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Who’s Who in the Home Buying Process

by Melissa Thompson


Buying a home is not something you do alone. There are a lot of players that participate in the process.  You will work together with several people who will use their professional expertise to guide you along the way to home ownership.  It might seem a little overwhelming, but once you understand the role each of these individual’s will play, you will realize the benefit of having them on your team.  Are you wondering who these people are?  Here is a “who’s who” list of the professionals you will meet along the path of your home buying journey:

  1. Mortgage Lender - Meeting with a mortgage lender is something you can and should do prior to even starting your home search.  Getting a pre-approval for a mortgage loan is a great way to make yourself stand out to sellers.  Your mortgage lender could be an independent lender, a credit union, or a bank.  Meet with several so you can choose the one that suits you best.  Once you choose, you will work with an individual Mortgage Banker who will be your guide through home loan process.  Your mortgage banker will help you determine how much you can afford to spend and assist you in filling out your loan application.
     
  2. Realtor - Navigating the home buying process will be much easier with an experienced Realtor on your side. A professional Realtor will not only help you find the perfect home, she will also be your advocate throughout the whole process; before, during and after you close on the home.  Take the time to interview several Realtors to find the one whom you feel comfortable with.
     
  3. Home Inspector - Trust me when I say that you don’t want to skip the home inspection. No matter the age of your future home, having it inspected can save you from buying a one that has issues that could cost you a lot of money in the long run.  A Home Inspector is trained to carefully check the home’s structure, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and roofing among other things in order to provide you with a detailed report on the condition of the home.  This report will have an impact on your decision to continue with the purchase of the home and may help you negotiate for repairs by the current owners before the sale is completed.
     
  4. Appraiser - The home appraiser plays a crucial role in the home buying process.  This is the person who will make sure that you are not overpaying for your new home. He or she will look at the condition of the home and make a comparison to similar home sales in the area to come up with the fair market value. Guidelines for Home Appraisals
     
  5. Title Searcher - A Title Searcher will review public records for your property to make sure there are no issues that will be problematic for the home sale.  The research things like overdue taxes, zoning restrictions or liens against the property that prevent the issue of a clean title on your new home. The title company facilitates the closing on the home and provides the documents involved.  Finally, they will make sure that the new home’s title records are appropriately filed.
     
  6. Insurance Agent - As a home owner, it is required that you have home owner’s insurance when you obtain a mortgage.   This insurance will financially protect you and your home should there be a disaster.  Be sure to do your research prior to submitting your mortgage application so that you can find the best insurance policy for your needs.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

101 Things To Do In Memphis #46: Germantown Holiday Parade

by Melissa Thompson

Lining the City streets, residents watch as decorated floats, horses, school groups, clubs and booming marching bands wave to neighbors as they slowly make their way along the parade route. Be sure to stay until the end to get a glimpse of Santa aboard a Germantown fire truck. 

In support of the U.S. Marine Reserves Toys-for-Tots organization, uniformed Marines will be a part of the parade in their big truck to collect new, unwrapped toys for children. Let's spread the holiday cheer by filling up their truck!

The parade begins at the corner of Kimbrough Road and Farmington Boulevard, proceeds west on Farmington Boulevard to Exeter Road and ends at Germantown Athletic Club

Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 2 PM – 5 PM CST
Rain date: December 10th

By and photo credit: www.facebook.com/events/730254050654914/

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Our-Video-Blog

How to Decorate for Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

by Melissa Thompson

The holiday season is here and if you have your house on the market, you might be packing up everything you own very soon.  The last thing you want to do is unpack all your Christmas decorations only to have to pack them back up again.  In addition, if you are showing your home to potential buyers, you are going to want to keep your holiday décor as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a scrooge though!  You can decorate beautifully without spending a lot of money and without having to unpack all your personal treasures.  Here are five inexpensive ways to decorate for the holidays;

  1. Homemade Garland - A lot of craft stores have great sales and coupons this time of year.  Grab some greenery and then head on over to a dollar store and pick up some pretty ornaments.  You can find DIY instructions for making a festive garland on YouTube.  DIY Dollar Tree Christmas Garland
     
  2. Real Tree - If you have been using an artificial tree and don’t want to unpack it, this is a good time to buy a real tree.  Some can be very expensive, but you can find a pretty tree for as little as $30 in some places.  Consider using a smaller tree and placing it on a table top instead of on the floor.  Decorate with old-fashioned strings of popcorn and cranberries.  And you might be surprised at the sparkly ornaments you can find at very little cost.
     
  3. Wrapped Gifts - Beautifully wrapped gifts can be used to create any aesthetic you desire.  For a more formal look, wrap gifts in shiny silvers and golds.  Want to go whimsical? Try wrapping paper in fun shades of red, green, pink and white. And if you’re going for a winter wonderland look, use blues and silvers.  The point is that you can use the gifts themselves to create gorgeous holiday décor.
     
  4. DIY Christmas Wreaths - All you need is a hot glue gun, some inexpensive ornaments, ribbon, and a coat hanger and you can make pretty wreaths. There are lots of other ways to make them to. Check some out here: 45 Christmas Wreaths For the Most Festive Display on the Block
     
  5. Poinsettias - You can find pretty poinsettias just about anywhere this time of year.  Care for them properly, and they will last the whole holiday season.  Display them in reds, pinks and whites to create a classy ambiance in your holiday home.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today.

Photo Credit: goodhousekeeping.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #45: Alchemy Memphis

by Melissa Thompson

The appropriately-named Alchemy offers the kind of dim, sexy atmosphere and sophisticated cocktails you might associate with Manhattan rather than our Midtown area.

Located right in the heart of the Cooper & Young historical district, Alchemy provides it's guests with a delightful new american style menu created and prepared by Chef Nick Scott and Chef de Cuisine Scott McQueen. Two chefs that have created some of the most appealing menus in the city time and time again. 

From behind the spacious bar, bartenders produce craft cocktails with ingredients that might be new to you, like The Alchemist (Eagle Rare, Antica, Aperol, and Peychaud bitters), and there're bourbon and scotch lists and a small plates menu. 

940 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104

(901) 726-4444

By: https://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/memphis/bar/alchemy#

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How to Preserve Precious Family Heirlooms

by Melissa Thompson

The holidays tend to bring out the sentimentality in all of us. Family heirlooms are treasures that evoke memories of the past and hold great sentimental value.  Keeping them safe and well preserved is important. There are many kinds of keepsakes. What may seem not very special to one person, might be the most cherished of items to another.  The following tips will help you preserve them and keep the memories alive:

Paper Documents

Don’t make the mistake of keeping precious papers in a box somewhere. Paper is vulnerable to crumbling and fading if it is exposed to too much light, heat or moisture.  You can keep documents safe by placing them in acid-free envelopes or folders.  When you want to look at them, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Avoid using lotion on your hands if you know you are going to be handling paper heirlooms.  Three ring binders are excellent for keeping documents organized and safe.  Keep them in temperature controlled parts of the house to avoid deterioration due to heat and moisture.

Books

Like paper documents, books need to be kept away from heat, bright light and anything highly acidic.  If you want to keep a book pristine, interleaf the pages with acid-free tissue paper.  If you keep favorite books on a shelf, make sure it is not exposed to too much sunlight.  They will fade over time, but keeping them out of harsh conditions will make them last longer.

Photographs

Many people have photographs stored in old-school albums where they are stuck on the pages by adhesive. Unfortunately, many of these old albums are not acid-free and will cause the photographs to deteriorate and fade over time. To preserve them, remove them from these albums and place them in PVC-free plastic sleeves, which can then be placed in binders.  If you are lucky enough to still have the negatives from old photos, keep them safe so that you can replace pictures if they are destroyed or lost. How to Preserve Family Archives

Textiles

When preserving textiles such as quilts, wedding dresses, baptismal gowns or antique linens, you want to make space for flat storage.  It’s vital that you keep them in an acid-free box and in an area free of pests.  If you get them cleaned and pressed, make sure starch isn’t used because bugs will attract bugs. Make sure your hands are clean and free of lotion when handling your cloth heirlooms.  Do your research and get professional advice on how to clean them before storing.

How to Handle Antique Textiles and Costumes

Regardless of what kind of treasure you are attempting to preserve, it is advisable that you never store them in the attic or basement. Extreme temperatures and humidity will harm stored artifacts.  Keep your boxes and binders of family heirlooms in a closet or on a shelf in your temperature controlled living space.  Make sure they are out of direct sunlight.  Not only will this keep them safer and preserve them longer, but it will also make it easier for you to get them out to look at when you want to take a trip down memory lane!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today.

Photo Credit: familytree.com

11/23 through 12/31

  • Holiday Wonders at the Garden runs on select nights through December 31st featuring three distinct areas, each with a different theme but all catering to families, couples and groups.
    • Snowy Nights: Snowy Nights is the outdoor, interactive, family oriented venue. It is a continuation of the popular Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard.
    • Trees Alight: Trees Alight is sure to become a community favorite and features the City of Memphis Christmas Tree as well as a spectacular nightly LED light show. It will be located in the Conifer Garden.
    • Under the Stars Outdoor Lounge: This is a cozy location filled with welcoming couches, fire tables and holiday spirits. The lounge will be located in the heart of Holiday Wonders at the Garden and will have easy access to Trees Alight and Snowy Nights. Concessions and adult beverages will be a step away.
    • Tickets go on sale 11/12.

By and photo credit: https://www.memphisbotanicgarden.com/Wonders

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Now is a Great Time to Buy a House! Here are 5 Reasons Why

by Melissa Thompson

Buying a home during the holiday season might sound like a crazy idea, but the truth is now is a great time to purchase a home!  Here are 5 reasons to purchase a home during the holidays:

  1. Less Real Estate Market Activity: With lots of family, school, and work activities happening during the holidays, fewer real estate transactions are taking place.  Because fewer people are looking for houses, there is less competition for buyers.  And with less competition, buyers have more leverage when negotiating purchases.  People selling homes during the holidays must often lower asking prices or make other concessions to sell.  So, if you buy this time of year, you might get a bargain!
     
  2. Highly Motivated Sellers:  If someone is selling their house at the end of the year, it’s because they need to.  Usually sellers avoid the end of the year due to shorter days and cold weather, so if they are selling this time of year they are likely under pressure and motivated to make a deal. Motivated Sellers
     
  3. Lower Interest Rates: Because of limited demand during the holiday season, there is greater competition among lenders so there is a general trend of lower rates. 
     
  4. Tax Perks: Buy a house before the end of the year and you can deduct any points you paid upon closing.  You can also deduct property taxes and mortgage interest.  Learn about the tax benefits of purchasing a home and find out if it is to your advantage to buy before year’s end. While your decision to buy a home shouldn’t be made solely for tax reasons, you certainly want to take advantage of the perks that exist! Tax Benefits of Buying a Home
     
  5. Faster Closings: Everybody involved in the home buying/selling process has incentive to complete transactions before the end of the year.  Lenders want to close their books; Realtors want to receive their commissions before the new year and sellers are anxious to move on.  Since everyone is so motivated, and there is less real estate activity, closings should happen quickly and efficiently.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today

Photo Credit: realtor.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #43: Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

by Melissa Thompson

11/22 through 12/28

  • Closed on Monday, November 26
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 6pm-9pm | Friday-Saturday: 6pm-10pm
  • Cost: $20 per car | $50 per van | $150 per bus
  • Special Theme Nights:
    • November 29: Tacky Sweater Night ($5 off)
    • December 3: Run Walk Bike ($5 per person); Starry Nights closed to cars
    • December 6: Decorate Your Car Night ($5 off)
    • December 6:  Member Night (Free Petting Zoo entry + free s’more kit.  Must show Member ID)
    • December 10: Walkin + Woofin ($5 per person; free for four-legged friends!): Starry Nights closed to cars
    • December 13: Scout Night ($5 off)

By and photo credit: http://www.shelbyfarmspark.org/starry-nights

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Happy Kids = Happy Holidays!

by Melissa Thompson

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, the holiday season is upon us and we all know what that means…holiday break for kids is coming. Holiday break.  It sounds like fun. It should be fun. You start the break with images of snuggling up to read stories, making hot cocoa and going for adventures outdoors.  But sometimes it can be challenging for parents to figure out how to fill the hours of free time kids have over the holiday break. Before you know it, you are in survival mode – just trying to get through the break with your sanity intact.  That is why it is a prudent idea to start the break with a plan in mind. It certainly can’t hurt to have a few activities planned to fall back on to keep your kids entertained and engaged. Now is the time to plan ahead.  Here are five budget friendly ideas to keep your kids busy during the holiday break.

1. Creative Coloring 

A box of crayons and some paper can keep toddlers occupied, but as children grow, they may need a few more creative ideas for how to use those crayons to stay busy. Here are some creative coloring options:

  • Coloring wrapping paper. Who doesn’t need more wrapping paper for the holidays? This is a twofold activity. You get your wrapping paper at a low price, and you keep your kids busy awhile. Just buy rolls of cheap, plain-colored wrapping paper. (The cheap kind is thin, so darker colors work best.) Roll it out a few feet at a time on a table or a hard floor, and let the kids go to town.
  • Upside down coloring. Turn coloring on its head – literally – with this easy activity. Just tape coloring sheets to the bottom of a table, and turn your child into a tiny Michelangelo. This is a great way to keep them busy and build upper arm strength.
  • Color the windows. Kids love being able to use crayons on surfaces that are usually off-limits. Crayola makes some crayons specifically for coloring on windows. Grab a pack of these, and let kids decorate the windows for the holidays.
  • Try complex coloring sheets. Older kids may think freestyle coloring is boring. Try printing off complicated geometric coloring sheets. Kids can create gorgeous designs, and the challenge keeps them engaged longer. (Note: They may need colored pencils and a good sharpener to be able to tackle these detailed designs.) 30 Interesting Geometric Coloring Pages

2. Indoor Games

Probably the worst part of the holiday season is that it might be too cold to play outside for very long. And you probably don’t have a gym like your kids’ school does, where they can release their pent-up energy. Luckily, with some creativity and basic supplies, you can create your own indoor gross motor games to burn off that extra energy.

  • Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are surprisingly easy to create, and you can customize them for kids of any age – even elementary-aged kids would love a superhero obstacle course. These can be heavy on the prep work, but one course could keep your kids busy the entire day. Worth it! Indoor Obstacle Course for Kids
  • Hopscotch. What better way to burn off energy than with hopscotch? Crafty parents can put together this adorable indoor hopscotch mat to use again and again! Here are some more ideas for indoor hopscotch: Indoor Hopscotch
  • Scavenger hunts. You may think scavenger hunts are just for outside play, but you’d be surprised. You can put together some fun indoor scavenger hunts. These are a great way to get kids to play independently or in teams while you get other stuff done. (Or just relax with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes!) You can come up with any number of scavenger hunts tailored to your kids’ ages and interests. Holiday Scavenger Hunt Ideas

3. Arts and Crafts 

Before the holiday break starts, plan some crafts for your kids to do during the break. Then, hit your local craft store sans kids, and pick up the supplies you need. Stick supplies for each craft into a gallon-sized bag, and write the name of the craft and any necessary instructions on it with a marker. This may seem over the top, but when your kids are in the throes of boredom two days into break, you’ll be glad you have an activity to pull out and run with. Here are some craft ideas to try:

4. Service Projects 

This is the time of year when many of us are trying to find ways to give back. Why not involve your kids in giving back this year? Some ideas include raking leaves or shoveling snow for older neighbors, baking cookies for local police officers or firefighters, or making up boxes of goodies for ill children through a program like The Jared Box Project. Another option is to make cozy fleece scarves for a local hospital or nursing home. Older kids can even plan, shop for and make a meal for ill or elderly neighbors, or the couple down the street with a new baby and no time to cook.

So, if your kids are bickering or complaining that they are bored, save the day with these fun, inexpensive activities and enjoy the holiday break!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: firstfridaykokomo.com

101 Things To Do In Memphis #42: Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo

by Melissa Thompson

     - Open select nights from November 16th through December 30th, 5:30pm to 9:30pm

     - Snow is back at this year’s SunTrust Zoo Lights! You’ll see snow in the Courtyard, the return of the 90-foot LED Ferris wheel, see Santa in his shop, go ice-skating, see live reindeer, enjoy thousands of LED holiday lights and more.

  • Things to know:
    Zoo Lights are open at 5:30pm on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
    Zoo Lights admission is $7/members, $9/nonmembers, children under 2 are free
    Ice skating is $6/person
    Ferris wheel is $5/persion
    Annual tree lighting ceremony is 11/18 (time TBA)
    Get tickets online

By and photo credit: https://www.memphiszoo.org/suntrust-zoo-lights

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 909