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Holding an Open House - Worth it or Not?

by Melissa Thompson

Home owners and Realtors often debate whether having an open house is beneficial or not.  Some sellers will insist that having an open house is the best way to sell their home, while others will want nothing to do with having potential buyers traipse through their home.  Real estate professionals have different views on this topic as well.  Some swear by open houses and feel they are critical to sales, while others never hold them and some just have them occasionally.

So, the question remains…if you are selling your home, should you hold an open house?  Here is a list of pros and cons to help you make that decision:

Pros to holding an open house:

  • Attract buyers who may not know how to start the home buying process. Purchasing a home is a process that many people are not familiar with, especially first-time home buyers. People new to home buying will need a significant amount of guidance and advice.  A positive that may result from having an open house is the possibility of a buyer who doesn’t know where to start coming to see your home.  You may also get the attention of potential buyers who just happen to drive by and see the sign for the open house. 
  • Additional exposure.  One of the most important jobs of a  Realtor representing sellers, is making sure their clients’ home is getting ample exposure.  Open houses can give extra exposure through promotional advertising such as street signs, newspaper ads and internet ads.
  • Allows buyers to look at house without feeling pressured.   With the laid-back atmosphere of an open house, prospective buyers will feel more comfortable looking around with little to no pressure from the Realtor or seller.  An interested buyer might want time to analyze the home in detail without someone looking over their shoulder.  It also provides the buyer time to look at specific details of the home that will help them decide if it is the right house for them.

Cons to holding an open house:

  • Slim chance of a sale.  The truth is that a very small percentage of homes sell as a direct result of an open house.  Honestly, the person that benefits most is the Realtor.  Open houses provide the Realtor with potential clients.  Private showings of your home are much more likely to result in a buyer than open houses.
  • Unqualified buyers.  One of the first steps in the home buying process is obtaining a Mortgage Pre-Approval .  Getting a mortgage pre-approval is essential for knowing what you can afford when buying a home.  At an open house, you may find many people walking through your home who can’t afford it.  It is a waste of time for you and your realtor to have people looking at your home when they cannot afford to possibly purchase it.
  • Nosy neighbors and “Looky Loos”. Open houses often attract inquisitive neighbors who simply want to see your house and compare it to their own.  They also might just want to see how you have your home decorated.  “Looky loos” are people who go to open houses with no intention of buying a home.  They just like to look!

The pros and cons of having an open house should be carefully considered before deciding whether to have one. With today’s technology and social media, there are a lot of other ways for people to see your home, but with the right Realtor holding the open house, it can still be the best way to impress potential buyers.

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, contact Melissa Thompson and let her explain how an open house can be beneficial for you.  Call her today at (901) 729-9526 or (901) 756-8900.

Photo Credit:sehatcoy.com

Pool Safety for Summer Fun!

by Melissa Thompson

With summer fast approaching, it’s important to make sure your backyard pool is a safe place for family fun.  Tragically, over 200 children drown in backyard pools each year, so make pool safety a priority by following these guidelines;

- Secure your pool with Appropriate Barriers.  Surround your pool completely with a four feet high fence or barrier that has a self-closing and self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool or hot tub when it is not in use and remove any steps or ladders used for access.  Consider using a pool alarm that sounds if anyone enters the pool area.

- Always actively supervise children in and around the pool.  Stay within arm’s length of young children.  Make sure there is a designated person to watch the water when people are in the pool.  And never let anyone swim alone.  Young or inexperienced swimmers should use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.

- Ensure that everyone in the home knows how to swim well by enrolling them in swimming lessons.

- Keep your pool/hot tub water clean and clear.  Maintain Proper Chemical Levels, filtration and circulation.  Regularly test and adjust chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes and other, more serious diseases.

- Establish and enforce Swimming Pool Rules such as “no diving”, “stay away from drain covers”, “swim with a buddy” and “walk please.”

- Make sure that everyone in the home knows how to respond to aquatic emergencies by having appropriate safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR courses from The Red Cross.

Learn more about swimming pool safety by watching this Home Pool Safety video developed by The Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

If you are considering buying or selling a home this summer, call Melissa Thompson at 901-729-9526 and let her help you with all your real estate needs!

Photo Credit: cheatsheet.com

Selling this Summer? Tips for Success

by Melissa Thompson

Spring is flying by and soon summer will be upon us.  Summer is not the most popular time to sell a house for several reasons: people are going on vacation, kids are out of school, and activities keep you busy.  But sometimes the timing cannot be helped.  Life happens and circumstances may require that you move during the hottest season.  If that is the case, here are some tips for attracting buyers during the summer months:

  • CURB APPEAL

Make a great first impression with curb appeal.Mow your lawn twice a week. Grass grows faster this time of year and needs mowing more often.Try mowing diagonally every other time to add dimension to your lawn.Make sure bushes are trimmed and plant flowers.Keep your porch, sidewalk and driveway swept and create a warm and inviting entryway to your home.

  • DECORATE WITH SUMMER ACCENTS

Utilize calming colors such as blues and greens to decorate the interior of your home.If you have dark-colored accent pillows and throw rugs replace them with brighter summer hues. Keep it simple.You don’t have to spend a lot of money; something as basic as an inexpensive blanket draped over a chair can give a room a soothing vibe.

Top 21 Summer Colors and How to Use Them

  • BRING THE LIGHT INSIDE

If you have heavy drapes, remove them. They make a room look smaller.Pull blinds all the way up.Use tie backs to open lighter curtains.The only time you should leave blinds/curtains closed is if there is an undesirable element on the other side of the window such as your neighbor’s trash can…but even then, keep them slightly open to allow light into the room.

  • HAVE FLEXIBLE SHOWING HOURS

Showing your home while still living there is challenging, but the more flexible you are, the more people will look at your house.

  • SPARKLE AND SHINE

Metals give a “summery” feel.It doesn’t matter which ones; gold or silver, brass or pewter.Mix and match them using vases, picture frames, mirrors, utensils, goblets, hanging planters etc. How to Rock a Mixed Metal Decor Palette

  • OFFER SUMMER BEVERAGES AND SNACKS

Fill your kitchen sink with ice and have chilled drinks available for visitors.Have a few light snacks for them to enjoy.Have bowls filled with citrus fruits to brighten up your kitchen and give it a sunny feel.

  • CREATE GOOD SMELLS NATURALLY

There are a lot of ways to bring summer scents indoors. Pleasant, fresh aromas will make your home feel inviting and comfortable.

  • CONTROL THE INDOOR TEMPERATURE

If you are one to be stingy with the air conditioning, now is the time to stop. It will be worth the tiny increase in your electric bill to have your home be at a comfortable temperature for visitors.There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy, warm house when it is hot outside.

If you’re thinking about selling your house this summer, let the professionals at Your Key to Memphis help you get your house on the market.  Give Melissa Thompson a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Renovating Your Kitchen - Making It Timeless and Functional

by Melissa Thompson

Have you been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, but you’re not sure where to start?  Kitchens are important to resale value, so if you’re going to invest money in a remodel, you want to be sure that you end up with a kitchen that will stand the test of time.  So, instead of following fads that are currently popular, stick with classic features that will not only bring you joy, but will entice buyers should you ever sell your home.  Here are some tips for creating a kitchen that is timeless and functional:

 - Brighten up your kitchen using white as the dominant color. White is the most marketable color and never goes out of style. It is associated with happiness and new beginnings.  It makes small spaces look bigger.  And best of all, it’s easy on the budget due to its availability.

 - Install hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are popular among buyers of any age; both male and female.  Hardwood adds warmth and coziness to a home.  It’s great for open floor plans because it flows beautifully from one room to another. It’s durable and long-lasting. And if “going green” is important to you, hardwood is echo friendly.  It’s considered a “green” building material when it has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and comes from sustainably managed forests.

 - Choose cabinets that have clean lines, like Shaker Kitchen Cabinets.  The clean lines of these cabinets will be in style forever. Their beauty is in their simplicity.  They help limit the “busyness” of the kitchen, creating a soothing, peaceful vibe.  They also transition easily should the next homeowner want a change of style.  Whether you want a traditional or contemporary look, these cabinets will work for both.

 - Go with marble countertops; specifically, Carrara Marble.  Carrara marble has been used in homes for centuries.  It looks fantastic in a white kitchen, but also with other colors. It’s affordable and readily available and will last for generations.  You will find some critics who will tell you that it stains easily, but that can be avoided with proper sealing. If you want a truly timeless look, Carrara marble is the way to go.

 - Include smart storage.  If you currently store many of your kitchen supplies in other areas of the home due to lack of storage space, now is the time to change that!  Cabinets that are being made today feature a plethora of storage options including shelves and compartments that unfold, extend, slide and turn.  Have fun and be creative when designing kitchen storage.

You will love your new kitchen and future potential buyers will find it irresistible!

If you are considering selling your home, let Melissa Thompson and the Your Key to Memphis Team guide you through the process.  Give them a call at 901-756-8900 today!

Photo Credit: cnceptz.com

Selling a Home Due to Divorce

by Melissa Thompson

Moving is one of the top five most stressful life events. Divorce ranks in the top five as well.   Put those two together and you have a meltdown in the making.  If you and your spouse own a home together and you are divorcing, you are going to have to figure out what you’re going to do about the house.  This can be challenging under the most amicable of situations, and can be devastating when there is bitterness and fighting.

Since your home is likely the greatest asset that you share, selling it is often necessary when parting ways.  Sentimental value may entice one or the other of you to want to keep the home, but financial implications may keep you from doing so.  Understanding how divorce affects the sale of a home is crucial.  The emotional aspect of splitting up your family can sometimes impair your judgement, but making a poor decision regarding your home can have lasting ramifications, long after the divorce is finalized. 

Whether one spouse wants to buy out the other and keep the home or both want to sell and split the equity, selling a house while getting divorced is a rocky road that needs to be navigated intelligently.  When two people are willing to deal with each other in a peaceful, respectful way, it certainly makes the whole process easier. But often this is not the case in these situations.  Division of a home is not simple. 

When each spouse contributed to purchase the home - even if one paid more than the other - you are both going to want your fair share out of it.  Ideally, you will be able to work with an attorney or mediator to come to an agreement out of court, but if you can’t, a judge will decide for you.  This can be a very unpleasant experience for all parties involved.  If both your incomes were factored in the purchase of the house, chances are when you split that in half, neither of you can afford it on your own. If that is the case, the best solution is to sell the home and divide the assets.  There are also Tax Implications  that should be considered when you are trying to decide if you should sell before you divorce or after.

Should one of you decide to stay in the home, there are a couple of different ways to make that happen.  First, if you have the financial means to do so, you can take over the mortgage by refinancing.  This means you must qualify for the loan and be able to make the monthly payments on your own.  Your ex-spouse will be completely out of the picture.  Another way is to continue co-owning the property.  Perhaps you have children and want to keep them in their home. While this is the least disruptive option, it is precarious and requires a lot of trust.  It would have to be a very civil and friendly divorce for this to work because both parties will be responsible for the mortgage and upkeep of the house.  The bottom line is that if you plan to stay in the home, you better be sure you can afford it.  It would be prudent to work out a budget before you make the decision.

With all the financial and emotional issues that get wrapped up in the sale of a home during divorce, it’s crucial that you know what you want prior to meeting with your Realtor. It is best for you to meet with your attorneys for them to guide you through the process of deciding how to split the equity. Once you have that done, seek out an experienced Realtor like Melissa Thompson, who will gently guide you through the process with as little stress as possible.

Photo Credit: movingforwardthroughdivorce.com

Budget Friendly Curb Appeal

by Melissa Thompson

Looking to spruce up your curb appeal, but don’t want to spend a fortune?  There are lots of ways to improve the look of your home’s exterior without breaking the bank.  You might be surprised by how much difference small projects can make.

  • Paint the front door, trim or shutters.  With Exterior Paint costing about $30 a gallon, painting is an economical way to brighten up your house.  Choose a color that pops, yet compliments the overall color of the home.  Make sure to properly prep all surfaces before you paint so you’ll get great results that will last for years to come. 
     
  • Upgrade your mailbox. If your current mailbox is looking shabby and old, you can fix it up or replace it at minimal cost.  You can find new mailboxes for as little as $20.  When installing a new mailbox, make sure to follow guidelines set forth by the city you live in. 
     
  • Plant a tree.  This is a common and easy way to beautify your yard.  When choosing the tree, be sure to consider how big it will get to make sure it is a good fit for your space.
     
  • Replace exterior lighting.  This is an easy way to upgrade the style of your home.  Exterior light fixtures can be found anywhere from $20 and up.  You may also be able to find unique, Vintage Lighting at second hand stores and salvage shops.  Make sure that whatever you choose, they adequately illuminate your entryway and make it safer.
     
  • Install flower boxes.  If you want to add color to your exterior, but don’t to paint, this is the way to do it!  They can be installed on front porch railings or below the windows. Window boxes are relatively inexpensive or can be built and installed in no time.  Choose flowers and plants that are easy to maintain and that will keep away pesky insects so that you can enjoy spending time outdoors.

These small, simple improvements can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. Also, if you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, you will make a great first impression on potential buyers! Let Melissa Thompson and her team of professionals help you get your house listed and sold.  Call them today at 901-756-8900.

Photo Credit: lowes.com

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A New Housing Bubble Forming…Not Before 2024!

by Melissa Thompson

A recent report by CoreLogic revealed that U.S. home values appreciated by more than 37% over the last five years. Some are concerned that this is evidence we may be on the verge of another housing “boom & bust” like the one we experienced from 2006-2008.

Recently, several housing experts weighed in on the subject to alleviate these fears.

Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac Chief Economist

 “The evidence indicates there currently is no house price bubble in the U.S., despite the rapid increase of house prices over the last five years.”

Edward Golding, a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center

 “There is not likely to be a national bubble in the way that we saw the first decade of the century.”

Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics

 “There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”

Bill McBride, Calculated Risk

 “I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices

 “Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”

A recent article by Teo Nicolais, a real estate entrepreneur who teaches courses on real estate principles, markets, and finance at Harvard Extension School concluded that the next housing bubble may not occur until 2024.

The articleHow to Use Real Estate Trends to Predict the Next Housing Bubble, looks at previous peaks in real estate values going all the way back to 1818. Nicolais uses the research of several economists. The article details the four phases of a real estate cycle and what defines each phase.

Nicolais concluded his article by saying:

“Those who study the financial crisis of 2008 will (we hope) always be weary of the next major crash. If George, Harrison, and Foldvary are right, however, that won’t happen until after the next peak around 2024. 

Between now and then, aside from the occasional slow down and inevitable market hiccups, the real estate industry is likely to enjoy a long period of expansion.”

Bottom Line

The reason for the price appreciation we are seeing is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in values, not a bubble in prices.

Let’s the expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team help you with all your Real Estate needs. 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com. 

By: KCM Crew

YOUR HOMESEARCH STARTS HERE            FIND OUT WHAT YOUR HOME IS WORTH  

Surprising Fire Hazards and How to Avoid Them

by Melissa Thompson

It is estimated by The National Fire Protection Association that over 47,000 home fires reported to fire departments are caused by some kind of electrical failure as a trigger to ignition.  But there are some other unusual ways that fires can start that we should all be aware of.

Dishwashers

While you may be aware that overheating dryers or ovens can cause fires, you might think dishwashers are safe because they have water. And water puts out fires…right? Wrong!  Dishwasher fires can be caused by liquids coming into contact with the machine’s wires.  Serious damage can occur when fires are ignited in dishwashers.  According to a 25-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, any appliance that powers a motor, heating element, or both always has a higher risk for fire - and dishwashers are a common example.  He advises that they never be turned on when going to sleep or leaving the home.

Jars and other glass objects

Per survivalists, one of the best ways to start a fire is to use a piece of glass to refract sunlight onto dry wood.  Without proper care, that same scientific process can happen on your own kitchen table.  In 2015 a fire broke out in a southwest London home because of sun rays reflecting through an empty Nutella jar, the Associated Press reported.  While it may seem to be a freakish way for a fire to start, the fire brigade’s investigative unit confirmed that the glass jar was to blame.  The chances of this happening in your home are slim, but it is important to remember to never store flammable liquids like gasoline, cleaning fluids, paint thinners and even cooking oils in glass jars that you intend to leave out in the sunlight.  Metal cans for commercial-use flammable liquids and plastic containers for things such as cooking oils are safer options.

Rodents

Small rodents like squirrels and rats like to burrow into your attic insulation in cold weather and chew anything they can get their teeth on, including rubber covered electrical lines.  Unfortunately, if electrical wires become exposed dud to their protective insulation being compromised, there is a likelihood of igniting a flame.  The key to preventing this from happening is to keep the critters out to begin with.  Before winter season, make sure all vents are covered, holes are patched and cracks are sealed.

Laptops

If you have ever had your laptop computer in your, well, lap for an extended period of time, you know that they get hot.  Because of this, it is a bad idea to leave one sitting on a flammable surface such as bedding, furniture or carpet.  But the real culprit behind laptop fires is the lithium in the batteries.  A poorly made battery can overheat and burst into flames.  Last year the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were recalled because they were catching on fire and it was the lithium batteries that were the problem.  Any device powered by lithium ion batteries should be shut off when not in use and stored away from any flammable items.

If you are in the market to purchase a home,  make sure you don't skip the home inspection so that you will know about any potential problems, including fire hazards, prior to making a commitment to buy.  Melissa Thompson and her team of professionals are ready to help you find your perfect home. Give them a call at 901-756-8900 today!

Photo Credit: livelovesmall.com​

2 Ways to Get the Most Money from The Sale of Your Home

by Melissa Thompson

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?

Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive, but let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly under priced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.

Let’s get together and find out how much your house is worth!  901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com.

By: KCM Crew

YOUR HOME SEARCH STARTS HERE            FIND OUT WHAT YOUR HOME IS WORTH  

How to Love the Home You Have

by Melissa Thompson

When you’ve lived in a home for a while, it can start to lose the charm you first saw in it.  Day to day life can make it feel like a burden rather than a retreat.  Especially this time of year, when you’ve taken down the holiday decorations and the days are shorter and darker.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  February is the month of love and it’s a great time to remember what made you fall in love with your house to begin with.  Even if your current home is not your dream house, you can still create a place you will love.  Here is a list of ways to love the home you have:

- Declutter.  A messy, cluttered home can make you feel overwhelmed and embarrassed to have company.  Negative feelings about your home make it a place of stress instead of a place of peace and comfort.  Cleaning up the clutter can seem like a huge task, but once you’ve done it, you will be glad you did!

- Show the kitchen some love.  Whether you love to cook or not, chances are you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  So, it makes sense to have a kitchen you enjoy.  Simple things like keeping the sink, drainer and counters clear will go a long way into creating a space you will feel good about.  Place some fresh flowers on your counter or eat-in kitchen table. Find a spot for a speaker so you can listen to music while cooking.  Make the time spent in the kitchen a joy and not a chore.

- Make your bedroom a retreat.  Your bedroom should provide you with peace, quiet and comfort.  When decorating, you might focus on the rooms that guests will see.  But don’t neglect your bedroom.  It is your sanctuary.  Your place to escape to when you want time alone.  Choose colors that give your bedroom a relaxing vibe. Splurge on luxurious bed linens. And don’t be frugal when purchasing a mattress and pillows. Sleep is so important to your overall health and having the right mattress and pillows greatly effects the quality of your sleep.

- Display favorite family memories. Like many people, you probably have hundreds, if not thousands of photos on your electronic devices.  Take some time to go through them and find photos of your favorite family memories to print and frame for display.  Need some ideas?  Check out Pinterest for lots of unique ways to display photos in your home.

- Design a room that works for you.  Do you have a room that doesn’t get used much (if at all).  For example, a formal living room that nobody in the family uses.  Perhaps it’s time to make use of that room in a way that works best for you and your family.  Don’t get tied down to the fact that is a “formal living room”.  It can be anything you want it to be. Do you love to read?  Create a cozy library with a comfy chair and book shelves.  Do you need home office space?  Then create a home office that makes you look forward to “going to work” each day.

Even if you are not currently living in your dream house, you can make small changes that will help you love the home you’re in! 

YOUR HOME SEARCH STARTS HERE            FIND OUT WHAT YOUR HOME IS WORTH  

Photo Credit: chicagonow.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 121