Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Appraisals Setting Market Values? New Trend?

There's always a first.  First closing, first fall-through, first family transaction...you get the picture.  There's always a first and usually it's not the last, just an indicator of things to come or a flashing warning sign of things to never involve yourself in again.  Sometimes you see the red flags and despite years of experience, you fail to heed them.  Surely, you think to yourself, this can't be what it seems.  Well, usually it is.  Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, again, you get it.

Because I deal with clients from all over the world, I have learned that past real estate experiences in other locations tend to color the transaction that the client and I are currently involved in.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Poor market conditions, including a glut of inventory, plummeting prices and poor professional guidance can create negative residual reactions for future transactions.  Stay with me.
Poor market conditions in another state, coupled with life-decisions being made regarding retirement and downsizing made my buyers paranoid about real estate values and rightfully so.  Their home, a once stable investment, did not quite bring what they felt it should in today's market, leaving them with a sour taste in their mouths.  Per our conversations, their real estate guidance back home was non-existent.  When I asked questions about marketing, contingencies, financing options, etc. they looked at me as if I were speaking parseltongue. 

Fast forward...we find a house here that meet their needs and is in the price point that they would like to be in.  We have viewed over 50 homes in the past year while their home has been on the market, always toying with the idea of buying before the current home sold.  Now that it was under contract, time was of the essence in regards to finding a place for them to rest their heads.  Now keep in mind, we have viewed tons of homes in a variety of areas, all similar in spatial needs and between a certain range.  We have now located one, which according to my past experience, should mean that this is the best home that the buyer has seen, in regards to condition, location and pricing...(that's how homes make it to number one on a buyers' list).

Time to make an offer.  Rather than sit down and look at comparable homes that are active (we have seen all of these) or take an in depth look at similar homes sold in the past 90 days, these folks ask for an appraisal.  Wow!  Didn't see that coming!  I am used to negotiating a price based on what the buyer and seller feel the home is worth in today's market, getting it under contract at terms everyone can live with and then "verifying" the price and terms with a certified appraisal.  This seemed all backwards--but was it?

The question that I am taking away from this experience is multi-faceted...Who sets the price? What is happening to fair market value in an era of government regulated loans and appraisals?  Since when did buyers and sellers not feel like they have the information to make decisions without being dictated by a third party who knows nothing of their personal needs and real estate desires? 

The biggest problem I see with this "new" direction is the lack of comparable homes that appraisers have to work with.  If there are not three similar homes sold in the past 90 days then appraisers are digging to find homes that are close in proximity but may be quite different for a variety of reasons.  You may say "well they are going to have to do it for the bank appraisal anyway" and you are right, but its funny that once a sales price is set between buyer and seller, unless it is way off base, comps are usually found and adjusted accordingly.  It's this "pull a value out of the air" using any homes that the appraiser may personally deem reasonable, that I am trying to wrap my mind around.

So the question begs to be asked...What are your thoughts on pre-appraisals and do you see this as something you would consider doing or is the notion that you are buying the best house out there for you and your family's needs enough to base price on?

Until Then...

Brooke

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

Whew!  I am feeling it!  The button on my jeans is crying to be released!  The kick-off to the holiday season began today at our Allen Tate office in Winston-Salem.  With over 60 agents in attendance and everyone bringing 2-3 side dishes and the staff providing turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, let's just say, I don't know how I am going to make it to the new year!  I looked around the room and I certainly was not the only one feeling the love for this mega-buffet.  Plates were bending, folks were eating while in line in order to make more room on their plate, seconds were served and the crock-pot full of gravy didn't stand a chance by the looks of this crowd.  We've been waiting for this...

It makes you really appreciate a group of fellow Realtors under one company that can gather to gather, take time out of their busy schedule and share the harvest with each other.  Sure war stories were exchanged right along beside the recipes, plenty of ribbing about being airlifted out of the room or having the wrecker service drag someones chair to their office, but it's like one big family complete with love and plenty of sarcasm. 

I am thankful not only for such a supportive group of co-workers but also, an amazing company that is always ahead of the technology and marketing curve,  a top-notch year where we have grown our team with two additional full-time agents and a full-time assistant, a market where jobs are being created everyday and my family both at home and at work.  Sure makes my life a lot more enjoyable and for this I Thank God!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Brooke

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luxury Listings...Be the Jewel in the Crown!

As a founding member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Allen Tate Realtors, has access to amazing exposure for your luxury home by way of their Luxury Portfolio. Luxury Portfolio is a dedicated program of print and internet advertising that focuses on, well, you guessed it, luxury living.   As we all know, every man's home is his or her castle, so first there has to be a guideline as to what determines a luxury listing.  For Luxury Portfolio, a qualified luxury home, must be a residential property price over $750,000.

This figure is the key that opens up a plethora of doors across the world, therefore exposing your home to discerning buyers in every country.  Armed with high resolution photography and photos that resonate the quality and unique attributes of these homes, Luxury Portfolio does more than just throw your home into the mix of the millions of homes on the market--it positions it as a unique jewel among others in the "luxury" crown.

Most of the homes in the Luxury Portfolio have online-floor plans that allow you to view the layout of the home.  The floor plans coupled with a gracious number of quality photos, allows buyers to really get a feel for the home prior to their visit.  The homes appear in a variety of print publications and as sellers, you receive complimentary copies of most of these publications.  Homes in Luxury Portfolio also qualify for Wall Street Journal advertising as well as Unique Homes Magazine which you may have flipped through the last time you were at Barnes and Nobel.  The homes are also stars in their own YouTube channel available to buyers who like to virtually tour homes.

So what are you waiting for?  Thinking of selling your luxury listing?  Give Brooke Cashion & Associates a call/text/email and we would love to sit down and share with you not only Luxury Portfolio, but all of the unique goodies that we have to offer.  It's company and team tools such as these that have given us a "leg-up" in this market, allowing us to increase our business in 2011 over 30%.  Let us share our experience and attention to detail with you! 

Brooke

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Weak?

Ok, I did the parent-thing and braved the pouring rain, drove to a different neighborhood so that Maddie could walk with her friends and basically allocated the entire evening to this "holiday".  Much to my surprise (ok, I really wasn't that shocked), kids just don't have the "salt" my generation had when it came to trick or treating.

Not only are costumes bought or basically "stage-quality" these days, but kids just don't have the passion that we had to fill their bags to the brim and to run full-on from house to house before "quittin' time".  Maddie's costume was hand-made by my mother-in-law at Maddie's request and let me tell you, it was such a nice costume that I told Maddie it may very well be her Christmas dress or at least be donated to the Little Theatre.  Tongue in cheek, maybe, but it definitely was nicer than some of the holiday dresses I owned growing up.

I digress...We arrived at 5:30 across town to enjoy chili with school friends and then as soon as we stepped out of the door into the rain, the complaints began in a cacophony from the 6+ kids in the group.  They ranged from:

"I don't want to carry the umbrella will you hold it for me?"..."I don't want to carry my candy bucket, it's too heavy!"..."My feet are wet!"...."My feet are cold!"..."I don't like that candy!"..."I'll just wait here, that driveway is too steep, too far, too dark, too wet"...."I hate this wig"..."Can we go back home?" (this was after two houses!)

Now, all of these did not come from only one kid or even my Maddie (of course not) but let's just say, we left after only an hour of trick or treating.  We made our way home in relative silence and decided that we would do some door to door in our 'hood--which we did.  Just me and the kid...I'll show her how it's done. Well, Maddie lucked up, we hit over 20 houses in under 15 minutes and because she was on the end of our neighborhood Halloween curfew (something else I have NEVER heard of-who imposes a CURFEW on Halloween?!?!), she got tons of candy because of folks trying to get rid of it.  It's all about strategy--SCORE! 

I don't know what happened to Halloween in the past 30+ years, but I do know that we only got these kinds of candy ONCE a year and it lasted forever, sometimes we rationed 1-2 pieces a day to make it last.  Halloweens of yesteryear (circa 1977-87), were so cold, I had to wear layers of clothes that included long johns, gloves and multiple pairs of socks. It always rained that was a given! The houses were at least a quarter mile apart, not a few feet! My costume was usually thrown together out of my closet but if I was lucky enough to talk my mom into a mask from Roses, it didn't breathe at all and it would be totally wet and gross when I took it off.  We started when it got dark and stayed out until the last porch light went out...our parents didn't go with us to each house and we ran until we were drenched in sweat from house to house, shedding layers at will!  We walked three miles up hill and back with 20 lbs sacks of candy...Our bags were overflowing and our energy spent...when we got in, we sorted the candy by category, looked for razor blades and drugs (some of us, even took our candy to the hospital to have it x-rayed) and then we gorged!  We ate what we wanted and our parents did too, always helping us by eating the Bit-O-Honey's and those black and orange candies that no one knew what they were. A scary movie was always on, like The Howling or Twilight Zone and we curled up and winded down...Come on kids!  Next year step it up, train early, let's bring it back old school!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lou Baldwin--Carrying the Torch for NC Realtor Association

Great article in today's edition of Triad Business regarding Lou Baldwin, the upcoming President of the North Carolina Association of Realtors.  Lou and I have served many years together on various committees and projects both with the Winston-Salem Association of Realtors, Realtors for Burr and others.  He is definitely an asset to any organization he is a part of and continues to reach a "hand back" to help those around him to be involved.  Enjoy!

Lou Baldwin Faces Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

Monday, October 03, 2011

It's Just One of Those...

I see a lot of, homes.  It goes with the territory.  We tell clients everyday that no home is perfect but a few do come awfully close.  Take for example my newest listing at 130 Stanley Farm Road in Kernersville.  Now it's a little out of my price range, but if I were looking for great value in the heart of the Triad--this is it!

Priced competitively at $750,000 and situated on 2.53 acres, this home speaks to the owner that pays attention to every detail and knows what it's like to live the "good life".  Elegant but not ostentatious, practical but not "simple" this home embodies what Southern living should be.

At first glance, it's hard not to notice the meticulously manicured lawn, edged beds and mature growth trees that surround the property.  This level lot sits off of a side road outside of one of Kernersville's most popular subdivisions and is not encumbered by an HOA or restrictive covenants.

Enter the main foyer and you are immediately stunned by the gently curving staircase, soaring ceilings and the wide, custom trim.  From the music room with it's palladium window to the arched framing of the great room you still feel as if you can come in and actually relax.  Nothing stuffy or presumptuous here.  The main level master allows for a majority of main level living if you so choose.  Central vacuum, granite counters, hardwoods, custom cabinetry, gracious windows, large pantry, main level laundry with sink, and all of the other high-end "basics" you would expect.  Then prepare for the unexpected such as TONS of walk-in attic storage, exterior hot water access, back-access stairs to game/bonus room, two large formed stone, gas-log fireplaces and an entire in law/teen suite in the full-finished basement.  Four garage spaces in the main house, three on the main level and one basement garage.  There  is also a detached storage building with one garage and a workshop area, complete with cooling, electricity and cable!  Just beside of this building and tucked into the woods is  your very own golf hole!

Custom built by one of Kernersville's most reputable builders you can tell that this home was built with family and friends in mind!  Give me a call, I would love to show you this Southern charmer if you are looking in this price range.  Otherwise check out the link to view additional photos.  Please feel free to give feedback as to how we can make this home show it's true charm in our marketing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lay of the Land...Why a Survey Matters More than Ever!

As a personal rule of thumb and as an Allen Tate company policy we ALWAYS recommend a property survey when purchasing a home or vacant land.  I say that up front because so many buyers choose not to have a survey performed when buying.  We see the choice made, not to have a full survey frequently in platted subdivisions or existing homes where sellers sometimes provide the new buyer with an old survey, thus luring the buyer into a sense of security which may not always be accurate.

To start, let's define what a survey is.  According to dictionary.com a survey is to determine the exact form, boundaries, position, extent, etc., of (a tract of land, section of a country, etc.) by linear and angular measurements and the application of the principles of geometry and trigonometry.

Now, this may sound complicated because it is.  Eye-balling corners or assuming that tree lines are boundaries and that fencing setbacks are correct, is not something that a lay-person can perform with any semblance of accuracy.  It takes a trained eye to determine boundaries by looking at historical metes and bounds references, old irons and landmarks and other varying documentation and topography. 

Recently, surveys have "saved" several of  my clients by providing additional information that was not discovered during the abstract research process that the attorney performs for title, by identifying ownership and therefore maintenance obligations of fencing and by determining appropriate setbacks for desired future improvements to the property. 

In the grand scheme of things, surveys are a small price to pay in order to make sure you are getting what you bargained for.  Not to mention the actual copy of the survey can be attached to or referenced in the new deed in order to insure additional confidence for yourself and future buyers.

So don't skimp...buying real estate is one of, if not the largest investment, you will ever make.  Make sure you have a survey every time you buy so you DO get caught holding the "flag"...

Happy House Hunting!

Brooke

Friday, September 09, 2011

Beltway Project to Begin Sooner Than Anticipated...

For residents in Forsyth county affected by the Eastern Loop of the beltway, the news that Governor Perdue delivered at Tuesday's Transportation Summit was music to their ears.  For almost 25 years the beltway has been proposed to circumvent the ever-congested highways and interstates that dissect Winston-Salem.  The swath of the projected path has held up hundreds if not thousands of residents from selling their homes, making basic permitted improvements and has created a sense of uncertainty that only adds major anxiety in already tough economic times. 

If a homeowner in the original projected path wanted to sell, they had to disclose that the area may in fact be either purchased or impacted by the road project.  This impact could range from something as simple as being several hundred yards away, no closer than they currently were to I40 or from something complex and usually ambiguous such as noise cone projections, landscape berms and buffers or actually seeing their home in the mist of the proposed road bed.  Deciphering these complex engineered maps that were provided online and constantly in a state of flux was left best to engineers and other transportation experts.  However, even they could not give a timeline, project approval or home buyout offers.  As a result, these land and home owners were forced to "sit" on property that had in many cases decreased in value as a result of the proposal.  Bottom line was who would want to buy one of these properties without knowing the true future impact whether good or bad?  Fast forward to today.

In recent months the DOT has been very aggressively purchasing properties in the proposed area for residents that can fill out the paperwork, get the appropriate letters in place and prove that they have a financial or physical hardship.  These hardship purchases in my opinion were a good start and have gone very smoothly with processes in place that all of the sellers and buyers I have worked with, feel are very fair and seamless.

It is my sincere hope that with the Governor's announcement that the remainder of the properties can be acquired beginning in 2013 so that these folks can move on with their lives and rid themselves of the uncertainty that this has brought.  According to Perdue's statement, purchases will begin 2013 with construction on the first segment beginning 2014.  Folks that is just around the corner and couldn't come soon enough!

Are you being impacted by this project? If so what are your thoughts on the Governor's plan?  To read a great summary article from The Triad Business Journal click the following link:

Governor Perdue Commits To Starting Urban Loop

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Five Great Reasons to Sell Your Home--Steve Harney--KCM

5542 Louis Sells Road Kernersville NC 27284--$375,000
5.5 +/- Acres NO CITY TAXES!! 
Like this pic?  Check out this new listing www.allentate.com/BrookeCashion/621285

Homes Look Better Now! Find Out Why NOW Is the Time to Sell...

New Appraisal Changes Effective September 1st May Impact Lending Practices

In an attempt to make appraisals more uniform and accurate new changes and additions have recently gone into place effective first of September.  These changes mean that the timeframe in which a loan closes could be impacted as more detail will be required on these reports.  This may in fact be one step in the right direction in a real estate world where comparable properties can be scarce at best depending on the market you're in.  The new standards will require the below "ratings" to be assigned to the properties used, including the subject.  In my opinion, this will "fix" the problem of appraisers using "comps" that may be similar in size and location but don't always accurately take into account the overall quality of construction, condtion and upgrades to the properties involved.  How do you think these changes will effect lending? I am especially interested in hearing those comments from those of you directly involved in the industry...lenders, agents and appraisers.  Please note, the information provided below is courtesy of an information email sent to me by Luann Davis of Starkey Mortgage.



Rating Description



C1 The improvements have been very recently constructed and have not previously been occupied. The entire structure and all components are new and the dwelling has no physical depreciation.


Note: Newly constructed improvements that feature recycled materials and/or components can be considered new dwelling provided that the dwelling is placed on a 100% new foundation and the recycled materials and the recycled components have been rehabilitated/re-manufactured into like-new condition. Recently constructed improvements that have not been previously occupied are not considered "new" if they have any significant physical depreciation (newly constructed dwellings that have been vacant for an extended period of time without adequate maintenance or upkeep)


C2 The improvements feature no deferred maintenance, little or no physical depreciation, and require no repairs. Virtually all building components are new or have been recently repaired, refinished, or rehabilitated. All outdated components and finishes have been updated and/or replaced with components that meet current standards. Dwellings in this category either are almost new or have been recently completely renovated and are similar in condition to new construction.


C3 The improvements are well-maintained and feature limited physical depreciation due to normal wear and tear. Some components, but not every major building component, may be updated or recently rehabilitated. The structure has been well-maintained.


C4 The improvements feature some minor deferred maintenance and physical deterioration due to normal wear and tear. The dwelling has been adequately maintained and requires only minimal repairs to building components/mechanical systems and cosmetic repairs. All major building components have been adequately maintained and are functionally adequate.


C5 The improvements feature obvious deferred maintenance and are in need of some significant repairs. Some building components need repairs, rehabilitation, or updating. The functional utility and overall livability is somewhat diminished due to condition, but the dwelling remains usable and functional as a residence.


C6 The improvements have substantial damage or deferred maintenance with deficiencies or defects that are severe enough to affect the safety, soundness, or structural integrity of the improvements. The improvements are in need of substantial repairs and rehabilitation, including many or most major components.






Rating Description


Q1 Dwellings with this quality rating are usually unique structures that are individually designed by an architect for a specified user. Such residences typically are constructed from detailed architectural plans and specifications and feature an exceptionally high level of workmanship and exceptionally high-grade materials throughout the interior and exterior of the structure. The design features exceptionally high-quality exterior refinement and ornamentation, and exceptionally high-quality interior refinements. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout the dwelling are of exceptionally high quality.


Q2 Dwellings with this quality rating are often custom designed for construction on an individual property owner's site. However, dwellings in this quality grade are also found in high-quality tract developments featuring residences constructed from individual plans or from highly modified or upgraded plans. The design features detailed, high-quality exterior ornamentation, high-quality interior refinements, and detail. The workmanship, materials, and finishes throughout the dwelling are generally of high or very high quality.


Q3 Dwellings with this quality rating are residences of higher quality buildings from individual or readily available designer plans in above-standard residential tract developments or on an individual property owner's site. The design includes significant exterior ornamentation and interior that are well finished. The workmanship exceeds acceptable standards and many materials and finishes throughout the dwelling have been upgraded from "stock" standards.


Q4 Dwelling with this quality rating meet or exceed the requirements of applicable building codes. Standard or modified standard building plans are utilized and the design includes adequate fenestration and some exterior ornamentation and interior refinements. Materials, workmanship, finish, and equipment are of stock or builder grade and may feature some upgrades.


Q5 Dwellings with this quality rating feature economy of construction and basic functionality as main considerations. Such dwellings feature a plain design using readily available or basic floor plans featuring minimal fenestration* and basic finishes with minimal exterior ornamentation and limited interior detail. These dwellings meet minimum building codes and are constructed with inexpensive stock materials with limited refinements and upgrades.


*Fenestration – the design and disposition of windows and other exterior openings of a building.


Q6 Dwelling with this quality rating are of basic quality and lower cost; some may not be suitable for year-round occupancy. Such dwellings are often built with simple plans or without plans often utilizing the lowest quality building materials. Such dwellings are often built or expanded by persons who are professionally unskilled or possess only minimal construction skills. Electrical, plumbing, and other mechanical systems and equipment may be minimal or nonexistent. Older dwellings may feature one or more substandard or nonconforming additions to the original structure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Docusign--Gone With the Wind?

Agents are always looking for ways to help their clients save time, energy and money during the real estate process.  Last year, after much skepticism, I purchased a virtual signature program called Docusign.  The premise of Docusign is that you can mark up a contract with virtual signature/initial tags in pdf format and send it via email to your clients for their virtual signature.  The process is accepted by the attorney general in all 50 states and has a verification process and affidavit that is supposed to protect consumers. 

Upon first use of this product, not only was I hooked but my clients loved it!  Why drive to my office or print out a bunch of paperwork that is subject to change daily until a contract is negotiated fully?  Why scratch through, highlight and mark up illegible faxed copies to the point they look like hieroglyphic nonsense?  Here was Docusign, the latest and greatest in real estate mobility and technology, available even as an app on iPhone and ipads and other smart devices.  Wow!  We were really making progress from the days of old, when I had to drive into my office to even retrieve voice mails!

Fast forward to today, after a year of Docusign investment, docs and templates saved online and the rest of my team signed up for this amazing service we get this--Notification on Monday that one of my buyers who is getting a conventional loan, needs to come in and give a "wet" signature because conventional lenders are no longer allowing Docusigned contracts.  Apparently, there has been fraudulent activity and lenders are trying to double-back and prevent future incidents.  Funny thing is, FHA and VA loans are still OK with it and allowing virtual signatures.  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but given recent history, who REALLY needs to be watching out for fraudulent activity on our behalf?  Is this yet another example of private industry being ahead of the curve or is this just one more hurdle that buyers have to cross while trying to bolster the economy pretty much on their own?

The other interesting instance that has occurred with Docusign took place on a foreclosure that one of my buyers was purchasing.  We submitted the offer via Docusign  using virtual signatures, well before this recent notification took place (the good 'ol days) and was informed that we could not use the virtual signatures.  I met with my client, received "wet" signatures and resubmitted the offer.  Of course, this took several days and by the time the offer was sent to the other agent via scan, the quality was seriously compromised.  We did receive the signed offer back from Fannie Mae and guess what?  They used Docusign or another form of virtual signatures.  I guess the message to take from that is that the government is to be trusted and couldn't be fraudulent...hmmm...feels like a rerun of X files...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Detering Theives...Article in Weekend Paper...

Maddie, my 11 year old daughter pointed this article out to me over the weekend, she really liked the
"burglar's perspective" of the article.  I casually read it and found it very well-written and interesting.  Then a good friend and business associate of mine, Harry Davis of CPI Security sent the article out in an email today.  I thought that you too might find it helpful and who knows, it could save your life and personal belongings.  Stay safe and vigilant!!

http://www2.journalnow.com/lifestyles/home-garden/2011/jul/29/deter-thieves-072911-ar-1249271/

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Personal Bank Account

Great email from our president at Allen Tate...how will you spend yours?

Gift of 86,400



Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your private account for your use.


However, this prize has rules, just as any game has certain rules.


The first set of rules would be:










Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.










You may not simply transfer money into some other account. You may only spend it.






Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.


The second set of rules:










The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, It’s over, the game is over! It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.






What would you personally do?














You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all people you love, right? Even for people you don't know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right? You would try to spend every cent, and use it all, right?














ACTUALLY This GAME is REALITY!






Each of us is in possession of such a magical bank. We just can't seem to see it.






The MAGICAL BANK is TIME!






Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.














What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost. Yesterday is forever gone.














Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time....WITHOUT WARNING.






SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?






Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.










Think about that, and always think of this:






Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.






So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!






Here's wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.














Start spending.






Till next time!






“Challenges are what make life interesting, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful!!!” Joshua J. Marine





Friday, July 08, 2011

Do You Need a Pre-Qualification or a Pre-Approval?

Chris Cope, President of Allen Tate Mortgage, posted a great piece this morning on pre-qualification vs. pre-approval letters.  These may seem like one and the same for most folks, but with the rising number of contract fall throughs, this is information that we can ALL use!

Pre-Approval vs. Pre-Qualification--Chris Cope--Allen Tate Mortgage

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Free Are We?

Always interesting to me is how free we perceive ourselves to be when we are inundated with information everyday leading us to believe that we live in either the most free spot in the world or one where our freedoms are being whittled away each day.  Check out this website and let me know your thoughts...How Free Are We?

Freedom of the 50 States-Mercatus

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Public v. Private and Need v. Necessity

On a recent trip to St. Pete Beach Florida I noticed an interesting phenomenon, the use of privately-owned "smart cars" as modes of FREE transportation to and from restaurants, beaches and watering holes.  Jake and I have been visiting the St. Pete Beach area going on 15 years now and the normal mode of transportation outside of your private or rental car has been the standard taxicab.  The taxi was certainly an option but it entailed waiting for unspecified amounts of time, astronomical tabs for short distances and less than stellar interior ride conditions.  As years progressed and need demanded, the city saw a niche that it could fill while adding to the "small beach town" ambiance and thus the trolley was introduced.  Novel at first to ride a vintage-looking trolley up and down the 5-7 mile strip for less than a dollar each way, the trolley soon wears on your patience.  It is nothing to wait 15-30 minutes for a trolley to get to a stop and then the attendants are less than helpful recommending things to see or where you need to get off for a particular venue.  For example, one foggy night, we told the trolley conductor that we were headed to Corey Avenue, which is an on-the-water crossroads for restaurants and live music.  Did he stop, did he ask, did he indicate that we were close by,even though we were the only ones on the trolley? Nope.  Just kept gettin' it down Gulf Boulevard.  As I stated, it was unusually foggy and we had a 3 year old to distract us, so we ended up just outside of Treasure Island, some 3 miles from where we wanted to be and the trolley had no plans on coming back to the St. Pete side that evening.  Well, let's just say at that point, thank God we had cash and thank God for cabs!

Well, fast-forward to my last few trips this past year and the advent of the entrepreneur has arrived on the Gulf!  Little, open-air "smart cars" adorned with advertising, zipping up and down the road and best of all they are FREE!!  Restaurants and bars call them, they arrive on time and guess what?  They really are FREE, taking tips only, but making the  majority of their money off of the advertising.  The drivers are great tour guides and remember to pick you back up at specified times from specified places because guess what?  They work for tips and their service has a direct impact on their take home each night.  So once again, the private sector proves that they do it best and most effectively and at less burden to the tax payer.  This service has even upgraded to "green" vans for larger groups.

Looking at the virtually empty trolley crawling lazily up and down the strip may have been nostalgic but one's thing for sure, I for one, am glad it was replaced with something that is effective, efficient, clean and entertaining.  A great example of how American ingenuity can take and discern the demands and expectations between a need v. a necessity and capitalize on it...What do you think the next BIG need is, that private business would be better at serving as opposed to public/taxpayer funding?

Friday, April 15, 2011

As Rents Rise Will Housing Prices Start to Recover?

It's as simple as supply v. demand. Currently, the local rental market is booming with tens of calls a day coming into our office as renters are on the prowl for suitable temporary housing.  With the advent of foreclosures, short sales and job loss many folks who previously owned are looking for rental property in order to secure a roof over their heads while waiting for credit to rebound.  These are a new breed of renters, used to the luxury and quality of life afforded by home ownership.  In our market, which is historically made up of rental homes under $1000 per month, there are not homes suitable for the finicky tenant looking for a place to establish their family after a tumultuous couple of financially challenging years.  These renters want cleanliness, quality, space and established neighborhoods that FEEL like home and unfortunately these are few and far between. 

The upside is that as prices continue to settle, we are finding  more homeowners opting not to sell before moving to that next job or home.  This may in fact give rise to a larger availability of properties to choose from and allow high-end renters choices beyond the edges of college campus'.

As rents rise it has been predicted that housing price declines will slow and help to up-end the market.
www.calculatedriskblog.com/2011/04/forecast-rising-rents-to-slow-house.html

So as long as this cycle works itself out it may be in fact a good thing for real estate. On the other hand, if continued intervention and regulation from outside financial and governmental entities occurs, we may not experience the possibility of current homeowners opting to rent rather than sell due to fear of not being able to purchase without selling.

Much remains to be seen but the notion that you can hold on to your current home, allow the market pricing to adjust upwards AND purchase your NEXT home while rates are low, mortgage programs available and inventory is great is something that could help to shore up our shaky real estate foundation.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Demand Atlas Shrugged Movie Here in NC!!

You guys have read my blog on Atlas Shrugged several months ago and know how much Jake and I love the book and Ayn Rand...now the movie is out and due to the message, (which of course is adverse to everything promoted today in mainstream media), the movie is not being shown in many theatres nationwide. The website and facebook fan page have places where you can "demand" the movie in your locale but anti-Atlas Shrugged folks have hacked into the system to prevent gathering this info. Kinks are being worked out, but check out the trailer and find a way to promote and tell others to "demand" this movie be made available locally!!



http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/atlas-shrugged-movie-trailer











If this movie trailer doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will! Read the book!!

Monday, April 04, 2011

It's Been A Long Long Time...I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore...

Certainly nothing is more frustrating than trying to find a blogger who posts regularly.  Someone you can count on for accurate, up-to-date information.  That someone was me, until recently!  We have been swamped--not only new listings, buyers, marketing and other real estate related activities, but just life in general--family, soccer, school plays, chorus practice, church--you guys know the drill!  Heck, I bet you've been so busy that you haven't even noticed that I hadn't posted in two weeks!  Definitely a long time for me!  So let me share with you my latest-non-real estate related story!

Stuck in Florida

I headed out to Florida last Sunday to catch up with my college roommate for her 35th birthday.  We decided due to several factors (one being cost) that we would stay with my aunt in St. Pete Beach.  We have both visited the area, which is steps away from the powdered-sugar shores of the Gulf and knew that this time of year was beautiful--low humidity, mid 80 degree days and inexpensive flights.  Rough ride on the way down as we bumped and rolled through a front in southern Georgia, but we made it in one piece.  First day was gorgeous as expected, but days 2, 3 and 4 were cloudy with major thunder and windstorms thrown in to boot!  We would rush to put on sunscreen or run to get in from extreme lightning--one day it was so windy our nachos blew off of the plate!  Nevertheless, we visited and made the best of our time together!

 Fast forward to Thursday-time to  leave.  My aunt chauffers us to our respected airports, mine St.Pete/Clearwater and my friend's, Tampa.  This is approximately 9 am.  Around 10 am, my friend and I are texting back and forth about the major storm brewing.  Rain blowing sideways, tornado watches, hail, windgusts up to 70 mph and the like.  Lightning like we rarely see in NC cracked the sky wide open, followed by thunder that lasted for 10 plus seconds and shook the building around you...Then the airplane in front of my window begins to move up and down. The plane looked like something out of a Snoop Dogg video, as if it had hydrolics. Now we aren't talking a small plane, we're talking a 737 anchored to the ground.  At one point, though I was only sitting 50 feet away, you couldn't see the plane's nose for the rain and wind.  So, still texting in a panic and CRACK, lightning and suddenly no power!  The Pinellas County Sherriff's department along with homeland security comes in and assures all of us waiting to board, that in oh, 30 minutes max that the power will be on shortly, as the generator gets up and running.  Just then an odd, empty sucking sound and the doors from the terminal to the tarmac are forced opened--later it was determined that this was the pressure change (900mb-think hurricane pressure) as the tornado touched down four times around the airport  and the immediate area--tossing small planes and destroying hangars. My friend is frantically texting me that she is in the bathroom in Tampa because the tornado was spotted skipping its way across the bay! 

The power doesn't return in 30 minutues or 3 hours...at 4 o'clock, still no power and the airport authority announced that flights were being cancelled.  The airport was great for providing free water and drinks but still no food and many people had been there since early morning. Now mind you during this time no one left the interior terminal because there was no way for homeland security to screen you coming back in.  So hundreds of us are inside this 80 degree building, no way to get food (registers and service areas down) and no internet.  My cell phone battery was waning with no way to charge it, so I made the decision to call my aunt to pick me back up.  As I am waiting, more huge waves of this storm batter the airport and the workers trying to restore power-apparently, lightning hit the generator.  Also, while waiting, no one is sure if flights will be resumed that evening since poor weather was being called for through the evening.  All in all, the Tampa area recieved approximately 3-4 inches of rain during each of these storms over a 5 day period.  The damage was described by some locals as worse than what is gotten during hurricanes.

Allegiant rescheduled my flight at no charge later that evening for the upcoming Sunday-a full three days later.  Though it put me behind at work and I had never been away from Jake and Maddie that long, the  next two days were what Florida weather should be.  Skies with no clouds to be found, rustling palms overhead, 70 degree weather when you wake up and handcrafted sunsets!!  I thanked God for allowing me safe returns and for knowing that I could use a few extra days to relax.

I am back, refreshed and re-energized and ready to take on the real estate market!  The roomie did make it back safely as well, but only after spending almost a full 24 hours either on stand-by, on a tarmac, changing terminals, on a  cancelled or delayed flight or driving.  Unbelieveable, but an adventure that we won't forget for a long time!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Conventional Wisdom--FHA vs. Conventional

In recent history, buyers with little down payment and high credit scores still leaned towards FHA loans for their good rates and low down payment requirements.  Currently for as little as 3.5% down, which can still be a gift, a decent FHA loan can be obtained. 

In mid-April, FHA will adjust their up front funding fee which may in fact turn the tables for buyers looking for those low down payment loans.  It looks like now using conventional financing can save buyers substantial amounts of money at the onset and years down the road.

With new conventional programs, there is no upfront premium, unlike FHA which requires 1% upfront either added to the closing costs or financed into the loan.

On these conventional products there will be lower monthly private mortgage insurance costs than with FHA which means realized savings month over month and year over year.

On some of the conventional products you can get in with as little as 3% down as opposed to FHA's required 3.5%.

If the buyer has the ability to put a little more down with some of these products and can bring a down payment of 5% as opposed to FHA's required 3.5% then in 3 years the buyer can save approximately--

$2116 in monthly mortgage payments
$4005 in mortgage insurance
and will have $5632 more in equity.

When the FHA pricing changes in April, these numbers above will adjust to
$3885 in monthly mortgage savings
$5774 in mortgage insurance costs and this is in just the first three years!  Not something to sneeze at!

For more information and details please give me a call or email me so that our team can put you in touch with a mortgage professional who can assess your situation and determine which loan is right for you!

Brooke

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

REDUCTION ON ONE LEVEL-SPLIT BEDROOM PLAN IN KERNERSVILLE!

Recently Reduced in Kernersville!  Like a Model Home!
5748 Bromley Drive $225,000--CLICK HERE FOR INFO AND PICS!www.allentate.com/brookecashion/594946

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Charity That We Love Continues to Make a Difference!



Arts for Life, which is a charity that we support here on our team and personally continues to bring the arts to sick children at Brenner's and other children's hospitals around the state.  If you are interested in contributing or knowing how you can help, please contact me and I can give you the info.

Enjoy the article!  Brooke

Arts For Life Brings Music to Patients

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Restaurant Coming to Kernersville!

For a community that treats its restaurants and businesses so well, I have always found it strange that we have so few really good, independent, sit-down restaurants in Kernersville.  That is about to change!  Some of our local favorites such as Smitty's and Fitz's are niche' restaurants, serving seafood and short order but for a family that likes to dine out, we will not be missing any visits to these "stand-bys".

The new restaurant, which I have very limited information about, will be located on Old Winston Road beside of Kernersville Pharmacy.  According to the sign in front of the building, the name will be J. Pepper's.  I have heard rumblings that it will be high-end Southern cuisine, but have no verification on this speculation.  I do know that there will be an outdoor patio area for drinks and dining that should seat between 50-60 patrons.  The Cashion family certainly welcomes J. Pepper's and I am sure that our friends and neighbors do as well!

Another update on Blend and Brew, formerly known as Espresso Doctors.  The temporary unit in the parking lot of Planet Fitness was given a stay by the town of Kernersville until a new location could be found.  Word on the street is that the current owner has found a suitable location on South Main Street and Century Park just across from Don Juan's Mexican.  Ground has been broken and they hope to have the new locale up and running by end of March-mid-April according to an employee.  Blend and Brew will remain a drive-thru coffee experience and hopes to expand their clientele by having more exposure on South Main.

If you have any additional information you would like to share on either of these businesses or know of some other exciting news as it relates to eats and drinks in and around town...share it on the post!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Survey: Sales of Distressed Homes increased in January

Interesting piece in CalculatedRISK today(see link below)...however, in our local market we have not seen the huge influx of distressed property as predicted. Certainly, more homes than in years past that are foreclosing and even fewer being accepted for short sale. This phenomenon highlights the incorrect public perception that banks would rather settle in a short sale situation than foreclosing.

As agents, were are finding that banks are opting for the foreclosure rather than negotiate short sale options. Usually, with outstanding second loans being left in the lurch with little to no money coming their way, the foreclosure process swiftly deals with these outstanding second and third liens and clears the title for the bank to place the home back on the market; in many cases for less than the short sale offers. I have personally seen two instances in the past six months where this has occurred.

As for additional homes coming on the market in this "shadow" inventory...it's hard to say if folks are hanging on through the end of their savings, if they are actually finding gainful employment to continue making payments or if the former stigma of foreclosure has softened and folks will let their homes go back to the bank without batting an eye. Only time will tell...

Survey: Sales of Distressed Homes increased in January

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Obtaining a Mortgage...Is It Just Too Much Work?

According to a survey recently published and reported on by the Wall Street Journal (link at bottom of post), obtaining a mortgage is considered the most difficult part of purchasing a home. 

As someone who works day in and out with lenders, buyers and sellers trying to navigate the home-buying process, I can certainly vouch for that sentiment.  Not only do home buyers have to dredge up tons of paperwork that they may have never laid hands on (tax returns, paper pay stubs, divorce or separation agreements, child support documentation, etc.) but they are also asked to find other obscure items or conduct tests on the home being purchased at the last minute.  This would seem to be an issue for the individual mortgage brokers to know what items are needed for a particular loan or buyer, but with guidelines changing and new regulations being handed down from Fannie and Freddie on sometimes a WEEKLY basis, the gauntlet to obtain financing may seem downright impossible.

For example, the basic requirements to submit for a loan are certainly ones that  you can see as necessary in order to verify income, employment, assets, and the like.  There should not be any issue with a buyer being able to produce their last two year tax returns or bank statements.  However, some buyers, since this is not an everyday process, are confused as to where these documents are found and with the advent of online banking and tax filing, paper copies are becoming less the norm.  This is a great example of how critical it is to have an experienced local lender with a trusted company to guide you through the process.  Even the best of these folks are going to be blind-sided every now and then by something like a road maintenance agreement that was never recorded or a separation paper that was never filed or notarized, but these folks keep their cool, keep everyone informed and keep the loan trucking to a successful close.

Lending is changing everyday and it is up to an experienced team of lenders and agents who are up to date on the climate of the market to guide buyers through the challenges.  Please call Brooke Cashion and Associates for a list of lenders that we recommend because they are market relevant, professional and can close the transaction.  Remember..."When Details Matter....Experience Counts!"

http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/02/08/survey-mortgage-process-has-become-too-confusing/

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Advertising Campaign for Spring 2011!

Everything is pretty cyclical and it goes to show that most ideas are recycled...that being said, I myself, am going back to advertising that treated my business pretty well 10 years ago--a billboard!

For my clients the billboard will continue to drive traffic to the website where their homes are featured with virtual tours, school and community information, 21 photo tours, room measurements, mortgage calculators and so much more!  As a result of Allen Tate's great web inquiry follow-up this will result in more buyer to be helped by our team and more folks obtaining information about our team's listings!  Currently, we have over 2000 hits per month and just since the board has been up (less than one week) this number is up approximately 100 more hits a day!

For the public the billboard will serve as a reminder that Brooke Cashion and Associates is here to serve and can and will sell your home by using expertise, current and relevant market knowledge, professionalism and good 'ol fashioned hard work!  As a top Triad producer for over 10 years, it's proven that we can get the job done!

Wanna take a look?  Check it out on Business 40E, on your left just before the Hwy 158 Walkertown/Reidsville exit.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Revisions to 90 Flip-Give and TAKE!!

As our mortgage broker at our office said, what the government giveth, the banks taketh away.

Apparently, someone at the bank didn't think that the 90 flip rule should be shared with regular Joe homeowner, only the banks should be allowed to move their inventory. Hence, we end up today with joint decision-making between some of the big banks like Wells Fargo, B of A, Chase, etc.) who determined that this will no longer pertain to individual sellers. And of course, these cats hold the purse strings because as FHA lenders, they determine who gets a loan and what those terms will be!

*Exemption was extended through 12-31-11. However, the investor decision is that this does not pertain to individuals who have purchased and are reselling a home within 90 days. This DOES include HUD REO's, Sales by Federal Agencies or federally chartered institutions and GSE's and approved non-profits.

*There are still overlays to the above approved purchases which usually means that these banks/investors will not purchase a property that has increased in value more than 20% or acquired within the last 90 days.

*In addition, if a property is being turned over between 91 and 180 days and the sales price is
100% or more over the price paid by the seller, a 2nd appraisal is required but at no additional charge to the borrower.

This all says to me, the layman, that once again, what is good for the government is not for us to use. Saving all the good stuff for themselves and leaving taxpayers to hold the bag! Sorry, but keep in mind, some of these distressed properties are still a great deal and deserve a once over!

Brooke

Monday, January 31, 2011

90 Day Flip Rule Takes a Vacation...

Recently the feds overturned the 90 day flip rule that requires sellers to "hold" onto a property for 90 days after the initial seller purchase regardless of whether they can sell the property in a shorter time period.

This move was pushed by the need to get the existing inventory of foreclosures reduced, therefore allowing potential investors to buy properties, do needed improvements and immediately put the property back on the market to sell. Over the past several years, this has not been possible, causing investors to hold back purchasing investment property because hanging onto the properties for 90+ days was just not financially reasonable.

Another consequence the 90 day rule was the impact of contractors losing work as a result of investors not needing projects on distressed properties. These jobs are part of the fuel for a healthy real estate economy.

There may be a glut of homes on the market but the majority need updates or minor repairs, something an investor can certainly handle with cash on hand. Unfortunately, the 90 day rule halted these small improvements in their tracks. Small projects can take less than a week and investors used to be able to get the home back on the market and sold quickly. Repairs and updates such as carpet, paint and minor cosmetics can help a property sell and keeps the buyers from having to come out of pocket with hard-to-get cash since down payment requirements are now larger and there are limitations on seller contributions. The ability for a seller to make these improvements on a recent purchase also helps to steady declining housing values.

All in all, the break will hopefully encourage investment, put contractors back on the job and remove the glut of foreclosures and distressed homes on the market.

Read the waiver from HUD
http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/currentwaiver.pdf

Want to get in on the action? Give me a call 336-817-3598 or shoot an email to me at brooke.cashion@allentate.com. There are some great opportunities out there and we look forward to assisting you in your real estate needs!

Brooke

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Twitter?

Was that an appropriate tweet? Huh? Why tweet? Why blog for that matter? Why use social media at all and if you do, how do you make it work for you? Will anyone read what you post? Recently Constant Contact, the provider of my e-newsletter came out with a nice brochure on the benefits and recommendations for various modes of social media. Here's what they have to say about Twitter, which is probably one of the more mysterious ones to me.

*Tweets are good for quick message and links to photos, articles and other short online content

*You can monitor other "dashboards" that allow you to monitor sites of interest and other social media feeds so that you don't have to keep track of thousands of friends, fans and followers.

*Experts recommend not tweeting more than 5-6 times per day

*Use a scheduling tool to send out tweets on holidays and weekends so that you can take a break from regular tweeting

*Using # tags (hashtags) in front of words that others might search for or reference

*Keep track of handles (people's twitter names with @ signs) you mention you or retweet your content. They can influence their networks.

*Use it to publicize "deals" or mass purchasing coupons like you find on Groupons or Buy Local.

Constant Contact recommends tools that you can use with Twitter such as NutShellMail, HootSuite, your blog, email newsletters and Facebook

Here at Brooke Cashion and Associates we are working to integrate these technologies so that you can access our information from your favorite and most convenient form of social media. Have suggestions on how we can better your experience? Post your comments here! Have a great day!

Brooke

Friday, January 21, 2011

Check Those Receipts! Those Mistakes Add Up!

A quick post today but important nonetheless...

Last Monday while on our way back from Raleigh, Jake, Maddie and I stopped by a couple of stores in order to allow Maddie to spend some of her Christmas cash on some items she had her eyes on.

First stop, a local sporting goods store where she was looking for a new water bottle to carry to school. As we cruised the endless supply of bottles, she finally laid hands on a great metal bottle that changed colors with varying temperatures (think Hypercolor). After waiting an inordinately long period of time in line, we finally reached the register. Maddie took out her "wad" of cash and began peeling off the 23 bills, all the while figuring in tax on the bottle that had a tag for $19.99. I was a proud mama! Keep in mind the line was still quite long and people were becoming impatient with waiting and Maddie was also feeling the pressure. The cashier informed us that $23.00 wasn't going to cut it and the total was $24 and some odd change...seemed a bit much on a $20 bottle but she whipped out two more ones, collected her change and moved on.

I gave her a thumbs up on the way out and reminded her that no matter how long the line is, count back your change and make sure you have the correct amount. Once in the car and back on I40, Maddie pipes up that she's been robbed. I am thinking that the purse of cash is now gone, but no, Maddie was charged two dollars more for her bottle than what was on the label attached. I informed her we would go back and make it right which was why it was important to take our time when at the register. Great learning lesson-right!

Fast forward to the early evening, when on the way home from Davie county, picking up the dog, we stopped at a grocery to buy plates for Maddie's chorus party the next day. Lesson learned mom or not! I bought the plates which were on sale for $2.77 with your rewards card (which I had and presented), when I hit the road I realized that I was charged $3 and some change for each pack.

Two times in one day! We'd been robbed! Seriously, just a reminder that it's easy to get caught up in tight time schedules and rushed errands, but in the course of one day our family lost at least two if not three dollars--easily a cup of coffee! In this day and time of computers, scanning and all sorts of other technology it is easy to think that because human error has been mitigated to a certain extent we can let down our guard on monitoring our charges! Not so! Now I know why my parents are so adamant about saving every receipt and still balancing their checkbook and credit card statements the old fashioned way--by paper! Maybe next time I'll learn my lesson!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Industry Update January 12, 2010

In addition to my personal real estate and social blog posts, I am going to start including industry updates from various, reliable sources for your enjoyment and convenience. Enjoy and please sign up to receive regular updates through your email and don't forget to share my blog with friends, family and co-workers! And as always, I love to hear your feedback and comments!

Real Estate

Home Buying and Selling Predictions for 2011
http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/tara-nicholle-nelson/top-homebuying-selling-predictions-2011


Insurance

Can you get insurance if you rent your home?
http://www.iii.org/articles/can-i-get-insurance-if-i-rent-my-home.html


Mortgage

Additional incentives for banks to approve short sales
http://www.inman.com/news/2011/01/10/short-sale-incentives-revamped-again

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bats In Your Belfry?

Occasionally in my field we will obtain an inspection report that shows evidence of some sort of "guest" living in the attic. Sometimes, it's a bird that has nested in the exterior overhang, a bat that has decided that just inside the ridge vent is the place to raise a family, or most often that not it's some sort of mouse-like creature that has taken up residence out of the elements. I have seen "extremes" such as squirrels that had chewed through, yes through, Sheetrock in the ceiling of a media room of a foreclosed home and have heard of raccoons having their young inside of the walls of a home.

Nothing unusual about our animal friends wanting to take up residence in a warm, safe environment, but when it's your home, it's difficult to be hospitable to additional visitors.

In the case of most small rodents, the dangers of having them present in your home can range from unsanitary conditions due to their "droppings" to the more damaging, such as actual deterioration of wood, Sheetrock, insulation and other personal items that you may be storing. If bats have nested, it can be more serious, as their guano or "poop" is toxic and must be removed by a professional. Not to mention bats are considered "protected" and elimination of the bat is not an option, but removal is. Once the bat is removed, it is critical to find the point of entry and seal it with wire or something similar to prevent further problems. As stated above, the larger animals typically do more damage, such as squirrels or raccoons, but the sheer annoyance of these critters as they move about in your walls and above your head is enough to drive anyone, "through the roof". Certainly, owners should be cautious when trying to deal with wild animals in their home, as rabies and other diseases can be transferred to humans if contact is made.

Now that I have you on edge about every little creak and scrape that you hear at night, keep in mind there are ways to prevent and/or remove your new found furry friends. Certainly, keeping an eye on overhanging tree branches, which provide a nice, convenient walkway for your pals is a place to start. Beyond that close up any entry points at vents, roof overhangs, etc. with wire, wood or a netting and keep gutters clean because sometimes small rodents like mice, squirrels or voles like to set up shop in these areas and can make quite a racket.

If the problem persists, call a pest control company that specializes in animal removal and prevention. This may cost a little bit out of your pocket but definitely less expensive than nights spent awake wondering if the little party animals are going to join you later for a nightcap.

Need names of folks who do remove animals or want to share a story about animal guests in a home?...Don't forget to share because I love your posts! You can also share with friends and family and keep in mind you can sign up to receive all new posts by subscribing to the blog at the top of the page~

Enjoy the snow and stay safe!

Brooke

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Is FSBO right for you?

ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING YOUR HOME


*MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS PRICED RIGHT- Pricing is the biggest mistake homeowners make when selling their homes. Over or under pricing can cost thousands of dollars, not only off the price but in months of paid mortgages, insurance, taxes, etc. Make sure that you know what homes LIKE yours in your area have SOLD for in the past year.


*CONSIDER YOUR FAMILY'S SAFETY- FSBO's are targets for folks who are criminally motivated to view your home with one of your family members. These folks have been known to take keys to make copies of, break-in when you are at work or school and harm family members who show the house. Agents are trained to pre-qualify buyers and use specific methods to reduce risks in your home, please do the same.


*SHOWING YOUR HOME- Serious buyers take very few days to look at homes, especially when a decision is needed as a result of relocation. Most buyers have been looking with their agent on websites and have identified homes they want to see when they come to town…how will they make an appointment to see yours? Make sure someone can show your home during the day, when most buyers are looking.


*ADVERTISING- Make sure your advertising includes numbers that you can be reached at and that they are visible on your sign (consider preprinted stickers).


*NEGOTIATING- Have a plan for negotiations, be prepared for a buyer to ask for closing cost assistance or other concessions. Be prepared to back up your reasoning for pricing your home as you have.


*ASSISTANCE- Be wary of companies that offer to help you market your home for sale by owner for reduced fees. Remember they are charging you up front for very limited services and little detail work. You have to pay them whether you sell or not! Agents do not charge you until you CLOSE and often times save you money by eliminating time on the market.


**These are just a few items to consider while selling your home, please contact us if you would like additional information on these topics or if we can be of service to you in any other way**


"When details matter, experience counts!"