Flashback to 2 years ago, I sat in Sandy Ornelas class at T.R.E.E.S real estate school in Chattanooga. Amidst the yawn factor of real estate law, real estate ethics which was more stimulating, real estate math, and a variety of other education we received -- I remember one of the key statements she made that caught my oft wandering attention.
"As a realtor, you change the physical world. Sell a piece of land. People
build a home on it. The physical tangible world around us all is forever changed"
That thought really struck me at the time. But primarily working in residential real estate, I can't say as I have really felt as if what I did made a huge difference. You do get to feel something different even as a residential agent when you've sold a home. When you drive by, you're like, "Oh yeah, I sold that home to Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I know what that home looks like inside. I know how much it's worth. I wonder how they are doing these days?" And sometimes you get to stop by and chat with a former client...and catch up a bit on life.
Anyway, we sold this our 2nd piece of land 5-6 months back. It had sat on the market quite a long time and being a triangular lot next to a major road, we wondered what kind of house would be built there once it did sell. Someone finally did notice the gorgeous view of White Oak Mountain here in Chattanooga (As if these were really mountains!?) Having passed it many times, we have noticed with delight a behemoth of a home being built there...and felt pleased at how that will likewise raise values for the seller who still lives nearby. And for the first time I felt that feeling that Sandy Ornelas had described, "Yeah. Wow. I had a part in changing the physical tangible world." As I drive by it quite often, I am reminded of that fact. And that feeling feels pretty darn awesome!
In perusing a variety of websites related to increasing a home's value, the following summarize best what a person might do to add value to their home:
1. Remodel the Kitchen
add a rolling island, backsplash, or stainless steel appliances
2. Remodel the bathrooms
caulk the tub, make bathroom more spa-like perhaps increase size
stone tiling, low flow toilets
3. Curb Appeal / Outdoor Space
trim, mow, sealant on flagstones to give wet look, ensure deck is in good condition
4. Paint Walls & Exterior
Use neutral colors
5. Clean House / De-Clutter
6. Increase Heated Living Space
natural lighting bright and airy regular maintenance of HVAC, faucets, etc...
put in a new HVAC unit attic to bedroom conversion attic insulation
basement remodel replacement of windows family or sun room addition
hardwood floors give it a staged look redo one room at a time
make 2 lists decor vs upgrades and then work on both paint front door
use quartz, granite, corian, or marble for countertops in kitchen & bathrooms
go green with solar powered water heater Remove question marks
think simple and stress free build to last new roof tech smart
mother-in-law / teen suites, flexible rooms, and laundry rooms are popular
sprinkler system update plumbing remove popcorn ceilings & wood paneling
Links to Related Websites
Things to keep in mind to help your realtor help you:
1. If a person is serious about buying a home, it helps be pre-qualified or pre-approved. That way when the home you want comes along, you are ready to roll financially.
2. Since it is very rare to find the perfect home - settling for something with 85% of what you are looking for can be a good idea - particularly in a seller's market with limited inventory.
3. Don't be afraid to search for homes on your own & then contact your realtor. You know best what you are looking for. And don't be afraid to tell in detail what you looking for. Get very specific about your 'must haves' vs things that would merely be nice. Both you & your realtor ideally should search for your dream home together. It's a meeting of the minds.
4. Your realtor doesn't know everything about houses. Every home is different. Your realtor is more like the glue & go-finder for the answers you have and will help to connect you to reputable home inspectors, lenders, and various home experts as the need arises.
5. Most realtors out there work hard, drive, work with documents, meet people, and undergo extensive continuing education. Most are not crooked or out to make a quick buck, but rather are held to high standards and have the desire to help get you from where you are to where you want to be. The best of us want to help you get into your most realistically ideal home and limit post purchase dissonance.
6. A good realtor will be eager to correct their mistakes when they make them. And due to the heavy paperwork, scheduling, etc...mistakes are inevitable. It's why realtors carry errors and omissions insurance.
7. The advantages of selling your home through a realtor are that they instantly put your home in front of the eyes of all other realtors & their buyers in your local area. Realtors also help to bring qualified buyers to look at your home. But your home will sell itself or not when the buyers come based on a variety of factors such as price, location, & condition.
The advantage to the buyer is a good realtor can help to clue you in to 'bad apple' homes, point out defects or praise qualities that an amateur buyer might not be looking for, and they generally have more first hand knowledge of what's available in a given market area where buyers are searching for homes...and for what price. But a realtor cannot deliver what doesn't exist.
8. When selling a home you market it not only to the buyers who are searching for homes, but also to their realtors. And furthermore, the home must also generally meet the appraisal price to successfully sell for what a seller hopes to obtain for it.
9. When a seller is considering pricing a home, they should not be thinking about how much they have into the home, or the money they would like to get out of a home necessarily. We might like to get a $1,000,000 from a $10,000 shack. That doesn't mean someone will be willing to pay that amount for it. It's more realistic to think about what comparable homes are selling for and price accordingly. Your realtor can do comparative market analysis to help.
10. When thinking about homes here are some typically more attractive features:
Most of these things can be changed and some cannot.
** a metal roof or architectural shingles
** granite or corian counter-tops
** hardwood floors, carpet, tile, etc...
** a level or gradually sloping lot or a lot with brow scenic or mountain view
** waterfront property, privacy by way of trees
** u-shaped driveways
** 2+ car garages attached
** 3+ bedrooms (especially with a bonus room)
** Master bedroom on the main floor
** a split floor plan,
** separate dining room
** fruit trees, fencing for pets or horses, and extra acreage
11. There are a lot of good people out there to help protect you from buying a bad home. Especially realtors, home inspectors, appraisers, termite inspectors, and many others will help. Additionally it is nearly always wise to get a home warranty to..."Cover Your Assets" both for the seller to the offer (makes the sale more attractive) or for a buyer to purchase.
Anyway the list below gives a few things to watch out for:
12. Stay happy while house hunting! It's one of the hottest games around. And it's fun!
A lot of us have been looking forward to the day when we can drive from I-75 to Collegedale without having to trail behind a long line of traffic. It is particularly frustrating when people get off work. Seems like all of Collegedale converges on Apison Pike.
It's good to see the progress. Phase 1 from I-75 to Little Debbie is getting close to completion. The next section will go through Collegedale to Suntrust Bank. The roadwork is supposed to be finished, perhaps in the Spring of 2017.
The next phase is the one we are really waiting for. No more long waits for the multitude of trains that cross Apison Pike at the most inconvenient times. Below is a map that give a snap shot of how Apison Pike will eliminate the train issue and connect with Tallant Road.
If the market here in Ooltewah/Collegedale keeps on like it is, we won't have enough inventory and sellers will continue to enjoy quicker sales than normal. Ooltewah & Collegedale are the hottest markets in the Chattanooga area. We have been experiencing that for several months.
For instance, we didn't even have time to put one of our listings in the local Multi-listing service. As we put up our sign, someone came by and offered more than the listing price. The home sold in one day. That was 5707 Sunburst Court.
The next listing was at 3430 Lead Mine Valley Road. It was out in the country and was sitting on a very nice one acre lot. It about 15 minutes from Collegedale and was a beautiful 2 bedroom 2 bath home in pristine condition. We thought because it was in the country we might not have much activity, however, there were six showings and three offers within 4 days.
Another example was the home on Flagstone Drive at 7300. It was a pocket listing and we didn't even put it on the Chattanooga MLS. Our client wanted to stick with our service because she did not trust other companies. We thought this home might sit on the market for a long time. Nope, it sold within 10 days.
Then again, we have tried to help buyers purchase a home and the nice one we looked at had multiple offers. If you are a home owner and you have been thinking about selling sometime, now would be a great time. If you are a buyer, even though the market is hot, it's a great time to get in because with Amazon, VW, Southern Adventist University, & other companies in this area expanding, now is a good time to buy.
With the widening of Apison Pike and East Brainerd Road, it is likely that Ooltewah, Collegedale, Apison and McDonald will remain great places to locate for some time in the future.
Interested in going into real estate? Or think you might want to join a different company. Here's a short video showing explaining a little about Premier Property Group Inc which we have joined. If interested in becoming a realtor for Exit, please contact us, we'd love to help you get started.
Also, since joining the company and having sponsored another agent, what they explain in this video is actually real -- as in I have received 10% of the closing profits from the agent I sponsored for every closing consistently without that agent having to pay that 10% from their own pocket. And their aren't any desk fees either. Plus the beginning commission split starts at 70% to the agent. Not a bad deal!
A few weeks back Jody Millard Pest Control a division of Northwest Exterminating Company visited our office Premier Property Group Inc Scenic City in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were far and away the most entertaining lunch & learn we've had! Beyond simply providing lunch & telling us about the services their company provides -- they dressed us up in royal regalia & we learned a lot about the in's & out's of termite sex & how it affects us all & our homes. The pics below show the hilarity. But then, you always learn the most when you're having fun!
An overview? The termite queen can live from 25-50 years. Talk about fertile! She lays an egg approximately every 3 seconds. The king, well...his job is to...provide for the queen & her very extensive needs. He only lives for 2-3 years, but for a guy 'life is good' If a king dies he is simply replaced with one of the kings in waiting. And if the queen dies she releases pheromones so that younger new queens will take over the job. Neither the termite king or queen work, instead the colony they raise brings them their food. Most colonies have only one pair of reproductives, but some colonies have secondary & tertiary assistant queens & kings for egg laying. Subterranean colonies can contain between 60,000-1,000,000 individual termites.
The eggs the queen lays become larva which become nymphs (neither male nor female) which can turn into workers, soldiers, or reproductives called alates. Though usually eggs are produced sexually, the queen also has the ability to produce future termite queens asexually. Termites have the capability of molting both forwards or backwards to fill various roles. Their nuptial flights called swarming happen in springtime after the last winter freeze & when the temperature is in the low to mid 70's. One of the easiest ways to tell if a home is infested is the discovery of alate wings (see pic below) in window sills.
As high as 10% of homes in the American southeastern states suffer from termite infestations. While in natural places termites are beneficial, all that frolicking & munching on wood causes home damage to the tune of 5 billion dollars...more than earthquakes, flood, & fire combined.
According to the people from Jody Millard Pest Control the best way to get rid of the entire colony is to use Sentricon with Always Active made by Dow Chemical. Other reputable pest control companies also use this product It's made of cellulose & other ingredients termites love far more than wood. It basically is a slow working poison the workers termites ingest, take back & share with the unsuspecting king, queen, & entire colony = total termite annihilation! They also recommended the 1 year transferable re-treat & repair warranty as most ideal & said that a termite letter from their company currently costs $45.
Btw, Did you know? Termites are considered highly edible by some cultures. Bon Appetit! That said, being a vegetarian eating termites would be one of the last things on my mind. Anyway may your homes be blessed & termite free.
Last of all a pic of us right to left: Mark the King, Christi the Queen, my dad & I were nymphs, Katherine a soldier, & Paige & Jill were future alates. And the fellow way on the left was from Jody Millard Pest Control.