Oct. 12, 2019

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU LIST YOUR HOME

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU LIST YOUR HOME

After all of the preparation required to list your home, you are probably ready to relax and wait for offers. While most of the hard work is done, it is important to keep in mind things that you may run into during the sale process. As you begin to welcome potential buyers into your home, here are a few things to expect now that your home is listed!

1. You might feel like you live in a museum.

You may have spent a great deal of time cleaning and decluttering, but now you are going to need to maintain that cleanliness. Potential buyers are going to expect a home that was as neat as the listing photos they saw, so it is important to meet their expectations. Now that you have officially listed your home, maintenance is necessary. There may be showings where you don't have time to do a full deep-clean, so choosing to keep your home 'show-ready' will help reduce any stress about the appearance of your home for a showing.

2. There will be some inconveniences. 

Now that you've realized your home needs to be 'show-ready' at all times, you might be starting to think that there could be an inconvenience or two during this part of home-selling. While your real estate agent will be helpful in this process, you may need to switch around plans during the evenings or weekends when you are typically home so that your home can be shown.

3.  Expect to hear critiques and criticism.

This is often the main thing that first-time home sellers struggle with. It is not always easy to hear the issues a potential buyer may have with the home you have created. While some criticism can feel insulting, it is important to remember that it is not personal. Potential buyers are not trying to hurt your feelings, they just want to picture your home as their own. Your agent can be a key part in buffering criticism. They will be able to take suggestions from potential buyers and relay it to you in a way that is helpful and constructive.

4. Home maintenance will be crucial.

While maintaining home cleanliness is important, you will also need to keep up with maintenance tasks. Your lawn will need to be mowed, your heating and cooling systems need to be operating properly, as well as any appliances that will be staying when your home sells. 

5. There can be some additional expenses.

After you've accepted an offer, the closing process will begin. There will be inspections and final walk-throughs, and this can bring about issues that may need resolved before the sale is closed. Depending on the issue, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for repairs so that you don't need to negotiate your sale price. 

If you're ready to sell your home and need someone by your side to guide you as you prepare to list, give us a call today!

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Sept. 28, 2019

HOW TO MOVE WITH KIDS

HOW TO MOVE WITH KIDS

As if moving isn't already hard enough, adding your children into the mix can present a whole new challenge. Kids are resilient, but major changes like big moves can be difficult to work through if children aren't prepared. Depending on their age, your children may be leaving behind a school, friends, and activities that they've grown to love. Instead of throwing them in the deep end, consider helping them get their moving feet wet with these steps. 

1. Talk to your children about your move as soon as it becomes a possibility.

Once you've decided to move, the first thing you should do is have an open discussion with your children. If you wait until it is time to pack, they may feel like they've had a bombshell dropped on them. If you give them a chance to voice their feelings and work through them, you'll deal with a little less chaos when it is time to move. Consider the best way to tell your children, taking into account how each child best receives information. Be open, honest, and available to answer their questions.

2. Find ways to involve your children in your new neighborhood.

Instead of leaving the kids at home while you are closing on a property or even just touring potential homes, bring them along. Find activities in the area that your children will enjoy, whether it be a park nearby or local libraries, pools, or playgrounds. Helping them feel familiar with their new home will take a weight off of their shoulders and reduce the fear of being the 'new kid' when they move. Once you are moved in, consider hosting a game night or play date for your neighbors with children so that your kids have an opportunity to make friends quickly.

3. Reach out and get local recommendations ahead of time.

This will help both you and your children have a little more peace of mind when it comes to making a big move. Before the move, find local parent groups (sites like Facebook are full of these) and seek out recommendations for daycares and schools that meet the criteria you are looking for. The first thing most people do when trying something new out is to check for reviews, and these groups will allow you to do just that. Create a short list of places you think will fit your lifestyle, and then conduct as much research as you need to make a decision when you arrive in your new home. This will reduce the time your children will spend in limbo when you move.

Moving can be a difficult time, but preparing your children will help make the process as smooth as possible and help to lessen the stress that comes with a big move.

Sept. 14, 2019

CHILD & PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

CHILD & PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

You've just finished spring cleaning, and summer is approaching quickly. Summer means longer days and later nights, and usually more traffic in your home. With play dates, game nights, and bonfires, there are likely to be more guests in and out of your home than usual. While fun is the priority, safety should be as well. To keep the little ones, children and pets included, safe in your home, follow these steps so you can enjoy a safe summer (as well as all the other seasons): 

1. Protect your belongings

This has two benefits. If you have items that are important to you and could easily break, it is best to store them away so they don't get damaged and no one gets hurt from the broken item in the process. 

2. Make off-limit areas

If you want to prevent children and pets from going places you don't want them, consider installing safety gates. Placing gates in front of staircases and rooms with more breakable items can prevent both children and pets from falling or accessing those items you don't want to injure crawling little ones. 

3. Secure furniture

Sometimes when we get new furniture, we don't think those extra safety screws included to attach the furniture to the wall are necessary. Sadly, accidents involving falling furniture occur much too often because safety anchors are not installed. If you have any furniture that could be pulled down by a child, pick up anchors at your local hardware store. Dressers, televisions, and bookshelves are all items that can easily be pulled down from a child trying to climb onto them. 

4. Use child-proof locks

Kitchens are filled with items that can become dangerous for both children and pets in an instant. Knives, spices, and cleaners can all stay safely out of the hands (and paws) of children and pets by installing child-proof locks on all the cabinets that need to stay off-limits.

5. Don't buy poisonous plants

The first step in avoiding poisonous plants is finding out which ones can be toxic to children and pets. While most plants are kid-friendly, many can be dangerous to pets, even those you wouldn't think could be, such as the Aloe plant.

6. Protect outlets and cords

While our lifestyles continue to become more wireless by the day, children and pets are still at risk in homes where items are plugged in. Ensure that your outlets are guarded and wires are hidden or blocked off. Not only can you prevent risk of shock, but you can also protect the items you have plugged in - like that television that you don't want to come crashing onto the floor!

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 31, 2019

DIY FIRE PIT FOR YOUR BACKYARD

DIY FIRE PIT FOR YOUR BACKYARD

Summer is finally here which means plenty of nights spent enjoying the outdoors. While the days may be warmer than usual, some nights are still a little chilly. If you have been thinking of ways to still be outside while also being warm and cozy, a fire pit could be the right choice for you. Here is the way to make your own backyard fire pit for this summer!

PREPARE

First, make sure building your own fire pit doesn't break your local fire code. Check for suggestions or guidelines on how far the pit needs to be away from your home or other structures for safety purposes. 

Now that you know you can build, it is time to pick up supplies! You may already have some of these items at home, but you can find whatever you don't have at your local hardware store. This is what you'll need:

Bricks for the wall
Gravel
Twine
Tape Measure
Stake
Shovel
Trowel
Level

BUILD

The first step you'll make is creating a circle where you want your fire pit. Take your stake and place it in the center of where you want your circle. Next, you'll want to cut your twine to half of the length of your goal size. If you want a pit 5 feet in diameter, make your twine 2.5 feet long. Tie one end of your twine to your stake and the other end to your trowel. Drag the trowel with the twine fully extended around the stake, using the sharp part of the trowel to create a clear circle in the grass.

The second step requires your shovel. You will shovel out all of the grass inside of the circle you have created, and tamp down the dirt remaining in the circle with the bottom of your shovel. Make sure your circle is level, and make adjustments by adding or removing dirt to do so.

Next, you will add several inches of gravel. Make sure you spread the gravel evenly, covering your entire circle.

Now is time to add your bricks. Create a circle with your bricks, leaving a few inches of gravel around the outer rim as a safety buffer. You will want to stack your bricks until the wall of your fire pit is at least a foot tall.

ENJOY

Now you can use your brand new fire pit. If you're still looking for a home where you can build a fire pit, give us a call!

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 17, 2019

ENERGY SAVING TIPS THAT WILL LOWER YOUR BILLS

ENERGY SAVING TIPS THAT WILL LOWER YOUR BILLS

Temperatures are rising which means that your utility bills are likely on the rise too. With the average American spending around $200 a month on energy, most are looking for a way to decrease those prices in any way they can. Just not using air conditioning is an unrealistic option, so there are other updates and changes you can make to save money and still stay cool this summer.

FIND AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME

If you are on the hunt for a new home this summer, think ahead and make energy efficiency a priority in your home search. Keep square footage to the minimum you think you will need - the more unnecessary space, the more space you'll be cooling (or heating this winter). Certain home features, like sun rooms and high ceilings, also contribute to unnecessary space or space that heats quicker than normal. 

CHECK YOUR APPLIANCES

While newer appliances are easily labeled with their estimated yearly cost by Energy Guide, older appliances aren't as easy to determine. Using the Department of Energy's online appliance energy calculator, you can decide if investing in newer appliances with a lower operating cost could save you money in the long run. You can also have an HVAC professional check your equipment to ensure it is the appropriate size for your home. Having a system that is too large or too small can create unnecessary costs.

QUICK FIXES

Replacing appliances and equipment can be a large up-front cost, so if you're looking to start saving now, even small amounts, quick fixes are your best choice. Some options include using cold water for laundry, changing the direction of your ceiling fan, and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Check your doors for sealing issues and replace weather stripping if necessary to prevent drafts.

FIND AN EXPERT

If you want more guidance on how to save energy, you can contact your local utility company. Many provide free energy audits and can offer professional advice on ways to lower your energy use and save you money. 

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 3, 2019

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

After living in a home for several years, it can be easy to discover things you may not be crazy about. While some things can be a quick fix, there may be major changes that make you wonder if it is worth the investment. At this point, you're probably asking yourself if you should remodel or just find a new home. As you have probably realized, this isn't always an easy choice. There are many factors that go into this decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding what will work best for you.

1. Determine which is more cost-friendly

While both options will have costs, one will have more than the other depending on your situation. Some of the costs of selling include agent commissions, moving costs, minor repairs, the costs of a new home, and potential upsizing costs. The costs of remodeling can include permits, architectural plans, materials and labor, and any other additional costs incurred in the process. 

2. Look into the current housing market

Depending on whether your local real estate market is hot, it might make more sense to just sell if houses are selling quickly around you. By talking to a real estate agent, you can find out what to expect in terms of days on market, average sales price, and other important factors when it comes to selling a home.

3. Decide if your roots are deep 

Is your home more than just a home to you? If you and your family are actively involved in the community, remodeling may work best for you. On the flip side, if there are better schooling or job opportunities in a different neighborhood, or you already spend hours a day traveling to those locations, selling may be a better option.

4. Decide if a renovation can solve your problems

Take the time to decide if the problems with your home are fixable. Is it really the house, or do you dislike your neighborhood? Do you have to spend an hour driving one way to work? Do you need a lot more space? If your answer to questions like this make you realize renovations won't solve your problems, consider that it may just be time to put your home on the market. 

5. Consider the ROI on your remodel

Calculating your return on investment will help you determine two things - first, if a remodel will cost you less than selling your home. It will also help you determine if you will be able to make your money back on a remodel if you choose to sell in the future. Look into the Cost v. Value Report for the last year, which can guide you on the most and least cost-effective improvements.

If these considerations make you realize it is time to sell your home, give us a call today!

July 20, 2019

LONG-DISTANCE HOUSE HUNTING

LONG-DISTANCE HOUSE HUNTING

Regular house-hunting isn't always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don't have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.

1. Start Your Research

Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You'll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.

2. Use Technology To Your Advantage

Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don't have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.

3. Have a Travel Budget

Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren't stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips - that way you can focus on finding your dream home.

4. Decide Your Non-Negotiables

Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you're heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that 'might' fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature - whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren't for you.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
July 13, 2019

Elevation Certificates

Having an elevation certificate can save you money. Without one, the insurance agent will quote flood insurance at the highest premium. Learn more about Elevation Certificates in the video below.

Angela Neely, Broker, REALTOR®, GRI, MRP, PSA
The Victory Group of Benchmark Realty
Direct 615-678-9450 | Office 615-991-4949
Serving Middle Tennessee
Search for homes: www.NashvilleHouseLocator.com
Youtube: www.youtube.com/juliegurel
Royalty Free Music: "Summer" from www.bensound.com

July 6, 2019

WHAT YOU SAVE BY GETTING RID OF EXCESS STUFF BEFORE YOU MOVE

If you’re getting ready to move, whether you are trying to sell your home or you’ve already purchased a new one, one of the first things that tends to cause stress in the process is the fear of packing all of your stuff. Whether you’ve been in your current space for a few months or several years, you’ve probably accumulated plenty of things you use and love, and even more items you haven’t touched since you brought them home. Now is the perfect time to purge those items and start fresh in your new home with intentional decor and less clutter. Here are some of the things you’ll save when you let go:

Save Time 

Instead of waiting until you’re ready to move, start sorting through your items now. Sell, donate, or trash the items that you’ve decided don’t have a place in your future home. When you’re ready to pack up for your move, you’ll save so much time because you’ll have less to pack (and unpack). 

Save Money 

Maybe some of the stuff you’re considering letting go of is worth something. If that is the case, consider having a garage sale or selling your clothes to resale boutiques in your area. Donate or dispose of whatever you don’t sell. Not only can you make money, but you can save money by moving less stuff. You may be able to fit what you love into a smaller moving truck if you get rid of those items that have gone unused for years! 

Save Energy 

Sometimes items can take up a great deal of emotional energy. It is often in our nature to cling to things that may have meant something in our past, but have no place in our future. Get rid of that baggage and create an intentional environment with positive energy in your new home. 

Save Space 

Instead of taking the clutter from your current place into your new home, save space by getting rid of it now. Open spaces in your new home will bring you peace of mind and joy. 

If you've done all this saving and you're ready to save even more on a new home, give me a call!

June 22, 2019

Manufactured vs. Modular Homes

Alot of people confuse Manufactured and Modular Homes. It doesn't help that Manufactured homes go by so many different names.

This video goes over the basic differences, including the differences in their construction and how they are typically financed!

Learn more about buying a home and get preapproved at www.NashvilleHouseLocator.com/buyingahome/

Michael Perkins, REALTOR®
The Victory Group of Benchmark Realty
Direct 615-479-3114 | Office 615-991-4949
Serving Middle Tennessee

Search for homes: www.NashvilleHouseLocator.com

Royalty Free Music: "Summer" from www.bensound.com