Friday, October 30, 2009

You're in Luck with Two Men and a Truck!

After 15 moves, I needed a reliable moving company to get my things loaded and unloaded quickly and safely. Several clients had used Two Men and a Truck, and with all their rave reviews, I decided to give them a try. Thanks to James and John, with Two Men and a Truck, it was a successful and pleasant experience.

Scheduled to arrive around 8 this morning, my only disappointment was their late arrival after 8:30. Later on I found out that their longer-than-usual staff meeting was the reason for the delay.

John and James didn't waste any time getting started. Idle chit-chat, cigarette breaks, and casual dilly-dallying were never part of the time I paid for. These guys hustled - and I mean HUSTLED!. An hour later, they had loaded everything and were ready to go.

Watching them unload and place everything is still mesmerizing. By noon, they were ready to leave my new home. Everything was in it's place and it had arrived safely.

If you're looking for a great company to move you, look no further than Two Men and a Truck. To book, call Katie at 615-248-6288 x201. She can book your move and give you an estimate of how much time it'll take. Mention the discount coupon and she'll send you one in the mail. Also when you call, ask for James and John to move you. They're the best!

If you're looking for a real estate agent who knows the entire business of making a move, give me a call. I'd love to help you with all of your real estate needs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ice House

In the 1950s, Detroit was a thriving city of 1.8 million. Today, having experienced a mass exodus of jobs, the people went elsewhere and the city, a declining metropolis, is now at half of it's highest population.

Sad, but true, Detroit is also saddled with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. House after house sits empty and a group called Object Orange is painting the vacant houses orange to draw attention to the city's blight and decay.

An artist and an architect plan on turning a house into a piece of art - the subject of photographs - to draw attention to the significant distress the city is in.

This project could have been done in another city, but it would not have had the significance that it does in Detroit. Check out the story by CLICKING HERE. There's a link to the artist's blog at the bottom of the article. You may find that as interesting.

I can help you find a foreclosure or short sale to buy, or if you're currently in dire straights with your home, give me a shout. I'm here to help.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Has Your Agent Checked Thoroughly?

When a real estate agent represents a client, he does so through the very end of the transaction. Part of that representation is to make sure that ALL of the numbers on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement (the document that shows what is being received and paid out by the seller and buyer) are accurate.

Six weeks ago, I sold a listing where the contract stated, "Seller to pay $3500 toward buyer's closings costs, prepaids and points." The lender only charged $2900 to close the buyer's loan for this transaction, but when I received my copy of the HUD-1 to review, an "additional" $495 was charged to the seller. The charge? A home warranty.

While a home warranty is usually covered by a seller to benefit the buyer, this buyer specifically WAIVED a home warranty. So why was the additional charge on the statement? When I called the seller's title company and protested the charge, it was removed. Apparently the buyer's title company "wanted to try it to see if the seller would pay it." That is an actual quote from their representative.

Just recently one of my sellers asked why it was important for there to be a "split" closing, utilizing two title companies. This is the very reason why. In the real world, title companies are technically and legally supposed to be NEUTRAL parties to the transactions. However, in recent years, title companies have taken on the role of "representative" of either the buyer or seller. In this situation, the buyer's title company SHOULD have actually told the buyer, 'no' to the request to charge the seller for the warranty. After all, the warranty was not agreed to by either party.

Representation took on it's current state several years ago when foreclosing banks started contracting with title companies to handle their sale transactions. By contracting with them, they received a reduced rate in their fees in exchange for giving the title company all of their business. Unfortunately, this 'representation' mentality has seeped into mainstream title companies as well because buyers and sellers would have battles at the closing table. Voila - split closings.

If you are buying and/or selling a home, make sure you ask your real estate agent to review the HUD-1 Settlement Statement very closely. A good agent will pull the contract out while reviewing it to make sure everything is followed precisely.
Looking for a qualified agent to help you buy or sell your home? Give me a shout. You can reach me by email ( or by phone (615-373-3513 - office). I'd love to help you with all of your real estate needs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dealing With an Offer

Unless it's a very strong seller's market, sellers should be careful when responding to an offer on their house. Some sellers still think they can dictate what they'll take for their home, using the "take it or leave it" approach.

This is not the time to use that strategy. Unfortunately, many buyers are 'low-balling' the house in their offers and want everything in the world with the house - refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc. And they also want a seller-paid home warranty, seller-paid closing costs and sometimes more.

A house that needs significant repairs and/or updating will never command it's highest potential price. However, a house that is in pristine condition will always command top dollar. You may wait a little longer for an offer, but any house that is priced "right" will sell within a very reasonable period of time.

If the house is in great condition, and is priced within the parameters of area comparables, then the seller should stick to his/her guns on price, terms and conditions. However, to respond back at full list price, paying no closing costs, not furnishing a home warranty - the major things buyers want to negotiate - will mean buyers will probably walk away from the potential deal.

If the house is in poor condition, concessions should be made at the listing time for those items. If not, then an offer will probably not be realized.

When responding to an offer, sellers should be willing to work with whatever has been submitted. Just because an offer is lower does not mean that the buyer expects to walk away paying that price. Sometimes the buyer may submit a lower offer to see what the seller will actually be willing to do.

Real estate transactions have to be "win-win" for everyone. A good real estate agent can help a seller negotiate the contract out to become a winning situation for everyone. Giving a little on end will cause the buyer to give a little. If the buyer is unwilling to give anything at all in the negotiations, then the buyer is not a serious buyer. A seller who has the same mentality is also not a serious seller.

Let's say that house is priced at $210,000. The buyer offers the following: $195,000 sale price, asks the seller to pay up to $6000 toward buyer's closing costs, asks the seller to pay a home warranty, asks the seller to pay for the termite letter but the buyer will pick the termite company, and the closing will be in 45 days. In this example, the seller really needs a higher sale price, thinks the closing costs are too high, doesn't have a problem with paying for the warranty, and really wants to close in 21 days. How should the seller respond?

If a seller wants a higher price, then he/she can pay more buyer's closing costs and/or agree to a longer closing time. If closing quicker is more important to the seller, then the seller can agree to a lower sale price. The seller would not necessarily have to accept the $195,000 as a sale price, but could possibly agree to $202,000. The seller could also counter back with $4000 in closing.

In any offer situation, the seller needs to weigh things very cautiously in the current Middle Tennessee market. With the $8,000 tax credit coming to an end, the seller needs to understand that first time buyers in the $200,000 price range may actually disappear from the radar. If the seller will not negotiate a win-win situation, there may not be another offer for a long time and they may not see a reasonable price for a while, either.

General rule of thumb: The first offer is the best offer.
If you're looking for a real estate agent who knows and understand the current real estate market in the Nashville area, give me a call. I'd love to help you with all of your real estate needs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yard Sale Extravaganza

In the northeast, they're called tag sales. Down here, they're either yard sales or garage sales. In any case, these are sales where the sellers try to sell used and/or new items at substantially discounted prices. Yard sale sellers desperately want to get ride of their unwanted/unneeded items and yard sale buyers are looking for a great deal on new treasures.

Ever done a yard sale? If not, you need to do at least one. A few years back, we did two of them. The year was 1995 and we made about $300. The next year we made about $800. We thought we had struck gold.

At our yard sales, I had the time of my life. I LOVED negotiating prices with the buyers. Sealing the deal was like being in heaven.

Some tips for a successful yard sale:
1 - Write a creative ad for print and online venues. Intrigue people to come. Include start and end times, address, and directions.

2 - Make directional and yard signs bright and prominent. Better to put up too many than not enough. If you can't be found, you can't sell. (Check with your local county or town for sign restrictions.)

3 - Have plenty of people on hand. One person needs to man the cash box; the others need to sell and negotiate with buyers.

4 - Price items to sell. Even in Brentwood, Franklin, West Meade, and Green Hills, people are looking for a bargain. A few sellers price things too high. That's a sure sign they don't really want to part with their items.

5 - Be flexible in negotiations. Win-win is the key for successful sales.

6 - Establish a time and place with a clear start time and end time.

7 - Open early. Have your items ready to go at least an hour before your published start time for the early birds. Early birds are the serious garage/yard salers. Be open early because they will be your best buyers.

8 - Everything should be CLEAN and organized by type of item. For example, all clothing should be sorted by Men's, Women's, Boy's, Girl's, etc. Stack dishes together. Christmas ornaments and decorations should be together. Tools should be in the same location. If it's junky, then throw it away.

9 - Be organized. When negotiating, carry a pen and a pad of paper with you. Write the TOTAL number of items and the TOTAL SALE PRICE on a sheet of paper and sign it so the cashier knows that this is the price you're willing to sell the items for.

10 - Gauge the sale. When you're down to the last 60 to 90 minutes, check the traffic out. You may slash prices at that point to get the last items sold. Consider selling everything in a "lot" or discount prices to 50%. The less you have to keep, the better.

11 - Arrange for Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or some other charity lined up to pick up your left overs within two hours after the sale ends.

12 - Have fun!

Isn't it time for you to go clean out that garage, your closets, your house?! There's no better time for a yard sale than right now.

To work with an agent who understands how to get your home ready to sell, give me a call. I'm more than happy to help you get the price, terms and conditions that are acceptable to you in the sale of your home. And I can also give you a hand in getting that yard sale going.

Oh, and I'm having a yard sale this Saturday (10/24). Look for my ad on Craigslist and on Facebook this coming Friday.