My first blog
this is my first blog….follow me I will blog everyday.
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/.
You have decided to sell your home and have done all the repairs, all the cleaning and have jumped in with two feet! Your home is ready … or is it? Home staging is decorating your home to show prospective buyers how your home could be the one for them.
In today’s world of Fixer Upper and HGTV one would think most buyers could see the potential of a home. The truth is most people can’t. Staging can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
Soft staging is rearranging or adding a few small purchases to spruce up your home. If using your own things, the cost of soft staging is minimal. It may be adding or subtracting things from a room or making something a focal point. Have a favorite vase or platter you only pull out for special occasions? Clean those kitchen counters and place them front and center! Thinking of buying new towels or shower curtains for your new home? Go ahead and purchase and place them for buyers to see, just be sure not to use the towels until you move so they stay crisp and fresh. Your realtor can help with soft staging or recommend a professional. You can also search online. Pinterest is a great place to start.
Full staging is usually done by a professional, this will be an expense but could be the factor of selling your home the first week or month or 6 months later. The stager may use their own furnishings, dishes, even wall hangings. They may stage every room or may focus on the main living areas – living room, kitchen and master, etc. Full staging is wonderful for an empty home, sellers having an emotional time about moving, and a home located in a neighborhood with other homes for sale. Again, your realtor can help you find a stager to fit your budget and timeline.
As a seller, you want your home to sell and the faster this happens, the sooner you can move on. While home staging will not add value to your home, it can help your home sell sooner, and that is priceless. Talk to your agent today and good luck selling your home!
I’m waiting for spring to buy a house. I hear it all the time, and I’m sure you do too. The temperatures are warmer in the spring and the thought of moving in the cold temperatures is …well… not very appealing. You’ve heard there’s more inventory in the spring and, generally, that’s true. But does that make it the best time to buy? Actually, the answer to that question is no. Let me explain why now is the best time to buy!
Fewer people are shopping in the winter months for a home. Fewer people shopping means it will be less competitive. More competition means more people making offers driving the price up and sometimes, not just a little. With a strong real estate market, like we have in Knoxville, multiple offer situations are very common in the spring and summer, driving prices over asking price by thousands of dollars. Less competition equals a better price for you as a buyer.
Sellers who have their homes on the market in the fall and winter have a reason to sell. They’ve listed their home during this time of year because they’re being relocated with work, sometimes in divorce situations, possibly financially struggling, etc. They’re not just listing their house to see if anyone takes the hook. They’re more motivated, so to speak. More motivation means a better price for you, the buyer.
Most other buyers don’t want to move when it’s cold outside. This means fewer buyers in the market that may want the same house as you do. Take their lack of willingness to bundle up and bear the chilly weather to find a great deal on a home!
Winter months are slower for realtors, home inspectors, repair people, appraisers, movers, and so on. Slower business for them is a benefit to you. You’ll have their undivided attention to find you the perfect home. When it’s slower, your realtor will try that much harder to negotiate an offer and get you under contract on your perfect home!
Gail Hardy is an Affiliate Broker with Southland Realtors. Gail welcomes anyone with questions about real estate or looking to buy/sell a home to give her a call. She can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email@example.com. Reviews on Gail can be found at Zillow.com or Facebook.com.
Your realtor just called and said you won’t be able to close on your house on the scheduled date. Your first thought might be, why didn’t my realtor tell me this sooner? Or why did the realtor or our lender not get their job done on time?
A good realtor looks at the type of loan you’re getting and communicates with your lender on a reasonable timeline to close your home. However, there are various reasons your closing may still be delayed.
Appraisal Issues—When a home doesn’t appraise, the buyer and seller are back to negotiating a new price. Lenders will not loan a buyer more than what a house is worth. In some cases, if the seller won’t budge on the price, a deal may fall through.
The lender may need more documents. When a lender does a buyer’s pre-qualification, they do not have all the information yet to know what documentation they will need to complete the loan. Throughout the process, the lender may uncover issues with payment history, prior purchases, work history, details of your assets, etc. that require the buyer to turn in more documentation. The length of time it takes the buyer to obtain and turn in this can lengthen the process.
Repairs not being completed. The home inspection may unearth repairs that need to be made before the buyer will close on the home. Depending on the nature of the repairs, occasionally the seller may need additional time to complete them.
These are a few of the reasons a closing may be delayed. While it’s never the goal to delay a closing, it does happen. It’s important to find an agent that will advocate for you with your best interests in mind. Gail Hardy with Southland Realtors is the Realtor to do that!
Gail Hardy is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Reviews on Gail can be found on Zillow and her business page on Facebook. She always welcomes new clients and can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email Gail@southlandrealtors.com!
Let’s face it. Just having been through the process of buying or selling a house makes everyone an expert. You’ve done it, and now you know how real estate works, right? Let’s consider some of the most popular myths about the real estate industry.
Realtors get paid to show me as many houses as I want to see. False. Realtors get paid $0 for showing houses. In fact, Realtors must pay all their expenses on their own, and they literally do not make a dime until they sell and close on the house. To put that into perspective, let’s say you work at a toaster factory. You work 50 hours a week making toasters. In a normal week, you make, advertise, insure, answer hundreds of phone calls, respond to countless emails, make sure the toasters meet local, state, and federal guidelines, and show your toasters to multiple interested buyers, as well as retail stores who might want you to represent their toasters, but you do not get paid until you sell a toaster. Even then, not until the buyer has had time to make sure they really want it and have inspected it fully and gotten their financing complete to purchase the toaster 30-45 days later. All the while, you paid every expense yourself up-front before you ever sold one toaster.
Those commissions must be huge, and the agent gets all of it. False. The principal broker actually gets the commission from the sale, and your realtor gets a percentage of that commission. Out of that commission, the realtor must pay for their errors and omissions insurance, subscribe to the MLS, pay for their lock boxes and the electronic monitoring of them, continuing education requirements, and most expensive—advertising, etc. After all that is paid for, then the Realtor gets paid.
Marketing expenses…Who pays for those? Must be “the company.” Nope. The Realtor pays for them. Video, drones, professional photos, specialty websites, broker opens, open houses, brochures, and even more if it’s a high-end listing, are all paid for by the agent. What happens if the seller changes their mind and no longer wants to sell or won’t agree to a reasonable offer? Oh well. The agent just lost all of the money and time they spent on advertising the property
The Zestimate. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “the Zestimate says,” I’d be rich. People. When did Zillow last visit your house? Does Zillow have an office or someone working in your area that’s familiar with the local real estate market? The answer to all of these is NO. If that doesn’t open your eyes, then let’s really put that in perspective. The same person coming up with those Zestimates from an office chair in Denver, Colorado is Zestimating Los Angeles, California and Knoxville, TN. Are these two markets the same? No. How would they know that if they aren’t familiar with either of them?
Here’s another good one. It’s best to price your house on the high side because a buyer can always make an offer if they’re interested. FALSE. Pricing your house high can deter potential buyers. When buyers search for homes, they search in a price range. If your house is reasonably priced at $249,000, but you want to list high at $259,000 because you’ll “probably have to come down,” you might lose buyers searching for homes that are $200,000-$250,000. It’s much better to price your house reasonably, thus more buyers will consider it and potentially a multiple offer situation could ensue.
The best advice to remember is not every real estate scenario is the same. It’s most important to be genuine and down to Earth in every transaction. Listen to your realtor. They’re your local expert.
Gail Hardy is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Reviews on Gail can be found on Zillow and her business page on Facebook. She always welcomes new clients and can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email Gail@southlandrealtors.com!
When I think of Fall, I think of …the changing color of the leaves, cooler mornings and evenings, getting dark earlier, long sleeves, and a warm fire in the evenings. However, Fall should also call for a short “To Do” list to maintain our home in the best shape possible.
As the leaves change color and start to fall, our gutters fill up and leaves cover the ground. First on the list is raking leaves. Leaves can stifle grass from thriving in the spring if they continue to lay on the ground. We can also anticipate more rain and gutters clogged with leaves and debris can result in costly issues to the roof, siding, and foundation.
Next on the list before temperatures get any cooler is to walk your home inside and out looking for daylight around doors or windows. If you can see daylight, cold air is getting into your home. The result is increased heating costs and possibly rodents. A mouse can get through a hole the size of a dime! Unless you’re looking for some extra guests at the table, it’s time to make sure those cracks and spaces are covered up! Weather stripping for doors and windows can be found at your local hardware store, Walmart, Lowe’s or home improvement store.
It’s time to bring up the patio furniture and store it until spring. Storing it will prevent it getting damaged from harsher weather and keep it clean for the next season you use it. Feel free to leave the outdoor fireplace or firepit for marshmallow roasting and S’mores! Those are always nice on a cool evening.
Are you on a schedule to change your filters monthly? It’s easy to forgot to change your HVAC filters. It’s not important to buy the most expensive filter you can find. The cheap ones work perfectly fine. What’s most important is changing them regularly and often. A good rule of thumb is to set a reminder to change them the first of the month and set a reminder on your smartphone, so you don’t forget. Fall and Spring are ideal times to get your HVAC system serviced before the temperatures reach all time lows or highs for the season. No one wants to go without heat when the low temperatures are in the teens!
Change the battery on your smoke detectors. We’ve just missed doing this during the time change for Daylight Savings Time. It’s a great idea to change this twice a year when the time changes.
Lastly, the one that’s most forgotten is to clean out your dryer vent and hose. 22% of house fires start in the laundry room as a result of not cleaning out the vent or hose. Dryer hose cleaning kits can be purchased at your local home improvement store. You can vacuum out your dryer vent as well as your hose with a regular vacuum. It’s a quick and easy way to make sure your family is safe.
Gail Hardy is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Reviews on Gail can be found on Zillow and her business page on Facebook. She always welcomes new clients and can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s so much to think about when selling your home. It needs to be spic and span, turn on as many lights as possible, declutter… You’ve heard all these, right?
But have you thought about strangers being in your home? Let’s talk about what you can do to keep your family and your home safe before putting your home up for sale. There are the obvious ones first.
- Put away any medicine. Don’t leave it sitting out in plain sight. If you have controlled medications, you might want to put those in a safe or take them with you.
- Put away any valuable jewelry. Take it out of the jewelry box. This is an obvious place for a thief to check.
- Hide and secure any guns.
- Don’t leave any mail out. It could have names or important info on it.
Take down family pictures. It does help the person visualize themselves and their family in the home better. However, do you really want a stranger to know how many children you have, their ages, or if you’re a single mom? A lot of this can be seen in pictures.
Turn on outside lights including porch lights at dusk and leave them on until dawn. Sometimes people get the idea that they can just knock on your door to view the home if it’s for sale. Lights on will let you see who is ringing the doorbell. If that person just happens to be checking to see if the for sale home is vacant and easy to rob, the lights are a deterrent. Burglars do not want to stand under a light.
Lastly, when you do list your home, do not allow anyone to come in without setting up a showing with your agent. This way your agent can track who comes in and out of your own. Ask the realtor to specifically use a Supra lock so that entrance and exit is tracked (not a combo lock). If a realtor or someone claiming to be a realtor shows up and you’re unaware of a showing, tell them no problem, I’ll just lock up and leave, so you can get the key out of the lock box.
Now that you’ve done what you can to prepare, happy selling! Let’s get this one SOLD!
Gail Hardy is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Reviews on Gail can be found on Zillow and her business page on Facebook. She always welcomes new clients and can be reached at 865-805-3054 or email email@example.com!
I want to buy a house, but what should I expect?
It makes no difference if this is your first time, or if you are an experienced home buyer or seller, choosing a befitting Realtor® can be just as important as choosing the right home! Being a Realtor® is not the same as being an agent. A Realtor® is a licensed agent that has been properly trained and adheres to all National Association of Realtors (NAR) standards and requirements. A savvy Realtor® studies the market and understands recent trends and how those trends will impact your experience.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when narrowing your search:
1) References please! Do not be afraid to ask for references. Check their reviews on Google, Zillow®, Trulia®, or any other site you are using. Just because your friend referred an agent or Realtor® does not necessarily mean they will be a good fit for you and your needs.
2) What experience does your Realtor® have? Check to see how many transactions they have completed within the past year. Some potential home buyers/sellers prefer only experienced Realtors® while others find themselves a higher priority when using a unseasoned Realtor® who is eager to get a jump start on their new career. Either way, it is imperative your Realtor® also be a top quality negotiator.
3) Interview several licensed professionals before making a decision. It is important that you feel your Realtor® has your best interests in mind. Look for professionalism, ethical awareness, and someone that clearly knows what they are doing. Do not discount chemistry; you should feel at ease and confident in the home buying/selling experience after speaking with your right fit. It is crucial that you be comfortable giving your Realtor® feedback throughout the process, and they need to be comfortable being on the receiving end.
4) Know the costs! Not all Realtors® are created equal, and neither are their fees. As a buyer, it is important to know that, on most occasions, using a Realtor® is not an upfront expense. Buyer’s agent fees are typically paid by the seller. Never use a selling agent as a buyer’s agent; these roles have separate responsibilities and obligations. As a seller, the cheapest fee may not always be the best deal. Agents who discount their rates may be doing so to compensate for their lack of experience or sales. On the flip-side, the most expensive fee does not necessarily mean you are getting the quality you deserve; you could be working with an overly eager agent.
5) Look for conviction and passion! This industry is hard, and not everyone is cut out for it. You should feel a sense of energy and excitement for the opportunity to earn your business.
6) Look for honesty. Not all houses are in good condition, and your professional should be able to warn you if they see something that is concerning rather than push it under the rug to get the sale. Just as important, your Realtor® should be able to give you honest feedback on what it will take to get the most out our your home’s worth without insulting you, and he or she should be able to give you realistic expectations on today’s market and how that will impact you.
7) Communication is key! Not everyone has the same desires for communication. It is important to establish how frequently you would like to communicate with your Realtor®. Do you prefer text, emails, or calls? Effectively matching your desire for communication is critical to hit required deadlines and help you feel more at ease during what is commonly known to be a stressful process.
8) Go with your gut! You should trust your intuition rather than someone over-inflating their value.
After all, you want your property to sell for the highest value, and you want to get the best deal when purchasing a home. Do not be fooled by someone who will not get the desired results!
Brandi Crass is an affiliate broker with Southland Realtors. Feel free to contact her directly at 865-323-7723 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for all of your real estate needs!