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Keeping Little Ones Safe at Home

by Melissa Thompson

The statistics for household childhood injuries are staggering.  Over 3.4 million children experience some kind of accidental injury in the home each year.  While there is no way to guarantee child safety at home, there are certainly many things you can do to help prevent accidents and injuries.  Here are some tips for childproofing your home:

 - Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries.  Keep dangerous items such as medicines, household cleaners, lighters, knives etc. locked up. Even things with “child resistant” packaging should be kept in areas that children cannot access.  Child resistant does not mean child proof.

 - Safety gates can be used to prevent falls down stairs and to keep children out of areas with possible dangers.  When installing a gate at the top of stairs, make sure that it is bolted to the wall.  Make sure you purchase gates that meet safety standards.

 - To avoid burns, install anti-scald devices on your showers and faucet heads. 

 - Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home.  It’s important to check them frequently to be sure they are working properly.  Change the batteries at least once a year.  Many people change the batteries twice a year when the time changes in the fall and spring.  Carbon monoxide alarms should be used in your home as well.

 - Corner and edge bumpers on tables and fireplace hearths will help prevent injuries if a child falls against them.

 - Children are very curious and it would be no surprise to find them trying to stick things into plug outlets.  Prevent electrical shock by placing outlet covers in outlets that you use. Make sure they fit snugly and are not easy for a child to remove. They should also be large enough that they won’t be a choking hazard should a child get one out.  If there is an outlet that you know you won’t be using, covert it with an outlet plate. 

 - Make sure that your window coverings are safe for your children.  Cordless window coverings are best, but you can also follow these tips for safety if you have window coverings with cords.

 - Large pieces of furniture and appliances can tip over and crush a child.  Make them secure by anchoring them to the floor and/or attaching them to the wall.

 - If you have a pool or spa, it is vital that you have it surrounded by a fence that is at least 4 feet tall and includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. Doors that lead out to the pool or spa should have alarms on them to indicate if someone has opened them.  A pool alarm adds another layer of protection. 

Again, while childproofing your home will not guarantee safety, it will go a long way toward protecting your children from injuries or worse.  The peace of mind you will have knowing you have done everything you can to protect your children will be well worth the effort and time put into making sure your home is as safe as possible.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Dont-Let-the-Holidays-Stress-You-Out

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Maximizing-Small-Spaces

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Preventing-Electrical-Safety-Hazards

Selling Your House at Christmas

by Melissa Thompson

The idea of putting your home on the market during the holiday season may seem overwhelming at first, but it turns out there are several good reasons to do so. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to get your house sold before the end of the year!

 - If people are looking for a home during the holiday season, chances are they are serious buyers.

 - Serious buyers have fewer properties to look at during this time of year, which means less competition and more money for you!

 - Since the number of listings will increase dramatically in January, that means more competition and less money for you.

 - Who doesn’t love a home delightfully decorated for the holidays?  Homes show better when festively dressed up!

 - Buyers may have more time to look at houses during their holiday breaks.

 - Some people want to buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

 - If you sell now, it may provide an opportunity for you to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money. This will allow you to sell high and buy low.

Staging Your House for the Holidays     

If you would like to talk more about selling your home, give me a call at 901-756-8900 or visit my website to discover your new home!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/New-Beginnings-Starting-Traditions-in-Your-New-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Dont-Let-the-Holidays-Stress-You-Out

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Packing-101-Getting-Ready-for-a-Move

Housing and the Senate Tax Plan: What Now?

by Melissa Thompson

Members of the real estate industry are responding to the passage of the Senate tax plan, which chiefly includes a 20 percent corporate tax rate—down from 35 percent—and reduced rates for families and individuals over the next seven years. The development follows the House passage of its own plan in November.

Both bills challenge homeownership, industry members say. The bills extend the capital gains exclusion eligibility requirement that home sellers reside in the home from two of the last five years to five of the last eight. (The House plan, however, includes an income phaseout provision.) Both also raise the standard deduction, which has the potential to render the mortgage interest deduction (MID) useless.

“If eligibility rules for excluding the sale of a home from capital gains taxes are changed from requiring living in your home for two of the past five years to five of the past eight, selling the median U.S. home after four years of ownership would mean $2,363 in taxes, from $0 currently,” according to Skylar Olsen, senior economist at Zillow. An analysis recently released by Zillow reveals homeowners in high-priced markets would bear the brunt of costs from the lengthened tenure.

The MID itself is addressed in both plans, as well. The House plan caps the MID for new loans at $500,000 (and only for primary residences), whereas the Senate plan retains the current cap of $1 million.

Additionally, both bills cap local and state property tax deductions at $10,000.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the industry’s largest organization, homeownership incentives are jeopardized in the Senate plan.

“The tax incentives to own a home are baked into the overall value of homes in every state and territory across the country,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall in a statement. “When those incentives are nullified in the way this bill provides, our estimates show that home values stand to fall by an average of more than 10 percent, and even greater in high-cost areas. REALTORS® support tax cuts when done in a fiscally responsible way; while there are some winners in this legislation, millions of middle-class homeowners would see very limited benefits, and many will even see a tax increase. In exchange for that, they’ll also see much or all of their home equity evaporate as $1.5 trillion is added to the national debt and piled onto the backs of their children and grandchildren. That’s a poor foot to put forward, but this isn’t the end of the road. REALTORS® will continue to advocate for homeownership and hope members of the House and Senate will listen to the concerns of America’s 75 million homeowners as the tax reform discussion continues.”

“It’s time for homeowners to pay attention,” concurred Danielle Hale, chief economist of realtor.com®, in a statement. “While the House and Senate still need to agree to a single version of the tax plan, they are already aligned on provisions that take away homeownership incentives for the majority of owners, which we expect to reduce home sales and prices in markets across the country.”

Housing in general—but notably in several states—will suffer, Hale said.

“Homeowners in California, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland will be hit hard by the combination of changes in the proposal, which will lead to lower prices and sales in these housing markets,” said Hale. “High housing costs in California made it the state with the third-highest average mortgage interest deduction, behind Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, the elimination of the state income tax deduction for individuals will affect taxpayers in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia, each of which saw 35 percent or more of tax payers take advantage of this provision. Lower-priced housing markets will also eventually be impacted, as these provisions are not indexed by inflation; thus, the few remaining tax benefits for homeownership will be eroded over time.”

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) expressed its own concerns about the Senate plan in a statement.

“We are disappointed that the Senate voted to pass a tax hike bill on California homeowners,” said C.A.R. President Steve White. “If the goal of this bill is to help middle-class Americans keep more of their hard-earned money, this proposal fails miserably. We thank California Senators Dianne Feinstein [D-Calif.] and Kamala Harris [D-Calif.] for opposing this legislation that attacks homeownership by significantly reducing incentives for people to buy homes. California already has a severe housing affordability crisis, and this bill will make it that much harder for Californians looking to attain the American Dream.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) countered that the Senate plan “represents a step in the right direction” in an NAHB Now update. The NAHB opposes the House plan in part because it applies the MID only to primary residences, and imposes an income phaseout on the capital gains exclusion.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), meanwhile, applauded the Senate for considering mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) in its deliberations.

“I want to personally thank Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell, [Senate Finance Committee] Chairman [Orrin] Hatch [R-Utah], Senator [Mike] Rounds [R-S.D.], [Senate Banking Committee] Chairman [Mike] Crapo [R-Idaho], and Senator [David] Perdue [R-Ga.] for working with us and commend them for their efforts on this important issue,” said MBA CEO and President David H. Stevens in a statement. “Because of the Rounds Amendment, this package will protect the ability of most Americans to obtain safe, decent shelter and affordable home mortgage credit without disruption. Had this language not been included, the change in tax accounting for MSRs would have had a devastating impact on the flow of capital that supports a robust and competitive real estate finance market, both single- and commercial/multifamily. We thank the Senate for its leadership on this issue.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the affordability crisis will escalate under the Senate plan. Diane Yentel, CEO and president of the NLIHC, issued the following statement:

“The Senate tax plan not only fails to make any new investments to address the nation’s growing scarcity of affordable rental homes for America’s poorest families, but it would lead to deep funding cuts to existing affordable housing programs, threatening to worsen the severity of an affordable housing crisis that impacts every state and community.”

The differences between the House and Senate plans remain to be settled. Lawmakers are aiming to present a reconciled plan to President Trump by Christmas.

By and photo credit: http://rismedia.com/2017/12/04/housing-senate-tax-plan-what-now/#close

Debunking Real Estate Myths

by Melissa Thompson

Whether you are buying or selling a home for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran of buying/selling real estate, chances are you think you have the knowledge needed to navigate the process based on what you have read or heard from friends and family. Unfortunately there are a plethora of myths circulating about buying and selling houses that have become prevalent, but just aren’t true.  The pitfall of believing everything you hear or read is that real estate myths can hurt you where it counts…in the wallet.  Here are eight common ones that can cause home buyers/sellers to make unnecessary mistakes:

  • Set your home price higher than what you expect to get. Setting your asking price too high may net you a lower price.  That’s because many shoppers and their real estate agents will not look at houses that are priced above market value. While it’s true that you can lower your price if you have not gotten offers in the first few weeks, “Buyers are highly suspicious of houses that have sat on the market for more than three weeks,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.
     
  • You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don’t use a real estate agent.

This is a false assumption. When a house is listed with an agent, the total sales commission is already built into the price.  If the buyer doesn’t use and agent, that just means the selling agent will get the entire commission.

  • You can save money selling your home yourself.

While it is possible to successfully sell your home on your own, there is a great deal of work that goes into it. You must know how to get the home listed online, market it to prospective buyers, negotiate the contract and deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases.  In addition, buyers will expect a significant discount, so what you might save on real estate commission may not be as much as you thought it would be.

  • The market will only go up.

Over the years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline due to the economy and then an upturn where values increase again.  But many people believe the market only goes up.  You need to be aware that prices can fall dramatically.

  • You should renovate your kitchen and bathroom before you sell.

If your kitchen and bathroom are in working order, an extensive remodel could be a mistake. Potential buyers might not like what you’ve done with the place, but they don’t want to change something that has just been renovated.  You are better off adjusting your price accordingly.

  • You’ll earn back what you spend on renovations.

Repairing things like your heating system, air conditioner or roof may help your home to sell faster, but you probably will not recoup what you spend. Per Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 cost-vs-value report, the only renovation that is likely to net you as much as you spent is adding fiberglass attic insulation. You will likely only get back 65.3% on a full kitchen renovation. And redoing your bathroom might get you 59.1%.

  • All the properties listed in the multiple listing service show up online.

Your agent must choose to let the listings show up online. Most do, but it’s a good idea to verify that yours will.

  • Open houses sell properties.

Homes rarely sell to buyers who have visited them during open houses.  Agents like to have open houses because it helps them to find additional potential customers.  If you and your agent opt not to have an open house, it probably won’t hurt the chances of selling.  On the other hand, having a broker’s open house for other agents might be worthwhile.

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Buying-a-Home-Can-Be-Scary-Unless-You-Know-the-Facts

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Should-I-Sell-or-Should-I-Rent

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Steps-to-Take-Before-Buying-a-Home-A-Guide-for-First-Time-Homebuyers

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Median Days on the Market Drops to 34!

by Melissa Thompson

Some Highlights:

- The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their Confidence Index.

- The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.

- Homes sold in less than 60 days in 44 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.

- Homes typically went under contract in 34 days in October!

Contact your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com for all your Real Estate needs!

By: KCM Crew

New Beginnings - Starting Traditions in Your New Home

by Melissa Thompson

If this is your first holiday in your new home, it is a perfect time to start some new traditions!  When you move, you don’t leave everything behind.  You bring your belongings and your memories and yes, your traditions.  But a fresh start in an unfamiliar house is just the inspiration you need to begin unique traditions that will make that house feel like your home.

Check out these fun ideas for creating new traditions:

  • Take and annual family photo. Choose a theme or a pose that you can recreate every year.  Label the photos with the date and create a photo book or framed collage with them.  It will be so much fun for your family to see how everyone changes through the years. Creative Family Photo Ideas
     
  • Incorporate a cultural tradition.  No matter what holiday you celebrate, you will find a cultural tradition to go with it.  Make it a family activity to research your heritage and make new discoveries about how your ancestors celebrated.  Multi-Cultural Holiday Celebrations
     
  • Gratitude. It’s not just for Thanksgiving. Sometimes we take all that we have for granted. A wonderful way to experience the holiday spirit is to express gratitude.  This can be a fun and meaningful activity for the whole family.  Go outdoors and find a branch to use to hold your “ornaments of gratitude”. Cut ornaments out of colorful paper and each day have family members write something they are grateful for on one. Then hang the ornaments on the “tree” to create a beautiful reminder of all that is right with your world!  Paper Ornament Crafts

If you are still in search of the perfect house to make your new home, contact Melissa Thompson for all your real estate needs! Happy Holidays!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Giving-Thanks-by-Giving-Back
http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Dont-Let-the-Holidays-Stress-You-Out
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Top 4 Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

by Melissa Thompson

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most “Return On Investment” (ROI).
     
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete remodel of a kitchen are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

Contact your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com for all your Real Estate needs!

By: KCM Crew 

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A Housing Bubble? Industry Experts Say NO!

by Melissa Thompson

With residential home prices continuing to appreciate at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.

Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.

Rick Sharga, Executive VP at Ten-X:

“We’re definitely not in a bubble.”

“We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but…while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we’re not talking about 2006 dollars.”

Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:

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

“Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”

Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:

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

“So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don't expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”

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

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

“…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”

Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:

“We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”

“Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”

Let’s get together to discuss your home buying and home selling needs. 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com

By: KCM Crew

Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out!

by Melissa Thompson

How to Have a Stress-less Holiday Season

The holiday season is just around the corner and chances are you are already stressing about preparing meals and decorating your home in addition to all the chores you do regularly.  One way to make things less overwhelming is to start early and take your time.  Consider following these tips for a stress-less holiday season:

  1. Don’t Strive for Perfection – Put down the Martha Stewart magazine and focus on what is important.  What is the point of having perfect decorations, meals and gifts if you are not enjoying yourself? Martha has a full staff to help her decorate, bake and shop.  Stop killing yourself trying to create an image of a perfect holiday and let yourself EXPERIENCE the season. Pick and choose what you want to do.  Baking with your kids, enjoying fall foliage on an afternoon walk, decorating the tree…whatever makes you happy.  You don’t enjoy entertaining guests? Then don’t do it. Keep it simple and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Holiday Decorations

  1. Shop Online – Avoid traffic, parking garages and crowded malls by doing your shopping online.  If a trip to the mall during the holiday season is something you look forward to, then by all means, go for it! But if fighting the crowds is not your thing, then put on some comfy pjs, fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and shop until you drop…only you won’t actually drop because you won’t be so tired!  Shopping online will also save you a lot of time which you can use for RELAXING. Check out this site for unique gifts: World Market
     
  2. Delegate Responsibilities – Who said you must do it all yourself?  If you have older children, have them set the table and/or decorate the tree. If you have guests coming over, make it a pot luck…you provide the main course and have them bring side dishes and desserts. Have your spouse pick up what you need from the grocery store on the way home from work. With everyone chipping in, chores and events won’t feel so overwhelming.
     
  3. Find Ways to Save Time – Here are some ideas for saving time during the holiday season:
  • Don't be afraid to say NO. Stop wasting time on activities you don’t want to do.
  • Purchase pre-printed holiday cards and envelopes.
  • Keep your decorations simple.
  • Make a list of what you need at the store so that you can complete your shopping in one trip.
  • Better yet…order your groceries online and pick them up or have them delivered!
  1. Be Compassionate – The joy that comes from doing something kind for others may be all you need to relieve the stress that accompanies the holiday season. 

Take care of yourself and stress LESS!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/12-Days-of-Tips-for-Buying-or-Selling-a-Home-During-the-Holiday-Season

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-How-to-Make-Your-Home-Feel-Secure

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Preventing-Electrical-Safety-Hazards

The Difference an Hour Makes in Real Estate

by Melissa Thompson

Every Hour in the US Housing Market: 

  • 624 Homes Sell
  • 347 Homes Regain Positive Equity
  • Median Home Values Go Up $1.13

Contact your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526 or Melissa@YourKeyTomemphis.com for all your home buying and home selling needs!

By: KCM Crew

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 99

Contact Information

Photo of Melissa Thompson Real Estate
Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620