They are doing it all... 

On occasion, I visit a property that needs more than just a little help. I have a listing in a desirable area coming soon that should sell quickly, but in its current state we would be lucky to sell at all. When I came to the home to see what we had to work with, the first thing that I noticed at the front door was a very strong dog odor. 

As I looked around I could tell that all the walls were dirty from the dogs walking along them and the carpets were shot. The front window over the front door needed replacement as well.The back yard had been torn up by street improvements going on behind the house and the department of transportation had erected a 10 foot tall concrete wall as well. No grass and dilapidated landscaping finished off the back yard. 

So, I spoke to the owners and let them know they could either take care of these issues, ot expect to take at least $30,000 off the asking price of the home. Their response? They have jumped right in feet first. The interior of the home is being repainted by the husband. New carpet is due in later this week. They spent the weekend cleaning out the home and will be deep cleaning.It is amazing to see how a home in such need can be brought back to life in a short amount of time. 

There is not much we can do about the concrete wall in back, but freshening up the landscaping is on the list.If you think your home needs some work before you list, give an agent a call. We can help guide you through what needs to be done and what does not. This particular home is in a great location and with fresh paint and carpet, a deep cleaning, and new landscaping, it has a real chace of a fast sale at a good price. 

Looking for a fixer upper? 

Occasionally I work with first time home buyers looking for a real deal. This usually means finding a lower priced fixer upper, a home that needs extensive work. I worry most times weather or not the buyers truly know what they may be getting into.The problem with homes that need work is that you can never be fully sure what is wrong with the home. In these instances it pays dividends to have a really good home inspector and to be a very good detective. 

For instance, I was recently in a home where the wood floor boards were worn and cupped. The wear was from heavy use, the cupping indicates moisture. We looked under the home in the crawl space, but it was bone dry. Days later we looked under the home after a heavy rain and found 4 inches of water! The cupped floor boards were trying to tell us something!

In another story, buyers were looking at a home that needed work and thought they were getting a good deal, even with the known issues with the home. That was until the termite inspector found the sill plate virtually eaten away by termites. This is the base board over the foundation that the home sits on. It pays to have many eyes look at a home that needs work.If you are in the market for a fixer upper, make sure you find an agent to help you that has great resources such as inspectors, engineers, termite inspectors, and more to make sure you are getting what you think you are. It really might be a deal, but if it isn't we need to know up front. 


When in the process of buying or selling a home, the way a client handles diversity can make all the difference in the world. For instance, your buyer is in the process of purchasing their dream home when a big rain the night before reveals a very wet crawl space. Since it had not rained in a while, the home inspector did not see this issue. 

Your Buyer is now out of due diligence and well on their way to owning this home.What I liked about this very real situation is that the Buyer did not freak out. We talked through all the options, including walking away from $2,500 in earnest money. What we decided to do was reach out to the listing agent and be very upfront about the issue. No hysterics.So what happened? 

The listing agent got together with the out-of-state Sellers and came up with a plan to fix the issue, even though they did not have to. They wanted to sell the home and they wanted the Buyers to have a good experience. You just can't beat being up front and calm when the inevitable challenge arises. 

A touch of color 

I recently sold my rental home and had spent an entire month getting it ready to show. The last touches were to place a red tea pot on the stove top, a red metal bird on a shelf, and put up a picture of mine with a little red boat. What a difference these items made!In thinking about why these items made the home show so much better, I decided that in a relatively bland space, these red treasures attracted the buyers eye. 

The blandness of the space otherwise would have given buyers nothing to really focus on. Secondly, the red color was a very warm color. With the weather getting colder, this color brought about a feeling of warmth.In the summer I will be using a cooler color, maybe teal, to help buyers subconsciously find a cooling respite from the Summer temps.

It's all about subtle marketing. Similar to making sure the listed home is inviting all the way from the curbside into the home.Good agents realize that selling a home is so much more than just putting a sign in the yard to sell a home. They know that even the subtle changes in a home can make the difference. 

Home Improvements? 

We as agents run across interesting home improvements all the time some are really nice, and others fall into the category of, what were you thinking? The picture above shows a granite counter top with a short granite back splash, topped by...stack on linoleum tiles. And to top it off, they were peeling off the wall and falling down.

I understand that sometimes homeowners are trying to spruce up the house on a limited budget, but in this case I believe leaving the wall painted may have been the smarter move.There were indications elsewhere in the home that the owner had taken a few shortcuts. Things such as never changing the furnace filters, a deck where the rails did not quite meet the stiles, a french drain more out of the ground than in, and mostly filled in. 

Despite these issues, my buyers are purchasing this home. They bought low enough that they can correct these issues. I think by the time they are done with this home it will be better than ever.I guess the moral of the story is that if you find something in the house you are looking at that does not appear to be right...keep looking. There are usually more issues that will come to light. These all need to be considered when making an offer on a home.

Don't Drag Your Feet! 

Everyone knows that the home markets have been very busy. We have been saying for a while that if you have to sleep on it, you will never sleep in it. I have a quick cautionary tale that speaks to this.


Home Inspection 

So you have a contract on your home. What's next you ask? There will probably now be a home inspection. The Buyer will hire a home inspection company to come in and give your home a thorough once over. They are looking for items that don't work, and should. Of most interest to them will be safety issues and large systems where repairs could be costly. 


The Holidays are coming! Keep them safe. 

As I sit here and write this post this morning, I can hear a firetruck of in the distance, racing to help someone in need. That someone is probably starting the day off in a particularly bad fashion. I think the Holidays can produce many bad days if we are not careful.


Legal Extortion by HOA's 

For several years agents have been talking about HOA letters. These are produced by Home Owner Associations to show that a seller in the community is up to date on their Home Owner Dues. The current contracts call for the owner to pay these fees before closing. It was not always that way.


Make it go away! 

I have been getting my rental property ready for sale over the past month so I have been really looking it over to see what needs to be done. The other day as I was walking through, I noticed several scrapes and scratches on the walls and molding. Ugh, I guess I will need to paint. Then a miracle happened.


Time is of the Essence 

Here in Georgia, in our contracts for Real Estate, we have a clause that states time is of the essence. What exactly does this mean? We all know time is important, but why is it "of the essence"?


Pre-Closing Walk through(s) 

You are almost there! The home that you are about to purchase, the one with the white picket fence, is almost yours. You have negotiated a good and fair price and the seller has agreed to fix up a few things that your home inspector found. You are now ready to go to the closing table, right? Not quite yet.


Nickles & Dimes 

Some of the things that tend to get under my skin are negotiations that get down to the nickles and dimes. For instance, a Buyer and Seller arguing over a $50 rug, or a small $100 mirror, or who gets an ancient DVD player. Ugh.


Were you ever in detention? Or lived next to it? 

Many neighborhoods in this area have what we call detention or retention ponds. They help deal with the rain water runoff from the storm drains. Usually they are set aside in the back of the subdivision, silently doing their important work. Occasionally they happen to be next door to a home. 


Paint the town red! Just not your house. 

Paint. By far the easiest thing to do to spruce up your home and the best bang for your buck. I was in a home this weekend and every wall corner had been scraped clean of paint. I guess kids dragged their hands around the corners or something, but this could have been fixed with a bit of paint.


So what about my rugs? 

Rugs. We are not discussing the type that sit on ones head today. We are looking at the type that sit on the floor. The occasional rugs scattered around the house. The runners down the hallway. The nice rug at the front door or under the dining room table or in the master bath.


Take those pictures down! NOT! 

For years the conventional wisdom has been for Sellers to take down and pack away all their family pictures. The thought was that this would help enable potential Buyers "Picture" themselves living in the home without the distraction of someone else's stuff. To this day I get asked by Sellers whether or not they should remove their family pictures.


Front Doors 

Your front door. Have you looked at it recently? Does it get baked by the sun and pounded by the weather? I will bet you that it does. Go take a look right now...I can wait.



Door Knobs! 

So, you are out looking at homes. Your Real Estate agent leads you to the front door of a great looking home, and opens the door for you. You might not get a chance to see what that front door looks like, especially the door knob.