RECONSIDER THESE CHOICES WHEN YOU’RE DESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

The kitchen is one area of the home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal when you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap Laminate Countertops: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh out of the oven and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat Paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy Backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling show, you’ll certainly see kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue and can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret, plus you’ll have more room in your budget to purchase quality materials to be used elsewhere.

Cheap Flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.


crop sm kitch - RECONSIDER THESE CHOICES WHEN YOU’RE DESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

Buying a Home with a Non-Spouse

Real Estate Advisor: September 2017
When multiple people participate in a home purchase, they may not be married. They might be in a legal domestic partnership, committed relationship, common law marriage, or even strictly business partners. When it comes to buying a home with someone you’re not married to, there are things to take into consideration before making the very big decision of buying the home. Also, it’s important to check state and local laws as some states and towns have laws that prohibit unmarried couples from buying property together.
Home buying 4 - Buying a Home with a Non-Spouse

Share Financial Information

Sharing financial information is a big must when it comes to buying property with anyone (whether married or not). Financial information includes everything from income/salary, all debt (any current loans, student loan debt, car loans, etc.), credit scores, retirement accounts and any other income that might not be from a regular job. You have to be completely upfront about all finances, especially if you plan on applying for a mortgage loan. When applying for a mortgage loan, married couples have an advantage; they may be able to use the better credit history/credit score to apply for a loan; for couples that are not married, the mortgage lender will treat each person as an individual, meaning the lower of the two scores will take precedence when it comes to the terms of the loan.

Discuss and Plan Who Pays What

Buying a home is a big financial decision, and requires a sound understanding of who will be responsible for what. This includes paying any mortgage payments, household bills, property taxes, etc. If you’re purchasing a property with someone you’re not legally married to, it’s important to spell out and have a firm written ‘contract’ regarding who pays for what or how much. Before you buy, you need to agree on how much each person is going to contribute to the down payment, how much equity percentage each person will have in the property, and what each person will contribute to the mortgage, taxes, utilities, maintenance and anything else that may come up.

Home buying 2 - Buying a Home with a Non-Spouse

Have a Joint Bank Account

While joining bank accounts with the person you buy a home with isn’t a necessity, it is a good idea to have a shared account in which each person deposits their share of the home costs. When it comes to paying a mortgage, there are easier ways to pay beyond writing a check. With the advent of online banking and automatic withdrawal, you can set up the mortgage payment to come out of a joint account on the same day each month, making the mortgage payment easy and stress-free. With a shared account, any money for household bills, property improvements, taxes and anything else that may be considered important can come out of the joint account.

Credit Surprises

For buyers applying for a mortgage loan, maintaining the same level of credit between being approved and the final closing is extremely important for a successful transaction. A person’s credit can be impacted by anything: changing jobs, getting a new credit card, closing a credit card, falling behind on payments, and even adding additional debt through large purchases. Surprises when it comes to a buyer’s credit can be a deal breaker for the lender; to prevent issues, a buyer can contact the lender ahead of closing to discuss any surprises that may have come up and come to a solution. The best way to prevent credit surprises: avoid making large financial decisions prior to closing.

Home buying 3 - Buying a Home with a Non-Spouse

Decide On the Type of Title

When buying a home with someone you’re not married to, there are three different ways to “take title:”

Sole Ownership – This is where only one person’s name is on the title/deed, which means that one person is the only legal owner. Sometimes this choice is a good idea if one partner has poor credit and doesn’t want to be part of the mortgage decision. Other times, the higher-income partner may want to be able to use the house-related tax deductions on his/her taxes. The good news is that if the other person wants to be added to the title later on, there is a process in which to do it.

Joint Tenants – This option is available for those owners that want to have equal shares of the property. Both a benefit and a risk of this type of title is that one partner cannot sell the house without the other partner’s permission. Should one of the partners die, the “right of survivorship” guarantees the other partner inherits the other half of the property. In most states Joint Tenants comes with the right of survivorship, while in others it will need to be specifically stated on the title.

Tenants in Common – This is an option that allows multiple owners of a home/property, and for the owners to possess unequal shares. With this type of title, it is possible for any one of the owners to sell his/her share of the property at any time. Should one party die, that party’s share is left to whomever the party wished – the share doesn’t automatically go to the other owner(s). If this title is chosen, it’s important to get the percentages in writing, as very often the law will assume an equal split of the property.

Whether in a committed relationship, business partners, or buying property with a sibling/friend, property ownership is definitely a possibility. If you have any questions, your agent is able to provide additional guidance on buying a home with a non-spouse.

Closing Day Surprises

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For many buyers, closing day can’t come fast enough. Once the offer is made and accepted, the time between can seem like eternity. For many, closing day goes smoothly. For others, there may be some unexpected surprises that pop up. While closing day problems are not usually anticipated by a buyer, they are not unheard of, and depending on what kind come up, some can be minor while others can impact the entire deal. Here are some of the most common closing day surprises.

unnamed 1 300x224 - Closing Day SurprisesWalk-Through Surprises

For many buyers, a final walk-through is a must before closing as it allows the buyer to ensure the property’s condition hasn’t changed since the last visit and that any agreed-upon repairs have been done per the contract. If moving furniture created a new hole in the wall, agreed-upon fixtures have been removed, or the property is in total disarray, the issues need to be addressed immediately. The buyer’s agent should work with the seller’s agent to resolve any surprises that have come up. Walk-through issues are generally not deal breakers, but they can be a thorn in a buyer’s side.

Document Surprises

A common surprise at closing is an error in the documents. Errors can include misspelled names, incorrect addresses, and even incorrect loan amounts or missing pages. Some issues can cause an hour or two delay, while others can result in a much longer delay. To avoid any document surprises, a buyer can request to see every document ahead of closing. Loan documents should be scrutinized prior to closing; by law, a buyer should receive a Loan Estimate form and Closing Disclosure form three days before closing. Once these forms are received, it’s up to the buyer to double-check the loan amount, down payment amount, interest rate, and all personal information, including spellings. If questions arise, the sooner they’re answered the better.

Title Surprises
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deed

When buying a home, a title company will make sure the title to a property is legitimate by doing a title search, which is essentially a thorough examination of property records to make sure the title is clear of any liens or claims on the property. Title surprises can include: IRS tax liens, unpaid property taxes, judgments, contractor or mechanics liens, identity affidavit, and encroachments. Some of these surprises can be resolved on closing day; others may take a significant amount of time to resolve and will undoubtedly delay closing. Once escrow opens, the title company completes a preliminary title report and sends it to the lender and agents involved — a buyer can get a copy from his/her lender or from the title company and check if there are any preliminary issues. Many purchase agreements include a specific time period for the buyer to bring up any concerns regarding the title, so if there are issues w ith the title, get the ball rolling on resolutions as soon as possible.

Credit Surprises

For buyers applying for a mortgage loan, maintaining the same level of credit between being approved and the final closing is extremely important for a successful transaction. A person’s credit can be impacted by anything: changing jobs, getting a new credit card, closing a credit card, falling behind on payments, and even adding additional debt through large purchases. Surprises when it comes to a buyer’s credit can be a deal breaker for the lender; to prevent issues, a buyer can contact the lender ahead of closing to discuss any surprises that may have come up and come to a solution. The best way to prevent credit surprises: avoid making large financial decisions prior to closing.

unnamed 3 300x199 - Closing Day SurprisesMortgage Surprises

Credit surprises can impact a mortgage loan, but there are other mortgage surprises that can come up on closing day. In a hot real estate market, lenders can be incredibly busy and inundated with loan applications. Sometimes, a buyer’s loan file can find itself on the bottom of the pile, meaning there may be important items omitted, documents missing, or extra information needed to complete the file on time. For a buyer applying for a mortgage loan, asking the lender what documents will be required ahead of time can save time and prevent headaches on closing day. Buyers can also call or email the lender to make sure they have all the important documents, items, etc. to complete the loan file on time. Before closing, a closing agent will be assigned to the transaction (the closing agent coordinates the final steps of the transaction to make sure all documents and funds are in order and handled correctly) — the bu yer can contact the closing agent to make sure the lender has all the needed documents, and if there is still any doubt, copies of all the documents and anything else that may seem important or pertinent to the transaction can be brought to closing.

Remember, your real estate agent is working on your behalf. Keep your agent informed — your agent wants to help you as much as possible, and he or she can be a great resource when you have questions.

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4 Home Staging Tips to Help Sell Your Home….Fast!

Home Staging 101

By Macie Orrand

Home staging and getting ready for those showings can be an overwhelming feeling. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you think you are ready to put your home on the market!

Home Staging Tip for #1 – Declutter

When you begin to declutter the house it can become a bigger project than you had intended. Take it room by room. DO NOT start out in one room and then decide to stop to start on a different room that you think will take less time. Finish one room before moving on to the others. Trust me you will thank me later. Keep in mind not everything needs to be decluttered. Below are some main areas to check for clutter.

Linen closets/Bedroom closets. Actually any closet, in general, you should check!

Bathroom and kitchen counter tops

Entryways

The tops of the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator

Outdoor areas

Why are these areas so important to declutter you ask? Well, if the buyer sees that you are running out of space they will feel like they will too. Making these spaces look open and still usable is a desirable characteristic that buyers look for at showings! Which leads me to my next point!

A little decluttering goes a long way.

Home Staging Tip for #2 – Enlarge the Rooms

Try to make the rooms look larger. The bigger the room look, the more space the potential buyer sees! Here are some ways to do that!

Placement of furniture

Light, natural paint colors

Less wall décor

Open blinds and curtains to let natural light in

And of course….Decluttering 😉

Home Staging Tip for #3 – Clean & Repair

Clean up, especially stains.

Fix those small repairs.

Fix any cosmetic repairs and stains that will turn off buyers. If you dont want to see it, then chances are neither will someone looking at your home to buy.

Home Staging Tip for #

4.) Go ahead and box up a couple of items. Here is what to pack away and why!

Pack away the clutter.

Pack away any picture frames that are NOT attached to the wall. Having a lot of pictures on display may make it hard for the buyers to envision themselves there.

Pack away anything that is not being used! Out of sight out of mind is my motto!

Here is a tip for packing that I always tell my sellers, “If you can’t see this item in your new home…throw it out or sell it.” Do not pack something that you will not need or want to take with you to your new residence. It makes unpacking easier and faster!

Homes for sale in Murfreesboro are selling fast today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare your home. Making sure you have the perfect realtor/team to help you do that will ensure you will get the best price for your home!

Help for Homeowners

HHF DPA Flyer 1 - Help for Homeowners

Tennessee Housing Agency Development Agency offers payment assistance in 55 targeted zip codes located in 30 Tennessee counties in for qualifying applicants through he HHF (Hardest Hit Fund) Down Payment Assistance Program.

For more information on this and any other mortgage questions contact Belinda Arender – IBERIABANK Mortgage.

Ask the Agent Episode 3 – Shannon Orrand

This week in episode 3 of Ask the Agent, Shannon Orrand answers the question “What price per square foot can you expect to pay to build your own home?” 

If you have anymore questions please give us call at Direct (615) 948-4098, Shannon (615) 753-3251 or the office (629) 202-7333.

Considerations for Selecting a Real Estate Agent

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, selecting a real estate agent is the first important decision you will have to make. While there are many qualified real estate agents out there, it’s important to decide on a professional who will understand your needs and individual preferences, someone who you can respect and trust. Nearly four out of five homebuyers and sellers enlist in the help of a real estate professional or broker.Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or sell the one you’re in, choosing a professional who best fits your needs is vital. Here are some questions to consider when choosing an agent:

  • How long have they been a real estate professional?
  • Do they work full or part time?
  • How long have they been working in this particular area?
  • What type of homes do they usually handle?
  • How much of their business comes from repeat customers or referrals?
  • How many homes did they sell last year?
  • How often can you expect to be updated, regardless of any progress?

Above all you should choose an agent that you feel comfortable with. Your real estate professional will be your guide through the entire process of buying or selling a home, and can be a valuable resource. Make sure that whomever you select is well suited to your demands.

Preparing to Sell

Preparing to Sell 300x200 - Preparing to SellSelling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.