Real Estate Information Archive


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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! 


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What You Need to Know About Home Owner Tax Changes

by Melissa Thompson

Tax Day is looming and while it’s a dreaded task for some, doing taxes is something we all must do.  One of the perks of being a homeowner is that it provides the benefit of some tax deductions.  All homeowners should be aware of these tax perks to take advantage of them and maximize their financial savings.  Recently, a government overhaul of U.S. tax laws included changes that affect homeowners.  While these changes will not be in place for the 2017 tax year, it is wise to be prepared for how they will affect your 2018 taxes.

  1. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage interest tax deduction is considered a way to make homeownership more affordable.Qualifying homeowners can reduce their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay.Currently, you may deduct the interest you pay on mortgage debt up to $1 million ($500,000 if married and filing separately) on your primary home and a second home.Beginning in 2018, for homes purchased December 15, 2017 and after, the numbers change to $750,000 ($375,000 if married and filing separately).There is an exception in the new tax law that allows for a refinanced mortgage loan to be given the old loan’s origination date. This means if the old loan originated prior to December 15, 2017, the old limit of $1 million would apply.

  1. Property Tax Deduction

The tax law through 2017 allowed homeowners to reduce their taxable income by the total amount of property taxes they paid.  Starting next year, the deduction will be limited to a total of $10,000 for the combination of the cost of property taxes, state and local income taxes or sales taxes.

  1. Home Equity Deduction

Up through your 2017 tax return, the tax law allowed for an added deduction for interest paid on home equity debt “for reasons other than to buy, build, or substantially improve your home.”  In other words, if you took out a home equity line of credit to do something like pay tuition, the interest you paid on that line of credit was tax-deductible.  Starting next year, this deduction will be eliminated.

  1. Tax Breaks for Owning a Second Home

As stated above, you may deduct interest on mortgage debt on both your primary home and a second home.  The new law changes this a bit for 2018.  It reduces the amount of eligible mortgage debt from $1 million to $750,000.

  1. Moving Expenses

While it was a complicated process that involved criteria such as distance and timing of a move, up through this year the tax law allowed you to deduct some moving expenses if you moved for a new job.  Starting in 2018, only active-duty members of the armed forces will be allowed to deduct moving expenses.

If you find the tax laws confusing, you are not alone. It is smart to ask a reputable accountant any questions you may have so that you can maximize the tax perks of being a homeowner!

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5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy

by Melissa Thompson

Some Highlights:

- “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”

- The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.

- Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

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

By: KCM Crew

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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.

Tips for Preventing Electrical Safety Hazards

by Melissa Thompson

Electricity is a beautiful thing.  It provides warmth in the winter and cools you off during hot summer months. It gives you light in the dark and makes chores like washing/drying clothes and doing dishes so much easier.  You take it for granted because you’ve always had it and you certainly can’t even imagine what life would be like without it.  Because it is such a normal part of your life, you probably don’t stop to think about how dangerous it can be.  It is important to be educated about possible electrical problems in your home so that you will know how to deal with them before they happen.

  1. Do you know how old your home is?  Often older homes don’t have the capacity for electricity that current technology uses.  If you have never had an electrical safety inspection by a professional, now is the time to do so.  If your home’s electrical wiring has not been updated to safely handle all the current that your family uses, it is crucial to have it done.
  2. Is your electrical panel hot to the touch?  It shouldn’t be.  Check the brand of your panel. Several brands are outdated or faulty and should be replaced.  A faulty electrical panel can lead to a fire.  That is not something anyone should risk.
  3. Outlets should not be hot either.  If you feel an electrical outlet and it is warm or hot, it means there could be a problem.  There are dangerous issues indicated by a warm/hot outlet. Whether it’s too much demand on the outlet, faulty or melting wiring, or other precarious situations, you don’t want to ignore it.
  4. Keep plugged in appliances away from water.  This seems obvious, right?  But sometimes limited space forces us to use electrical appliances near sinks or bathtubs.  Whether you are blow-drying your hair at your bathroom vanity or your kitchen only has one plug for your toaster and it’s right by the sink, be extra careful.  If a plugged-in appliance gets wet, don’t unplug it. Go to your electrical panel and unplug the power source for the outlet you’re using.  Then you can unplug it.
  5. Make sure you are using the correct wattage light bulbs.  Using a higher wattage than can safely be accommodated by a lamp or light fixture may overload its wiring, which is a fire hazard.  It’s ok to use a light bulb with wattage equal to or less than that called for on the lamp’s socket.  If you want brighter light, look for a lamp that uses a higher wattage bulb.
  6. Use an experienced, licensed electrician to handle your home’s electrical repairs and/or replacements.  Professional electricians are well-trained and have years of on-the-job experience before being granted a license.  They will know current codes and regulations and can safely navigate any problems they might come across.

It’s easy to prevent electrical hazards if you are informed and educated about what to be aware of.  So, don’t take electricity or your family’s safety for granted!

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Steps to Take Before Buying a Home - A Guide for First Time Homebuyers

by Melissa Thompson

Buying your first home is a huge endeavor and the decision to do so should not be made lightly.  In fact, it is likely to be the largest financial decision you will ever make.  So, be smart and be prepared. Do your research before you even start looking at houses and make sure you know what you are getting into.  Here are some important steps to take before buying your first home:

  1. Make sure being a homeowner is right for you.  While the idea of owning a home is exciting, there is a lot that goes into it.  If you’ve been paying rent, you might find that a mortgage payment is less than what you’ve been paying.  That is a positive thing for sure. But you need to consider that as the homeowner it will now be your responsibility to handle the maintenance and upkeep of your home.  If something breaks, you won’t have a landlord or management company to call to fix it.  You will have to fix it yourself or hire someone to do so…and pay for it.  Investing in a home can be financially rewarding if you work within an appropriate budget  that will allow you to meet all your needs.
  2. Consider financing.  How do you plan to pay for your new house?  This is an important step in determining how much you can afford to spend on a house.  Do your homework and avoid being in the middle of the home-buying process and discovering that you don’t have the funds you need to complete the purchase. Check out loan programs for firs time home-buyers and if you haven’t already, start setting aside cash for a down payment.  Order a free credit report and give yourself time to clean up your credit if need be. I highly recommend getting pre-approved for a loan before starting your home search. This lets sellers know that you are serious about buying and gives you a leg up over buyers who haven’t been pre-approved when making an offer.
  3. Figure out what you want.  Before you start looking at properties, create a list of what you want in a home.  Are you looking to live in the suburbs or would you prefer city living?  Is the school district you live in a top priority?  Are you looking for a spacious home with a big yard, or a cozy home with a small yard?  Think about your lifestyle and what kind of house goes along with it.  Once you have a good idea of what you want, narrowing down your search will be easier and you won’t waste your time looking at properties that don’t suit your needs.
  4. Enlist the aid of a buyer's agent.  The expert guidance of an experienced Realtor is invaluable.  A buyer’s agent represents you and has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests.  You will appreciate the knowledge that a local realtor will have about the area where you are looking.  Once provided with a list of your wants and needs, a Realtor can save you time by searching listings to find homes that meet your criteria. Your agent can advise you on neighborhoods, school districts and much, much more.  Take advantage of your Realtor’s expertise and your home-buying experience much less overwhelming and stressful.

If you are thinking about purchasing a house, contact Melissa Thompson at and let her help you get started on your journey to home-ownership!

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Happily Ever Homeowner

by Melissa Thompson

Married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics last year at 66% of all buyers, according to the most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable.

Many couples are deciding to use what would otherwise be their wedding fund as a down payment on their first home, as unmarried couples made up 8% of all first-time buyers last year. If you’re single, don’t fret; you can still buy your dream home! Single women made up 17% of first-time buyers in 2016, while single men accounted for 7% of buyers.

According to a survey by the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States at the start of the year was $25,961, which equates to a 10% down payment on a median priced home.

A recent article from the New York Times found that many singles are now asking their parents to allow them to use the money they’ve saved up for their wedding day to instead buy a home.

In the case of Carrie Graham, a Protestant minister from Austin, TX, her parents had saved a ‘five-figure sum’ for her wedding and were more than willing to give her that money as a down payment on her dream home. Graham told The New York Times,

“Buying the home wasn’t me saying, ‘I’m never going to get married’ or I am going to get married.’ My own home had way more than equity benefits. It was a real gift to have a home in an extremely desirable neighborhood in a city that I love. It’s brought me joy.”

Bottom Line

More and more first-time homebuyers are finding a way to purchase their dream homes, even if that means delaying their dream weddings.

Contact your local expert’s at The Melissa Thompson Team at 901-729-9526 or to find your dream home! 

BY: KCM Crew

Fall Curb Appeal

by Melissa Thompson

First impressions are crucial to successfully selling your home.  The first thing potential buyers notice when they drive past your house is your lawn and landscaping.  If you’re putting your house on the market this Fall, here are some tips for sprucing up your yard to make a fantastic first impression!

  • Rake, rake, rake.  Fall foliage is beautiful and can serve to make your property more attractive to buyers, but a lawn covered in leaves looks sloppy.  Keep up with raking so people notice the beautiful leaves ON the trees, not the dying leaves on the ground.
  • Plant Fall flowers.  An Autumn garden filled with vibrant color is a great way to add beauty to your yard.
  • Create a lush lawn by aerating so that water and nutrients can reach the roots.
  • When you do your last mow of the season, make sure to trim grass short.  Shorter grass helps prevent disease.  In addition, Fall leaves will blow across your lawn if they have nothing to cling to.
  • Trim ugly limbs.  There is nothing pretty about cracked, diseased or dead limbs. 
  • Get rid of annuals that have lost their luster.  Trim tired perennial foliage down to the ground.  This will prepare them for their next season and will tidy up your flower beds for a neater look.
  • Lay fresh mulch for cooler weather curb appeal.  Choose mulch that is aesthetically pleasing while also providing the benefits that keep your flower beds looking their best.

With summer winding down and Fall just around the corner, it’s a good time to start planning for creating beautiful curb appeal that will have potential buyers lining up to see your home!

Tips for How to Make Your Home Feel Secure

by Melissa Thompson

Let’s face it - it can be a scary world.  Your home should be a safe-haven for you and your family.  While safety can never be guaranteed, there are steps you can take to make your home feel secure.  Here are some tips for making your home as safe and secure as possible:

  • Light it up!  While there is no reason to fear darkness itself, it is true that when bad things happen to people, they often happen under the cover of darkness.  So, brightening up your surroundings can help discourage people from lurking around your home.  Install energy-efficient bulbs in your outdoor lights and keep them on when it’s dark, or have motion sensors so that lights come on when there is movement near or around your property.  At night, keep some lights on inside so your house doesn’t appear completely dark.
  • Close window coverings when it gets dark.  You may not be able to see what’s going on outside in the dark, but people outside can clearly see in your house if your windows are exposed.
  • Get to know your neighbors. You certainly won’t feel safe if you are surrounded by strangers!  Knowing your neighbors will provide you with the security of having someone to call on if you are feeling unsafe.
  • Keep emergency numbers handy.  Many people use mobile phones exclusively these days, so it’s a good idea to create contacts for emergency numbers so all you have to do is touch a screen or push a button to call for help.  If you haven’t gotten rid of your landline yet, you may want to consider keeping it for safety reasons.  With a landline call, a 911 operator will receive your locations immediately, whereas it might take a bit longer to pinpoint your location with a cell phone.
  • Eliminate hiding spots.  Make sure your shrubs are trimmed and well-spaced so that they don’t provide hiding spots for burglars.
  • Don’t hide a key outside.  I’ve locked myself out enough times to know that it is a good idea to have a spare key somewhere, but people looking to invade your home will find it no matter how well you think you have hidden it.  Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Make sure you have quality locks.  The lock is the weakest part on a door.  You will want a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame.  It’s important to have a duty strike plate that is made of solid metal or brass. 
  • Use signage to scare strangers away.  Whether or not you have a security system (or a big watch dog) you can place signs in your yard or by your doors that say you do.  You can also have a no soliciting sign to discourage salespeople (or someone pretending to be a sales person) from knocking on your door.
  • Invest in a security system.  There are many options for home security systems.  Do some research and choose the one that works best for your family.  Many security companies will come out and inspect your home to give you an estimate of what you will need and how much it will cost. Nobody wants an added household expense, but feeling of being safe in your home is priceless!

Home Maintenance - Projects You Should Start Now

by Melissa Thompson

Summer is winding down and the kids are back in school. Before you know it, crisp Fall weather will be here.   Don’t wait to start preparing your home for the colder seasons.  Take advantage of warm weather and longer days to get the jobs done now.  Here are five home projects you can do now to prepare for Fall and Winter:

  • Get your heating system serviced.  Now is the time to have a technician come out to inspect your heating system and make sure it is clean and in good repair.  You will be glad you did this when that first cold night arrives.  Try to find a heating/air conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs certified technicians.
  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.  Caulking is an inexpensive and simple way to save energy and improve comfort in your home. Be sure to seal any areas where water and air can slip into your home.  The prime places where this can happen are gaps between the foundation and siding, cutouts for electrical conduits and pipes and all around windows and door frames. Replace any damaged weather stripping at the base of doors and windows to make sure they are effectively sealed. 
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. Trust me, you are not going to want to go up on the roof in cold weather.  Take the time now to inspect it and make any repairs necessary.  It will serve you well to deal with roof issues now so that you’re not scrambling to get things fixed before the first big winter storm.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good working order.  There’s nothing better on that first, cold Fall day than curling up in front of a warm fire.  And there would be nothing worse than trying to light that fire and discover that something is not right.  Make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to go.
  • Seal your driveway.  Check it for cracks and use driveway filler to repair any damage. Then coat it with a commercial sealer.  Sealing your driveway will protect it from the elements of cold-weather and extend the life of the asphalt.

Getting these projects done before the weather changes and the days get shorter will allow you to enjoy all the fun that Fall brings with it rather than spending every weekend doing chores!

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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