th as “Best Small Town to Move To”

George Weeks, RE/MAX Choice Properties, Real EstateIn a recent list posted by MSN Real Estate Hendersonville, Tennessee was ranked fifth among the nation’s best small towns to move to. This list considered a variety of criteria such as cost of living, crime, median house hold income, unemployment rate, median home price, and home for sale per capita. The list pulled from over 100 cities with a population of less than 60,000.

The statistics which placed Hendersonville upon this list were as follows:

Population: 53,080
Median Household Income: $62,627 (18% Above the National Average)
Cost of Living: 8% Below the National Average
Crime Rate: 37% Below the National Average
Median Home Price: $249,900 (25% Above the National Average)
House Availability: 1 Home for every 101 Residents
Unemployment: 6.5% (9.7% below the National Average)

Realtors Not Slowing Down at Year’s End

By Price Lechleiter

RE/MAX Choice Properties, Murfreesboro, Real EstateMiddle Tennessee has successfully exited the economic downturn and Realtors throughout the region have been busy all year. What began with window shoppers quickly turned into prospective buyers, increasing open house traffic and showings.

This resulted in contracts and almost a full year of double-digit monthly increases in home sales. The increased activity sparked homeowners to put their houses on the market and inventory quickly moved from “for sale” to “sold” status.

After a flurry of activity since the beginning of the year, the market has adjusted slightly as is typical for the industry this time of year. Even though springtime is historically a busier time of the year, you will find that Realtors rarely ever slow down.

While Realtors want to build on the momentum of an active market, there are current issues affecting the housing industry that also require attention. Legislative matters such as preserving the mortgage interest deduction and the 30-year mortgage can’t be overlooked.

Realtors throughout the country, backed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), are keeping watch on any government activity that could affect housing. We’ve long been monitoring legislation that could alter the mortgage interest deduction, and now we are diligently following legislation that would eradicate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate. Both of these are huge benefits to home ownership — especially for first-time buyers, the real engine of the housing market. The disappearance of either would drastically change many Americans’ opportunity to buy a home.

Another huge piece of national legislation, especially key to those of us in Middle Tennessee, is the National Flood Insurance Program. NAR recently issued a call for action to its 1 million members to let Congress know how important it is to have stable and affordable flood insurance.

My hope is that you’ll be able to slow down and enjoy the holiday season, your family and a few days off in your home. Know that Realtors are busy year round ensuring the future of homeownership and property rights.

Shared from The Tennessean

3655 Murfreesboro Pike

3655 Murfreesboro Pike

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9.58 ACRES OF LEVEL LAND CLOSE TO OLD HICKORY BLVD INTERSECTION. 2 APPROVED SEWER TAPS. 329FT OF ROAD FRONTAGE. SURVEYED COMMERCIAL. 4-BEDROOM HOME ON PROPERTY TOTALING 1650 SQFT. BARN AND STORAGE BLDG ON SITE

Highest Property Taxes in America

By Jeanne Sahadi

131122101416 property tax map btn 620xa - Highest Property Taxes in AmericaIf you don’t want to grind your teeth at night over your property tax bill, steer clear of Manhattan’s New York suburbs and those in northern New Jersey.

They’re home to the three counties that charge the highest average property taxes in the country.

By contrast, a number of counties in Alabama and Louisiana have some of the lowest.

Those are among the findings of a new residentialproperty tax study from the Tax Policy Center, which analyzed data from the American Community Survey.

Across the United States as a whole, between 2007 and 2011, 60% of counties reported average property tax burdens of between $500 and $1,500 a year.

That might cover one month’s tax burden for many homeowners in one of the three most expensive counties: Westchester County, N.Y. ($9,647 a year); Nassau County, N.Y., ($9,080) and Bergen County, N.J. ($8,893).

Another five counties in New Jersey had average annual burdens topping $8,000.

By contrast, of the 24 counties nationwide with annual property taxes below $250 a year, nearly all were in Alabama and Louisiana, the study found.

In some states, property taxes are modest in dollar terms, but rank high when the tax burden is measured as a share of home price.

Related: American dream homes: What you’ll pay in 10 cities

Parts of Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio fall into this category. Their property taxes on average well exceed 1% of home prices, whereas in most counties in the nation, the average property taxes fall below the 1% mark.

Property taxes are some of the most opaque for taxpayers to figure out.

For one thing, there’s no single formula that every county and state uses to calculate them.

In addition, the “assessed” value of your home on which your property taxes are based can bear little resemblance to your home’s market value.

And there’s no telling from one year’s assessment to another how high your bill will be. “[M]any localities set a revenue target to meet expenditure needs and then vary the tax rate to meet this target, conditional on the tax base,” the study said.

No wonder, then, when asked by Gallup what they considered to be the least fair tax, the percent of Americans who chose the local property tax has nearly doubled, from 24% in 1988 to 42% in 2005.

Of course, counties with higher property taxes tend to spend more on things like education and public services. They may also have higher priced homes. Or they may be higher simply because the local government isn’t bringing in other major sources of revenue, like an income tax.

“In general, localities in states with high property tax burdens tend to have little or no other local taxes,” the Tax Policy Center study noted.

Shared from CNN Money

Should You List Your Home During the Holidays?

By Brendon Desimone

Christmas lights - Should You List Your Home During the Holidays?With the holidays approaching, sellers often wonder if they should keep their properties on the market or take them off? Or if they haven’t listed their homes yet, should they wait until after the first of the year? Maybe hold off until spring?

Conventional wisdom used to be that you shouldn’t even try to sell your home during the busy holiday season. Potential home buyers were too preoccupied with attending parties, cooking meals, buying presents or planning vacations. With all that going on, there just wasn’t time to ride around with a real estate agent, looking at properties.

But with the Internet, smartphones, tablets and our always-on lifestyle, that conventional wisdom isn’t relevant anymore. The reality is, the home buying season is now year-round.

Here’s why you should consider listing your home during the holidays, or even in January.

Today’s buyers never stop looking online

Today, serious buyers are always looking — and the holidays are no exception. They may check out the latest listings in a Zillow Mobile app before bed or while waiting for the kids’ school holiday show to start.

Our hectic lifestyles also play a role. Many serious buyers today work hard. They don’t shift into holiday mode until the last minute. Even during the holiday break, they’re still squeezing in work. There’s no such thing for them as “going off the grid.” So why not continue to monitor real estate listings, too?

The inventory — and the competition — is usually lighter

Despite our always-on lifestyles, many sellers still believe buyers can’t be bothered to look for a home between, say, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. At the same time, sellers who’ve had their homes on the market often take them off during the holidays.

The net effect is that the inventory for good homes often tightens this time of year. So there’s less competition for sellers, at a time when motivated buyers are out there looking — and no doubt wishing there were more properties to see.

If you’ve been considering selling, are motivated, are flexible on timing and have a home that truly sparkles, consider listing right after Thanksgiving. There’s still a window of several weeks to get buyers into your home before the end of the year. And those buyers flipping through listings at their kids’ basketball game will be excited to see something new and awesome hit the market — especially if there’s a lack of good inventory in their area. These buyers will be motivated to see your home, regardless of what the calendar says.

Home not selling? Now’s the time to lower the price or change your strategy

If your property has been on the market for months, most buyers and their agents will see it as stale or overpriced and disregard it no matter how great it is or how light the competition is.

In that case, it’s time to take action, and the year-end holidays can be a great opportunity to shift course. Dramatically reducing the price or overcoming some major obstacle that’s been preventing the sale might be what’s needed to sell your home. If you received lower offers early on but weren’t ready to accept them, or you keep hearing there are issues with how your property shows, this is a good time to show the market you’re listening and are serious about selling. The motivated buyers, desperate for good inventory, will notice you and take a look.

You might even get a sale closed before the end of the year. Before you make any big changes, talk it over with your real estate agent, as always.

Don’t want to be bothered during the holidays? List in January

Admittedly, the thought of keeping the house clean, holding open houses and vacating to accommodate last-minute showings during the holidays is a deal killer for some would-be sellers.

If so, consider listing your property after New Year’s Day. Traditionally, not much inventory comes onto the market in January. It’s cold in most places, the leaves are off the trees and landscaping is dead. Many sellers wait until the spring instead, a more conventional time to sell.

January inventory is still very tight. And yet, each January, buyers call up agents, wanting to get into the market. Often, new buyers — with their fresh New Year’s resolutions to stop wasting money on rent and buy a home — are ready to jump into the market as soon as possible. Some buyers are motivated to search for a home in January because of year-end tax planning.

Whatever the buyers’ motivation, for sellers it means one thing: Demand for homes can increase at a time when inventory is traditionally low. And that means if you’re ready to sell, you’ll have an even more “captive” audience during the holidays, all the way through January.

Shared from Zillow Blog

RE/MAX Ranked #1 Among Real Estate Franchises

Team George Weeks of RE/MAX Choice Properties in Murfreesboro is proud to be a part of the #1 Real Estate Franchise!

RE/MAX offers top-notch marketing and service for its agents’ clients with proven results. Check out the press release below detailing why you should consider buying or selling a home with a RE/MAX agent – namely Team George Weeks!

Headquarter Headshots 2012-B, 10-29-2012

 RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly

DENVER – For the fifth consecutive year, RE/MAX, LLC ranked as the leading real estate franchise organization in the Franchise Times Top 200. The survey is based upon annual worldwide sales.

In the 2013 Top 200 ranking, RE/MAX placed 14th among all franchises, gaining two places over its standing last year. RE/MAX also ranked 6th among the Top 200 franchisors for sales growth. In the overall standings, the top ranked franchises were McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, KFC, SUBWAY and Burger King.

“To be recognized among these well-respected brands is truly an honor,” said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO. “As we continue to celebrate 40 years of helping homebuyers and sellers achieve their dream of home ownership, this confirms the outstanding productivity of RE/MAX agents around the world.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary for RE/MAX and the 35th anniversary of its iconic hot air balloon logo. Buoyed by the U.S. housing recovery and improving economic conditions worldwide, the global franchisor now enjoys an international footprint in more than 90 countries and a growing agent count of more than 90,000.

“Our success as a top franchisor is a direct reflection of our hardworking and talented Sales Associates around the world,” Kelly said. “They proudly provide a high level of customer service, and that results in increasing sales performance.”

Throughout 2013, RE/MAX has been recognized as an industry leader in a variety of real estate surveys. RE/MAX agents averaged more transaction sides than agents with any other national brand according to the 2013 RIS Media Power Broker Report. And in the 2013 REAL Trends 500 survey, RE/MAX agents averaged 17.1 transaction sides in 2012, compared to the 7.9 average for all other competing agents in the survey.

Among other 2013 recognitions, RE/MAX Associates held 98 of the 500 spots in the Wall Street Journal & REAL Trends “The Thousand” for the most transaction sides. And RE/MAX landed the most agents on the Top 250 Latino Real Estate Agents in the U.S., an annual survey by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

Government Shutdown; What Now for Real Estate?

 

Capital
In the wake of today’s government shutdown, many people currently involved in real estate transactions are wondering where it leaves them. Here are a few ways the shutdown can (and will) affect the real estate market for both  buyers and sellers:

1.  Loan Approval Delays 
For potential buyers who are seeking a government-backed loan (e.g. FHA, USDA or VA), be ready to expect delays in the loan approval process. Many of these agencies are staffed with employees who are now on furlough and approvals will most likely be at a complete standstill until the furlough is over.

2.  Contract Processing Delays 
Buyers already approved for a government-backed loan can still expect significant delays. Although some aspects of the FHA, USDA and VA systems are automated (which will help), there are still many instances when the process will require a physical employee to complete processing.

Both buyers and sellers should be aware that for nearly every  loan (to include conventional loans), underwriters will require the IRS form 4506T. Because many IRS workers are furloughed by the shutdown, this will have massive delays in the approval process. This is not an automated system, so this will cause the biggest problem if the shutdown lasts for an extended period of time.

3.  The Housing Market
For people interested in (or in need of) selling their home, the biggest concern is how the market will fair under this shutdown. If the shutdown lasts a short period of time, there will be relatively little impact on the overall market. However, a long-term shutdown could affect the market significantly thanks to the multiple delays in contract and loan processing mentioned above.

So, what’s the bottom line? 
The best course of action buyers and sellers can take is:

  • Get Informed – If you’re wanting or needing to sell your home, talk with a Realtor to see what your options are. Ask them for insight and information on how the market is being affected by the shutdown. If you’re a buyer looking to get a loan, contact a mortgage lender and ask them for a realistic timeline on approvals. Buyers who already have loans should speak with their lender as well. Find out if there is anything you need to do to make the process easier (e.g. forms, extensions, etc. that you can work on and have ready).
  • Be Prepared – Buyers and sellers currently holding contracts should be prepared to work together with the other parties, and be understanding of the realistic delays due to the state of the government. More than likely, signing contract extensions will be the norm until the shutdown is resolved.
  • Be Patient – As frustrating as it may be, patience is going to be the key in making it through this shutdown. Remember that you are not alone – there are others who have been put in a similar bind as far as closing goes. Although it may seem as though the shutdown will last forever; it won’t.

If you or someone you know needs information, guidance or even reassurance regarding the affects of the government shutdown on the real estate market, contact the knowledgeable staff of Team George Weeks with RE/MAX Choice Properties!
(615) 948-4098

 

Buyer’s Guide to Finding a Home & Choosing an Agent

Buying A Home

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you tired of paying high rental rates?
  • Are you ready to define your space outside of what your landlord will allow with paint, landscaping, etc.?
  • Are you ready to start paying for a home that you can call your own?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you may be in the market to get your own piece of the “American Dream” by owning your own home. But where do you start?

Buying a home can be an intimidating process, but with the right agent it can be a smooth, rewarding experience! Here are a few points to consider when starting your home-buying search:

1.  Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage 
This is very important, because it will give you a clear picture of how much house you can afford. Getting pre-approved will help you and your agent find your dream home without showing you places that are outside of your budget. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are, in fact, financially ready to purchase your own home. If you are unable to get pre-approved for a mortgage at this time, this process will give you insight into the steps you need to take to correct your credit and rebuild your finances. A good buyers agent and mortgage lender should be willing to advise you on how to improve your finances so you can get pre-approved in the future.

2.  Property Value 
Once you’re pre-approved and you and your agent have found a home which you are considering,  it’s time to assess the home’s value. Ask your agent to pull comparables or “comps” on the property. This will give you a look into other recent sales in the area of similar houses. This is a vital step that will show you how much the home is worth. It can also help you see the home’s value in comparison to the listing price the sellers have set. If your agent avoids this process after your request, you may want to consider finding a different agent.

3.  Property Condition 
Once you’ve decided on a home to purchase, the next step is identifying the condition of the property. Ask your agent to provide any disclosures the sellers have provided on their home. Review these carefully for any items that may be damaged or not functioning properly. Also, ask your agent to refer a professional home inspector to obtain a detailed assessment of the home’s condition. Based on these findings, you can tweak the price of your offer and rest easy knowing what you’re paying for.

4.  Cost of Living 
Find out if there is a Homeowners Association (HOA), if there are fees and how much they are. This, factored in with any repairs or upgrades you will need to make on the home, utility costs for the area, property taxes  and homeowners insurance can greatly affect your monthly payments. Ask your agent to identify/estimate  these costs for you so you can get a more definite number of what you will actually be paying every month.

5.  Location, Location, Location 
Review the neighborhood’s crime rates and school report cards. If the neighborhood is riddled with crime, you could run the risk of increasing your homeowners insurance rates from claims of theft or damage to your home. Take time to drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day. Look for any trends of suspicious activity, both day and night. Although school districts may not seem important, they are, even if you do not have children. if you ever decide to sell your home and the school district is not ideal, you could lose out on numerous potential buyers and/or money from a future sale.

6.  Offering the “Right” Amount 
After you have reviewed and considered all of the above options, take a good look at the home’s list price. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is the home within your budget? Can you afford the monthly mortgage payment?
  • Is the home priced right in relation to the neighborhood comps?
  • Can you afford to do any repairs or upgrades if you need to?
  • Are the HOA fees, taxes, insurance and utility costs financially manageable?
  • Is the location safe and ideal? Will the location hold or increase its value should you decide to sell?

If you can answer “yes” to the above, you may want to consider offering asking price. If your research finds the value differing from the asking price, discuss modifying your offer price to something different. Remember, offering too little could offend the sellers and have them reject your offer altogether. Be prepared to offer an amount that meets your needs without insulting the sellers. A good agent will help guide you in the right offer amount so you can begin the journey of home ownership!

If you’re ready to start your own search for the perfect home, consider Team George Weeks! We have a firm commitment to our clients to provide good service with integrity and honesty. We work for YOU. Our goal is to provide you with the best service so we will be the last real estate professional you will ever need!

Staging Your Home to Sell Without Breaking the Bank

staged

If you’re looking to sell your home and you want to make it stand out from the crowd, proper staging is the key!

If you don’t want to spend extra money to hire a professional staging company, here are a few tips that cost little or no money — and will likely make a huge, positive impact on potential buyers:

(1)  Deep Clean

This is the most essential step in the staging process. Potentials buyers want to be “wowed,” and nothing will send them running to the next listing faster than a messy house! Take the time to deep clean your house. In addition to your normal cleaning routine, set aside time to:

  • Wash the Windows – This includes all drapes, curtains, blinds, window frames, sills and glass. (Use a laundry scent booster on any linens you wash to keep the house smelling fresh!)
  • Scrub the Baseboards -All too often these are neglected when the floors are washed. Move any furniture, and scrub all baseboards with a mild soap and water mixture  to remove built up dirt and grime (If you have problems with lint or pet hair lurking in corners, rub a dryer sheet around the perimeter of your baseboards to help eliminate cobwebs and lint build up!)
  • Clean the Floors – Make sure you (carefully!) move furniture or appliances to clean up any hidden dust, crumbs or dirt that may have accumulated over time. If you have carpet, consider renting a steam cleaner to get your carpets fresh and stain-free!
  • Manicure the Exterior – Trim any unruly shrubbery, weed any flower beds or potted plants, remove / replace any dead plants, sweep any hard surfaces to remove debris and touch up any missing / faded paint on doors, window frames, shutters, etc. If you have hardware in your landscaping that doesn’t function (lights, broken bricks, rotted wood, etc.) be sure to remove or replace these items. (If it doesn’t work as intended, it’s better to not have it at all!)

(2)  De-Clutter and Organize

When buyers are viewing a home they are interested in, they need to be able to envision their own items in the house. If they are having a difficult time seeing past all your stuff, they might give up and seek out a different place. Set some time aside to:

  • Organize Papers – If you have stacks of papers lying around, go through them. Get rid of items that are out-dated, create a filing system for important documents (you can use a filing cabinet or use a 3-hole punch and store them in a binder)
  • If You Don’t Need It, Hide It – This includes any items that take up unnecessary space such as excessive nick-knacks. Consider getting rid of items you no longer need and neatly storing the items you cherish but don’t add function to a space.
  • Maximize Your Storage Space – Even if your home lacks storage space, de-cluttering will eliminate items that take up unnecessary space. Consider using plastic storage bins and neatly labeled boxes to store items. It will not only make your closets and storage areas visually appealing, but it will also make it easier to load when your home sells!
  • Move & Rearrange Furniture – If you have a lot of pieces in one room, and few in other rooms, consider moving some furniture into other rooms to balance out the space equally between each room. (If you have more furniture than you need, consider putting extra pieces in storage or selling some to make a little extra cash for other staging improvements!)

(3)  Eliminate Over-Personalization

As discussed above, buyers want to be able to see their own furniture and belongings in the home. If there is an over-abundance of personal photos throughout your home, consider storing them away or replacing them with generic artwork that fits the look and feel of the room. Although your friends and family may enjoy looking at pictures when they come to visit, John & Jane Buyers probably aren’t quite as interested. (Need some inspiration? Check out these simple, inexpensive ideas for wall art!)

Neutral colors are the best colors! If you have time and money, consider painting the interior rooms a warm, neutral tone. If you opt out of painting, make sure the room makes sense. Use items to decorate and accessorize that coordinate with the color scheme of the space. Even wild and eccentric colors can be toned down or played up with proper use of coordinating shades.

(4)  Maintain Your Hard Work

Take time each day to keep your home “Show-Ready” at all times!

  • Stay organized using the storage and de-cluttering techniques and systems you created (it only takes a few extra minutes to put things where they belong)
  • Keep up with the cleaning:  keep your floors vacuumed, swept and mopped, wipe off counters and faucets, make your beds daily, keep the sink dirty dish-free, consolidate trash, fold and put away laundry, dust regularly, etc. After a deep clean, it’s easier to prevent the need to repeat the deep cleaning process with some simple, daily maintenance!
  • Keep your exterior managed: mow the lawn regularly, keep weeds under control and sweep off hard surfaces of debris

(5)  Be an “Invisible Host/Hostess” During Showings 

With some pre-planning and preparation, you can make potential buyers feel welcome and excited about viewing your home:

  • Consider having fresh-baked cookies or other sweet treats set out with a simple note that says “Thank You for choosing to visit our home!”
  • Give potential buyers a run-down of your favorite features about the home and neighborhood in the form of a “Fact Sheet.” Be honest and positive.  Think of topics like:

What I/we will miss most about this home?
My/Our favorite thing to do around the house or in the neighborhood is
My/Our favorite feature about this house is; etc.

The agent you choose to list your home should be willing to take time to give you insight on staging your home the best way possible. If you’re looking for knowledgeable, professional, courteous real estate professionals to assist you with all aspects of selling your home, look no further than Team George Weeks! 

Contact Us Today!!

Buy or Sell With Team George Weeks & Use the Moving Truck for Free!

 

movingtruck2Team George Weeks is incredibly excited to announce the introduction of a program that we have been working on for months!

Moving can not only be stressful, but incredibly expensive. Therefore, our team spent much time and effort trying to come up with a solution for our clients. So what was the end result?

The Team George Weeks Moving Truck Program!

From this point on, families who buy or sell with our team have the opportunity to use our 24FT moving truck for free! That’s right – no need to bother with those pesky rental companies. We’ll put them all to shame, as we will even cover the gas expenses and the driving!

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, give us a call. No other team will work harder for you — before and after closing!

**Some restrictions may apply. Call for details!