My first blog
this is my first blog….follow me I will blog everyday.
You’re looking to purchase a house! Your lease is ending soon and rates are very attractive. BUT, COVID-19 has you barricading the front door! What are you going to do? Sign a another lease and hope you see these rates again? Call that agent that keeps hounding you & your family to go out in hazmat suits & bleach sheilds? Noooooo, there is a better way! If your agent cares about you and your family’s well being (and not just a sale), they should offer you virtual showings.
Virtual showings provide my clients the opportunity of touring a house and reduces their exposure. This way, the opportunity for touching unfamiliar surfaces(knobs, handles, switches, counters) is eliminated.
From a virtual showing you’ll see different areas of the house and decided if that’s your future home. You’ll get a feel for exactly how the house layout is. Everything from front yard/driveway views to the master suite, even the laundry room will be shown to you from the convenience of your couch. You could tour as many as 20 homes or more (depending on your binge watch habits)! And once you’ve found that house that speaks to you, contact me, James Rhyan, Jr. Your 865 Realtor® with a 901#!
Sellers always want to know how to make their home sell better. Well to start, let’s look at curb appeal.
The first impression is the front of your home (i.e. curb appeal).
Stand in front of your house and look at the following–
Roof – Your roof should be clear of debris (e.g. leaves and sticks).
Gutters and Down Spouts – These should be attached properly to the house and clean of debris. Down spouts should be attached properly and directed away from the house.
Brick or Siding – These should be clean of dirt, mold, and mildew. May need to be pressure washed. House number attached with visibility from the street.
Windows and Light Fixtures – Clean all windows and screens. Make sure light fixtures are appealing and are working properly.
Driveway and Sidewalk – Pressure washing your concrete will greatly improve your curb appeal.
Landscaping – Shrubs should be placed and designed to enhance the color and beauty of the house decor. They should be trimmed so as not to block windows and doors. Shrub beds should have mulch or straw with defined beds. Add a few summer flowers or azaleas to bring a WOW of colors to your yard.
Grass – Grass should be of good cover, without weeds, cut, and edged.
Mailbox – Make sure your mailbox is in good order, standing straight and clean, and marked with house numbers.
Clutter – Remove all clutter visible from the front of the house. Clutter like trash cans, old cars, boats, trailers, RV, toys, satellite dishes, and HVAC systems should not be in the front view of the house.
“For Sale” Sign – should be in plain sight, clean, and standing up straight.
If you take some time to do the little things outside, it will attract buyers to eagerly view the inside.
GREAT CURB APPEAL WILL RESULT WITH A SOLD SIGN!
Danny Holloway – Realtor, Southland Realtors
With spring in the air and the temperatures getting a little warmer, people are starting to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and start tackling some outside projects!
One of the first things that people notice about your home 🏡 is the front yard, which adds to the home’s curb appeal. A well kept yard, with tasteful design elements can help attract a buyer if it’s on the market, or it can be just more enjoyable for you and your family. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor with just a little work, and sprucing up.
Here are just a few ideas to make your yard stand out:
Trim your trees and shrubs
A well kept lawn should boast neatly trimmed and pruned trees and bushes. If you see uneven or dead limbs, prune them with the pruning shears.
Pull weeds in your flower beds. Try to avoid using harmful herbicides. Use eco-friendly products that will get rid of weeds without hurting the grass or soil. Many Lawn and Garden centers carry non-toxic weed killers that are safe for the your lawn.
Sow fresh Grass Seed
Each spring , check for any bare spots or thinning of the grass. Reseed your lawn by sowing seeds of the same variety. If you are not sure of what you have, take a sample to the local Garden Center, and they can help you match it up to get the right product. You might not need to scatter on the whole yard, but definitely concentrate on the bare spots. Make sure you water the grass seed daily to keep it moist and to help it grow.
Add Lawn Accents
Add Flowers 🌸 such as daffodils and tulips in the spring, daisies and hyacinths in the summer, and chrysanthemums and marigolds in the fall. Flower gardens or pretty patio potted plants with a variety of blooms.
Most importantly, make the most of your lawn and patio, and get out and enjoy the spring!
You’ve lived in it. You’ve loved it. But now, you’re ready to leave it. If you’re thinking of selling your house, spring is the perfect time to start prepping. Check out the following preparations you can make now to sell your home later.
Step 1: Eggs-cuse me, I need a REALTOR®.
I know. I know. It seems WAY too soon for that. I mean, you’re not even positive that you’re ready to sell, BUT a licensed REALTOR® knows the market and knows what buyers want. An agent will be able to tell you what types of home improvement projects will end up paying off their investment. They can give you tips for curb appeal and staging your home, AND perhaps most importantly, they can give you an idea of the value of homes in your area and what you might expect your home to sell for.
Step 2: Sunny Side up, please
Oftentimes, buyers drive by a house they’re interested in or, at the least, look at photos of the listing on the internet. If it looks like Oscar the Grouch might pop out of a window, they’re not likely to ask for a showing. If, however, the lawn is green, the hedges are trimmed, and the door and shutters are freshly painted, they’ll want to know more about what’s inside this little gem.
Step 3: Dying to know what to do?
Home improvement projects can be the difference in a quick full-price sale and a market stalemate. It’s important to know which ones will be worth your investment. You don’t want to spend $3,000 on new carpet only for potential buyers to say, “We would replace this with hardwood.” Realtors can give great advice on what types of projects are going to be worth your time and energy.
Step 4: Make room for new peeps.
Minimize the Big Stuff. If you’ve lived in your home for a while, it’s likely you’ve accumulated extra “treasures.” Keep in mind that not all buyers are visionaries. Just because you know how large your living room looks without the sectional and entertainment cabinet doesn’t mean that buyers can visualize that. Move out non-essential furniture or large items that seem to “shrink” the room. Consider minimal and simple decor choices. The simpler the look, the more the potential buyers can envision their own belongings and style in the space.
Step 5: Don’t Worry. Be Hoppy.
Minimize the Small Stuff. Start cleaning out cabinets, drawers, and closets. Donate or sell things you no longer want or use. If you’re feeling confident about selling, go ahead and pack up things that are extras or rarely in use – I’m lookin’ at you, Nana’s china. Not only will this save you a ton of time and energy later, but it’ll make you feel good in the now.
It’s a great time to put a house on the market, but don’t Eggs-haust yourself in the process. Make good decisions about improvement projects, inside and out, minimize your belongings, and contact a REALTOR®!
Experts have estimated that over 500,000 falls happen each year. Surprisingly, the majority of the accidents occur right at your own home doing routine things such as cleaning out your gutters or looking at higher shelves to find something that you need in a cabinet.
I wanted to share just a few tips to keep us all a little safer on our ladders for Ladder Safety Month!
- Create a solid foundation. Be sure the ground is not soft and muddy, as this could cause you to lose resistance. Also, make sure the feet of the ladder (the rubber on the bottom) is not torn or worn down. This could increase in slippage. Replace the bottom of the rubber before doing the task.
- Do not climb a ladder in a storm or even while it is windy outside. The ladder could sway, and you could fall.
- Make sure your ladder has all of the working parts, meaning the rungs are not missing. Make sure the ladder is not rusty, and that there are not any missing or loose screws.
- Make sure that you are feeling OK about climbing in the air and on a ladder, meaning if you have a cold, or if you feel lightheaded, do not get on a ladder. If you have had a injury: arm injury, leg injury, foot surgery, etc…do not get on the ladder, or you could fall.
Yesterday morning’s news of a tornado ripping through Nashville and Hermitage was terrifying. 10 or more buildings collapsed in downtown Nashville, homes were ripped apart for miles around the area, and unfortunately, as I write this, 22 fatalities have been reported, and they’re still digging through the rubble. That left me mulling whether my homeowner’s insurance covers tornado damage.
I started my research online. I’ve lived in Kentucky and Tennessee the majority of my life. While I can remember several tornadoes in my lifetime, I’ve never considered either state to be particularly tornado prone. However, when I started perusing online about this subject, I was surprised to learn Tennessee ranks 5th in the nation for tornado damage and insurance claims. I realized then that I might need to be looking into my insurance coverage a little more seriously.
I called and spoke with my own insurance agent and found out that indeed, I am covered. There are a few other questions that need to be asked though. First, does my coverage reimburse for the actual cash value of our home and contents or for the replacement value? The difference there is are they reimbursing for me for what it costs to replace those items new or what they are worth now after depreciation and use. In most cases, many homeowners are under-covered. We all want the “best deal.” Sometimes, we interpret the best deal as what’s cheapest, and, in some cases, that may mean you have less coverage, not the best price.
What else? I started thinking what else am I not thinking of. These are a few of the questions I’ve put together to call back and discuss with my insurance agent. I suggest we all look into these.
- Would my car be covered if it was destroyed or damaged during a tornado?
- How about if my home floods during a tornado? Flooding can be a whole other ball game.
- Does insurance only cover the structure (home) or the contents also?
- How would I prove what I had in the home? Make a video or take pictures of the contents and store it somewhere in a personal safe or lockbox at your bank, for example.
Any time a natural disaster or something unexpected occurs, it gives me some time to think about if I would be prepared if the same happened to me. In light of what has happened in Tennessee, just a couple hours away from us, we could all learn from this sad event and inquire a little more to look out for ourselves and our loved ones.
This morning, I woke up at 5 am, not because it was time to wake nor because I need to be awake that early to prepare for my day. I woke up from my slumber because I was not sure if I had scheduled my 8 am appointment. I quickly pick up my phone, open my ShowingTime® app, and search through all the appointments I have scheduled for today. Whew, crisis averted. I properly scheduled the appointment. Why did that wake me? The reason is simple. An 8 am appointment would likely not respond in time to grant access, and I would be standing there with my clients empty-handed. Nary a shut-eye did I get after that moment; that adrenaline rush had me ready for the day.
After several failed attempts to fall back to sleep, I get up to shower and get ready for the day. I counted a quick blessing because sometimes early decisions like putting on a full face of makeup or taking extra effort with my hair become a factor. I get to do both today! Although I can technically set my own schedule, I still try to get up and get ready before the phone starts ringing at 8 am. The irony in the statement that I can set my own schedule, doesn’t escape me… In all reality, when my clients want to see a property, I drop what I am doing and go right then. Houses are selling faster than clients can get into see them; therefore, the fear that I could be the cause of my client missing out on their dream home is very real.
My first client is a homeless elderly couple. Literally, they are living out of a hotel because their house sold before we could find a suitable replacement. They are very specific in their wants, and they are willing to wait out the market until they find their perfect match. They are also over an hour late. As I wait for them to arrive, I begin to reschedule and shuffle around my day which is a bit challenging, since I really do not know when they will be arriving. It would be easy for some to explain to them that their late arrival would result in seeing fewer houses today, but did I mention they are homeless? My next client is at 11:30 am, and we have 4 lake houses to see. Normally, you can do that in a time frame of 8 am-11 am, but did I mention they were lake houses? I absolutely love to shop lake houses because that will likely be my next purchase, so I get to double down when shopping for my clients. The downside is they are rarely close together. Wait, I need to stop what I am doing because they just pulled into the driveway.
No sooner do I get all my clients moved back to accommodate my current client, she strikes two of the homes she sent me off the list, leaving only one more house to show her. Again, I find myself scrambling to reschedule her appointment and my other clients “in waiting.” I tried to adjust the appointment for the one house she still wanted to see; however, the agent was not responding. Again, these folks are homeless, so I decide to continue on to the next house in hopes that the agent will respond during my 50-minute commute…she did not. Upon our arrival, the home owner was arriving home and reluctantly invited us in to view the property. You see, we took her off guard so there was an awkward, yet polite, tension in the air. She wanted to sell her house, they wanted to see her house, so we all reluctantly pressed forward. When I struggled to get the door unlocked, she broke the tension by opening it for me. Although we offered for her to remain in the house during the showing, due to the awkwardness, she preferred to go walk her dog while we viewed her beautiful home. Unfortunately, it was not a good fit for my clients so I respectfully turned off all the lights, locked the door, and put the key back in the Supra® lockbox. I spent a few minutes closing up our time together, and I am off to the next client, 45-minutes away. She had already had her time slot shifted twice this morning.
Upon arrival, I introduced myself to this brand-new shiny client and again struggled to open the door. Why do these deadbolts make me feel less than smart? As soon as I hit the foyer landing, my phone rang; it was ShowingTime®. Traditionally, I do not answer calls when I am with clients so that they can have my undivided attention; however, I had moved so many appointments around twice already that my gut said to answer the call. Looking back, part of me is so thankful that I did, while a tiny part of me wishes that I had not. The amazing owner of the last house returned to her home, remember from walking her dog to give us privacy, to find herself locked out in 38-degree weather. She had no way to get back in and wanted to know if I could go back and give her access to her home. Thankfully, the shiny new client only wanted to see the current house, so that made one step of rescheduling easier. I wrapped up showing that house as quickly as I could. I drove as fast as I could, 45-minutes, back to the previous house to let the homeowner in, all the while, imagining her and Fido standing out in the frigid cold. Upon my arrival, they were both eager to see me, and she apologized emphatically. Surely, she knew this was my fault, and I continued to apologize over her and thank her so much for allowing us to impede on her day. She was incredibly sweet and kind about the whole situation and seemed genuinely grateful for me driving back to her home to give her access to what is hers. The guilt of that tiny part of me that wished I had not answered that call bled into that conversation.
I regrouped, started to reschedule my day, once again, and jetted-off to get to my next client; not in airplane but in a Prius. Yes, I was drag racing in a Prius… again. I had not eaten yet today but had no time.
During this entire process, I was blessed and cursed that my phone continued to ring with clients wanting to see houses. Remember, my fear that someone will miss out on their dream home because I could not get them in it before someone else went under contract? The line of clients that day got so backed up that I had no choice but to call in backup. Fortunately, there is an amazing REALTOR® friend that happily came to my rescue! It could have been the crackling of my voice as tears filled my eyes from being overwhelmed that day, but I chose to believe it was because she, too, had been there before and was happy to help me get caught up. In fact, she is always happy to help me when needed.
At the end of the day, everyone gained access to every house. I was up until 2:45 am writing three offers for homes that I had shown that day. Thankfully, all three were accepted and bound the following day! In this industry, we are not always that fortunate. In fact, there have been times that a house goes pending as soon as you call the agent to let them know you will be submitting an offer, thus making all that grind for naught. While I celebrate in my client’s successes of going under contract, I laid awake in my bed, beating myself up over the one client that was rushed through the home. That client has never reached out to me again. To this very day, it bothers me that my day got the best of me, and that could have been the result of missing an opportunity to be a part of creating new stories in my shiny client’s new home. I try to count my successes of the day, but I have to admit the failures hit home much harder. But hey…there is always tomorrow. The bad news is that it is already tomorrow.
Although days are stressful at times, I have never had a career that has been this rewarding. Think about it, for the most part my car is my office so I am never trapped between four walls for any extended period of time. I get the opportunity to meet new people daily and more often than not, I gain new friends in the process. I know where to find the best deals for everything house related. Literally everything, if you need a qualified professional for electric, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, foundation, mold, flooring, sheetrock, countertops, cabinets, general contracting and the list goes on and on… I’ve got you! I can even show you how to get a discount when making product purchases at big box chain stores and know where to find the small mom and pops shops that give you deep discounts. If you need a Realtor® in Florida, California, Alaska… I’ve got you!
Everyday I get to see lives changed for the better! When I send a client to my most respected lender, you know who you are, I know I am putting my clients in excellent hands. In fact, when I refer out the best of the best, I am helping change their lives too. They all have families to feed and bills to pay. I take pride in surrounding myself with the absolute best in the industry and love to flood them with business to help their careers grow as much as mine has grown.
My industry peers are absolutely amazing. When you work with fellow agents that realize we are all on the same team to get both of our clients to the closing table successfully there is a certain Zen to it. I have had the privilege to move from just a colleague to actual friends. Regardless of where they work, the ones that get it, truly get it!
Speaking of where I work, I have the privilege to come and go as I please. I have no desk fee. I have no one breathing down my back to hit production goals. I have no fear of being fired or reprimanded. In fact, I have an amazing support staff, outstanding owners, great coworkers, and an environment that prides itself on being my family. My office is beautiful, clean, inviting, and well stocked with refreshments of all types to share with my clients when needed. We have an onsite design center, property management, title, mortgage, and even landscaping. We are literally a one-stop shop! Most of all, I feel heard. There is no need for an “open-door policy” because the door is literally open and without fail, every single time I have walked through that door, I have left with what I needed.
My clients, I could write an entire book about how blessed I am to serve my clients. One of the best compliments I received was after a showing we stayed and talked for what felt like a few minutes but in reality, was quite a bit longer. When we started off to our separate cars, my client simply said, “Thank you.” I nonchalantly responded with, “My pleasure.” This client stopped me in my tracks and explained why he was thanking me. He had met with over 10 other agents and not one of them took the time to get to know him. He said he felt like he was just a number to them and they were always so rushed to leave to get to the next big deal. Honestly, I had not thought one thing about stopping and chatting with him. He was a pleasant man and I enjoyed getting to know him better. That simple thank you struck a chord with me and stays with me when I am feeling rushed. I hear his voice saying, thank you for getting to know a little more about me.
My day is about problem solving, filling the needs of others, and making it all look like it was effortless. If you need a hardworking, dedicated, driven Realtor®… I’ve got you!
This same time a year ago, many people were predicting that 2020 was going to be a rough real estate year. I heard it from so many people it that I was concerned about what it might mean for realtors such as myself. History has shown a presidential election year can be tough on real estate. Consumers don’t know how what’s going to happen with the election, be it a Democrat or Republican nominee that wins the presidency, and it can significantly impact our economy.
However, predictions aren’t always accurate and this is one of this cases where it’s quite the opposite. We are two months into 2020, and what we are seeing is even more promising than 2019. Unemployment is at an all time low for the last 50 years. Average interest rates for residential homes are lingering below 4% and have been for the last 36 weeks straight. The housing market is struggling with lack of inventory, even before we hit spring and summer, the typical best times of the year to buy and sell.
What does that mean for those who are thinking about buying or selling in 2020? There’s simply not enough inventory. Many homeowners are deciding to stay put longer. Builders can’t keep pace with the demand. These factor into an increased amount of multiple offer situations in a competitive market where there isn’t enough inventory, but there’s an abundance of buyers. Builders are not budging on price because they have no trouble selling their inventory and could sell much more if they could build it quickly enough.
East Tennessee has no state income tax and for many people. It’s a great place to retire with the Great Smoky Mountains as a beautiful back drop, as well as being a tax haven from states who are exceedingly charging higher taxes, such as Illinois, New York, New Jersey, California, and Oregon. We are seeing many people, retirement age and younger, choosing to relocate to states where it’s not so costly to live. Tennessee tops the nation’s list for good weather, up-and-coming cities such as Nashville and Knoxville, and most importantly, an affordable cost of living. All of these factors together keep our real estate market strong in East Tennessee!
Gail Hardy is an Affiliate Broker with Southland Realtors in Knoxville, TN. She is always looking for new clients! You may reach out to her at 865-805-3054, email Gail@southlandrealtors.com, or click on https://southlandrealtors.com/agents/gail-hardy/.