When to Use a Professional

Real Estate Advisor: December 2015
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As homeowners, we want our properties to reflect our styles and the designs of the current day. If you have purchased an older property, or you just want to update your current home, a certain degree of work and projects are required to bring your property up to the level you strive for. While many of us have experience with home projects, there are some of us that don’t. Below are some of the common projects homeowners embark upon, and suggestions on when it’s best to do it yourself or call a professional for help.

Walls

Sheetrock - When to Use a ProfessionalMost painting jobs are DIY, pending you have a steady hand. Should you have structural repairs or water damage, call a pro, especially if you’re going to demolish the existing wall, replace or re-frame anything, install new Sheetrock or drywall or anything else that is labor intensive.

Floors

Floor repairs can be fairly easy, from cleaning to repairing small nicks in the flooring. If you want to take on a larger project, it might be worthwhile to hire a pro if your project requires installing hardwood floors or laying tile. With the amount of work required to install a new floor, hiring someone with the experience can save you time, money and a lot of body aches.

Windows

window caulk - When to Use a ProfessionalIf you’re doing minor maintenance and repairs (like repairing or replacing wood sills or caulking around windows), you should be able to do this type of project no sweat. But if you’re looking to replace a window, or need to rebuild a window frame, count on calling a professional for help.

Electrical

If you have no experience with the electrical system of your home, keep your improvements limited to changing outlet covers and switch plates. You can also change all your current light bulbs to energy saving bulbs.

Tile

Tile - When to Use a ProfessionalTiling a back splash or replacing dirty old grout are projects most homeowners will be able to tackle on their own. But if your project requires tiling floors, walls, or large tile installations, it might be worthwhile to contact a professional for help, especially if your project requires cutting any tile.

Plumbing

Plumber - When to Use a ProfessionalDIYers should be able to do small projects, like replacing a toilet flapper, addressing drips, upgrading shower and sink fixtures, and other small things that don’t require a lot of tools. If your project requires moving or installing any plumbing or pipes, call a pro for help.

Home Repairs for a Professional:

Plumbing

Small leaks can mean thousands in repairs if they’re not caught in time. If you need to modify your plumbing system, then you should definitely call a professional. Welding pipes together requires a torch, and if you don’t have that experience, it’s best to rely on the experts for this type of work.

Electrical

If your project requires direct contact with electricity, call a pro. This includes rewiring, adding power to areas that do not currently have power, and any installation of large or heavy light fixtures (think a chandelier). Electricity is no joke, and the last thing you want is to cause yourself harm, or harm your home, during a DIY project.

Asbestos, Mold and Lead Paint

If you have a new home, you will not encounter asbestos or lead paint. But if you are interested in older homes, asbestos and lead paint are a possibility. Once used as insulation, asbestos is toxic, and there are laws that govern how it’s removed and disposed of. Lead paint is also highly toxic, and removal should be done by a lead professional. Should you have mold in your home (certain types are toxic), it’s best to leave the removal of all of these to the professionals: they know how to remove and dispose of all toxic materials, and they can do it safely.

Roofing

Repairing a roof shingle might seem like an easy task, but there is more danger in getting on and off a roof than most homeowners realize. Tools, multiple trips up and down a ladder, and constant attention paid to the incline of the roof make roof repairs tiring, and if you’re not prepared, dangerous. Stick with the professionals – they have the proper gear and the experience required to do the job right.

Anything with Gas

Gas is similar to water: if it can find a way out, it will escape. If you’re replacing appliances that run on natural gas, it’s best to hire someone to help with installation. The last thing you want is for gas to escape and result in a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home.

Why It Pays to List Your Home in Winter

Daniel Bortz @DanielBortz Oct. 30, 2015

If you’re listing your home now, use these ideas to make a great cold-weather impression.

151030_PLA_WinterSaleSpring may still be peak home-shopping season, since most families want to move when the kids are out of school. Yet it actually pays to list in the winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency: A study by online brokerage Redfin found that average sellers net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March than they do from June through November, even in cold-weather cities like Boston and Chicago. And homes listed in winter sold faster than those posted in spring.

Should you put your home on the market now? Unless you need to sell (say, you’ve purchased your next home or are relocating for a job), “timing always depends on supply and demand,” says Indianapolis real estate agent Christine Dossman.

To understand your local climate, check the number of days on the market for current and recently sold listings. If most are sitting for more than 60 days, it’s safer to wait until spring, when more buyers will emerge. Yet “if properties are selling quickly, take that as a green light to list,” says real estate broker Peggy Yee of Vienna, Va.

If you do move forward, these strategies will help make your home a hot seller this winter.

Price It Right

The quieter winter market brings special pricing considerations. Unlike in spring, when there are more shoppers—and it may make sense to price low to try to generate a bidding war—you’re less likely to receive multiple offers.

Winter is also a bad time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market value to nab a buyer before new properties appear in spring and make yours look stale by comparison.

The upshot: Take a conservative approach and price at market value, Yee advises. Check closing prices of comparable properties sold in the past 30 days, then eye current list prices to make sure your home won’t look overpriced.

Schedule a Tune-Up

Winter buyers are particularly attuned to issues related to heating and maintenance. Get your furnace, HVAC, and roof inspected, and make any necessary repairs. Also on your to-do list: Clean the gutters, change air filters, and weather—strip the windows.

Many cold-weather house hunters will also be thinking about heating costs. Consider low-cost upgrades like insulating the attic or installing energy-efficient windows, which can slash utility bills, says Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate.

Brighten Your Home

Snow and gray skies make for a gloomy first impression. Warm up curb appeal with basic landscaping, and add inexpensive cool-weather plants like holly to invigorate outdoor space. Fix chipped paint, caulk windows, and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation that freezes over and creates an eyesore.

Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting your house off-white throughout—it sets a consistent color palette and makes the space feel larger, says Sacramento interior designer Kerrie Kelly.

And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room, where staging can have the greatest impact, according to a National Association of Realtors report. Items like a throw blanket can set the tone since “people are in winter mode,” says Annette DeCicco, a New Jersey regional sales manager at Berkshire Hathaway. Just don’t tie the space to a specific religion or belief, advises Kelly. To stay neutral, use such seasonal touches as stacked wood by the fireplace rather than holiday decorations.

As always, de-clutter and depersonalize. Put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home; instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard in the summertime. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean buyers can’t appreciate what your home has to offer year-round.

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Source: Money Magazine

Thinking of Selling? 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner

No-FSBO-KCMIn today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

 2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 88% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 21% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3. Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspaper

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

Email from a Client

We had a wonderful email from a client and thought we would share.

“Thank you for getting our house sold. I am sure you are already aware, but I wanted to tell you personally Sarah Harris is top notch. She is always pleasant and ready to go above and beyond to help in any way.”

~Susan B.

Thank you Susan for the nice email. We are very fortunate to have the excellent team that we have and it’s great to get this feedback. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

‪#‎FeelingAppreciated‬

64.2% of Millennials Put Down Less than 20%

Millennials-KCM

Digital Risk recently polled Millennials about the housing market. Among their findings was the fact that nearly two-thirds of the generation who have recently purchased a home, have done so with less than 20% down; with 36% putting down less than 5%!

Here is a graph detailing the results:

Millennial-Down-Payment

This means that more and more American’s between the ages of 18 and 34 stopped paying their landlord’s mortgage and started building their own family’s wealth.

Millennials aren’t the only ones taking advantage of lower down payments.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that if the down payment required to purchase a home went from 20% to 5%, a renter’s Willingness To Pay (WTP)increased by 40%.

Willingness-To-Pay

 

The problem is that thirty-six percent of Americans still think a 20% down payment is always required when buying a home. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters now realizing that the home of your dreams is obtainable, contact a local real estate professional who can guide you through the process.

4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home Inspection

The inspection can be your chance to learn about your potential home and discover possible trouble spots.

- 4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home Inspectionshutterstock 208429627 56bdd3 900x350 - 4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home InspectionMany buyers assume that the home inspection is their opportunity to pick the home apart and find its flaws. While the inspection often results in a second round of negotiations, buyers should view the inspection as the introduction to their potential home. Here are four tips for getting the most from your home inspection.

Enlist a pro

It’s best to use a well-known, local inspector — preferably someone your agent refers. If your Uncle Bob is a contractor, it may seem like a good idea to bring him instead. But you need a licensed inspector who is familiar with the area, and different types of homes and systems.

An impartial third party, the inspector should be a voice or reason, not an alarmist or overly optimistic. They are liable for inspecting to the best of their ability.

Come prepared

Bring a list of your concerns and questions about the house. During the viewings, you probably had questions about some aspects of the construction. Write down your concerns.

If the seller provided property disclosures or you’ve received documents about the property from the local building department, bring them to the inspection. The inspector normally starts off with a discussion about what he seeks to accomplish, then asks what questions or concerns you have. Lay them out at the beginning so that the inspector can keep them in mind as he goes through the home.

Walk around with the inspector

Some inspectors prefer to work independently, but most will give you the opportunity to walk around with them. This is your chance to learn about your home. You want to know and see firsthand where your water heater and electrical panel are. It’s easier to understand if you are there, in front of the inspector when he points something out, than to hear about it at the end.

As a homeowner, you will need to know all about your systems because there won’t be a landlord to call when something goes awry.

Use the inspection to compile a maintenance plan

Parts of the home often break down or fall apart because nobody properly maintained them. Changing the filter on the HVAC system, replacing old plumbing valves or monitoring leaks will help keep things working. Nobody wants a broken boiler in the middle of January, or their water heater to break mid-week.

The inspection is a great way to learn about your home and what it will need going forward. If the boiler is near the end of its life, find out what you need to do next winter to make sure it lasts the season. Make a financial plan to replace it in the future.

Home inspection is one of the biggest components of the real estate transaction. You should take it seriously, and come prepared to ask questions and learn about the home.

Shared from Zillow Blog

The Market Needs Your Homes!

Uncle-Sam

The real estate market has rebounded. So much so that there is a short supply of available homes for sale on the market. Especially for lower priced homes.

How does real estate help our economy?

The increased sales mean increased sales prices. Increased sales prices mean increased values for homes. Even those who aren’t selling their homes will realize the increased values. This in turn boosts  consumer confidence and consumer spending.

NAR compiled data from research conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis & Macroeconomic Advisors on the economic impact of a home purchase.

After reviewing the data, they concluded that the total economic impact of a typical home sale in the United States is an astonishing $52,205.

The more homes that are sold the better the economy. The better the economy the better it is for everyone.

How does this help you?

Homes listed in todays market go fast! And with mortgage rates still low this may be the time to upgrade your current home to a bigger house or one in a nicer location.

Give us a call and we will happy to show you what your options are.

REMAX/Regional Awards 2015

RE/MAX Regional Awards winners again!

Everyone at Team George Weeks works really hard to do the best we can for our clients. That in itself is very fulfilling but it's exceptionally nice when our peers recognize our acheivements as well.

We are recognized as one of the very best teams in the in the country (top 1000), one of RE/MAX's top teams in the country, and the #3 team in the region. And our very own Erin Kosko also received the 100% Club award.

Congratulations the entire team and we look forward to serving middle Tennessee for another award winning year.

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Awards 2015

 

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ARE THE SUBURBS GOING OUT OF STYLE?

by Jaymi Naciri

Are you out of style? If you live in the suburbs, you just may be.

At least that’s what a new report from Portland, Oregon-based think tank City Observatory said.

People have typically moved out to the suburbs for a few key reasons: more house for the money; the possibility of better public schools; a more family-focused environment; a yard for the dog. The tradeoff is more time spent commuting, less time at home. For many, it’s worth it. But that might be changing.

“Downtown is coming back. Just look at Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee—classic examples of U.S. cities where the well-to-do chose to live in the suburbs,” said Bloomberg in a story on City Observatory’s report. “Now they are among the most vibrant U.S. city centers.”

Compelling data

While the conversation is nothing new and the death of the suburbs may have been exaggerated, the data is compelling. The report cites the surge in job opportunities in city centers as a driving force behind the increase in city living. “City Observatory measured the urban core as an area within three miles of the central business district. It then took a before and after snapshot of the job market in the 51 biggest U.S. metropolitan areas in two different time periods,” which showed a marked increase in several cities.

The 2013 TIME magazine article “The End of the Suburbs” stated that, “A major change is underway in where and how we are choosing to live. In 2011, for the first time in nearly a hundred years, the rate of urban population growth outpaced suburban growth, reversing a trend that held steady for every decade since the invention of the automobile.”

burbs1 - ARE THE SUBURBS GOING OUT OF STYLE?The article also noted that, “In several metropolitan areas, building activity that was once concentrated in the suburban fringe has now shifted to what planners call the ‘urban core,’ while demand for large single-family homes that characterize our modern suburbs is dwindling.”

Their takeaway: Americans don’t want to live in the suburbs anymore, which they likened to the idea of “tranquil, tree-lined streets, soccer leagues and center hall colonials…being replaced by “endless sprawl, a punishing commute, and McMansions.”

Improved economic conditions and city migration by two key demographics is largely responsible for the reversal of the “suburban exodus,” as The Wire calls it.

“More Americans are moving to cities in the wake of the slight uptick in the economy in recent years, reversing the decades-long trend of settling in the suburbs,” they said. “The trend in city living is driven primarily by two groups: young professionals and Baby Boomers, who are retiring and moving back to the cities they left when they started families.”

burbs2 - ARE THE SUBURBS GOING OUT OF STYLE?All melding into one

The Atlantic’s CityLab has a slightly different take, pointing out in “The Fading Distinction Between City and Suburb” that people may be returning to urban neighborhoods, but they’re bringing “much of their suburban lifestyle with them.”

“A recent Canadian study indicated that the traditional suburban lifestyle continues to be widespread, finding that key features of suburban life not only remain commonplace in the suburbs but are often continued by high-income people even after they move to cities.”

Of course, the relationship between those moving back to the city and their continued lifestyle choices hinges on income.

“Richer people, the researchers found, tend to own single-family homes and drive cars even when they live in highly urbanized neighborhoods. As the rich move back to cities, they take their preferences for and abilities to purchase larger home or condos and private cars.”

At the heart of suburban sprawl

Affordability has long been a main driver for those heading out to the suburbs. In cities like Los Angeles, the suburbs continue to attract those who are priced out of the city or who would prefer to spend their money on a large family home with a yard and no private school tuition instead of a cramped city condo. In the northern suburb of Valencia, a booming local economy heavy on hi-tech and film and TV production employ many local residents. However, many thousands of others commute up to three to four hours per day to the Westside, downtown L.A. and other large employment centers. The price they have to pay for suburban life? Literally.

Shared from Realty Times.

How to Pick a Dog

bella

You’ve purchased that perfect new home and have gotten all settled in. Everything has been unpacked. All the pictures have been hung on the walls. The kids are settled in their new school. But something is still missing. Maybe it’s time for a dog?

Getting a new pet is a large step. Be sure to plan ahead. Ask a lot of questions from your local veterinarian and do plenty of research. Most importantly be certain that everyone in the family is on board with the idea of having a new furry family member.

Here is a questionnaire from PEDIGREE® Brand to help you find the right breed for you.

Find Your Perfect Breed

Be sure to check out your local shelters & rescues for your new best friend.  And stay tuned for some exciting news from the Team George Weeks family about a new Team member coming soon!