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Home Inspection 101

by Melissa Thompson

Thinking of Selling Your Home? The Waiting Is The Hardest Part.

by Melissa Thompson


Tom Petty famously penned the words, “the waiting is the hardest part” in his early 80’s hit song The Waiting, and his thought process can surprisingly also be applied to individuals considering selling their homes today. Traditional thinking would suggest it may be best to wait until the spring to sell when there is a flood of buyers in the market, but right now may in fact be an even better time to list your home.

We can see the overall economy is good: wages are rising, there are near record-low unemployment rates, and mortgage interest rates are still very low too. Over the past 10+ years the housing market has stabilized, so what (if anything) is the biggest challenge in the housing market today?

The answer is simple: it’s inventory.

According to the Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors,

“Total housing inventory at the end of September sat at 1.83 million, approximately equal to the amount of existing-homes available for sale in August, but a 2.7% decrease from 1.88 million one year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.0 months in August and down from the 4.4-month figure recorded in September 2018.”

What does this mean?

While homes are coming to the market, they aren’t coming fast enough! Right now, across the country there is less than 6 months of overall inventory of homes for sale, putting us in a seller’s market. The challenge is that there are not enough homes for sale to increase the supply needed for the number of people who want to buy, especially in the starter and middle-level markets.

To be in a balanced market (meaning we have enough inventory for the number of buyers in the market), we need to have 6 months of inventory available. Today we are nowhere near that number, and as a matter of fact, the last time we reached that height was August 2012 (as shown in the graph below):

Thinking of Selling Your Home? The Waiting Is The Hardest Part. | MyKCM

When we look at the inventory challenge today, we can see that now is a great time to sell your house. Truthfully, waiting may end up being the hardest part in the long run. This landscape is a great place for sellers who own homes in the starter and middle-level markets to take the opportunity to sell in a sellers’ market, before inventory catches up with demand. Serious buyers are actively in the market and ready to make a move at this time of year. When inventory is limited at the lower end, like it is today, selling before more homes are listed could mean a significant seller’s advantage to those who are ready to move up. The upper level of the market has much more inventory available to move into, so it’s a win across the board.

Bottom  Line

If you’re considering selling your home, don’t wait – now is the time to make your move! Take advantage of the high housing demand and the low inventory of homes for sale at the lower end of the market and use your purchasing power while mortgage rates are low to go after the move-up home of your dreams. Let’s get together to decide if now is the right time for you.

 

Contact Melissa Thompson at (901) 729-9526 and get your house on the market today!

 

By: KCM Crew

Selling Your Home in the Fall is Smart and Here’s Why

by Melissa Thompson


While summer is considered by many to be the hottest time for selling a house (both literally and figuratively), sometimes circumstances require you to sell during a different time of the year.  This fall might be exactly the right time to sell.  Homes are still in demand and there is a good chance you will find a buyer before the end of the year.   Here are some perks to selling in the fall:

  1. Buyers are serious about finding a house in the fall. They want to get settled into a new home before the holiday season begins.  The pressure is on for them to find their new home quickly and this puts you (the seller) in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations. 10 Tips to Help Sell a Home in Autumn
     
  2. There is less competition in the fall. Many sellers needed to close and move before school started, so fewer houses are for sale.  With less to choose from, buyers can’t afford to be quite as picky.
     
  3. You will be dealing with different types of buyers.  Families often move in the summer to accommodate school schedules.  Empty nesters and millennials are more likely to be looking in the fall. In addition, employers who need to relocate their workers often wait for fall to avoid the hot market during spring and summer.  A speedy closing is the goal of most of these buyers, which means you are more likely to get the best price possible for your house.
     
  4. Fall is pretty.  The weather is cooler; the leaves are changing colors and fall décor can make homes look and feel warm and cozy.  This is a great time of year to dress up your house to entice buyers. 33 Elevated Ways to Decorate Your Porch This Fall

So, if you have been thinking about putting your house on the market, don’t wait until spring. Contact Melissa Thompson at (901) 729-9526 and get your house on the market today!

Photo Credit: angieslist.com

Improvements that Won’t Increase the Value of Your Home

by Melissa Thompson


Preparing to sell your home can be a stressful process.  Often you will find yourself making improvements just for the sake of the sale.  While some of these enhancements may boost the look of your property and make it easier to sell your home, you will be surprised to discover that they do not increase the value of your home.  In fact, some improvements might actually detract from it.  Here is a list of home improvements that do not increase the value of your home:

  1. EXTENSIVE PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPING

Landscaping choices are a personal preference.If you are going to invest in elaborate landscaping, you should do it for your own enjoyment, because no matter how grand your yard is, it’s not going to bring you big bucks upon resale.

  1. NEW ROOF, GUTTERS, SPRINKLERS OR HVAC

There are certainly buyers in the market who will be looking for homes that have newer features, but they won’t pay more for them.Replacing things that are broken or past their life expectancy is considered home maintenance and not something buyers expect to pay for. Home Improvement vs Home Repairs and Maintenance

  1. SWIMMING POOL AND/OR PERSONAL SPA

While water-related improvements can provide a lot of fun and entertainment for your family, the cost of installing a pool or spa never finds its way back to you. In fact, some buyers will ask that you take the spa with you or won’t purchase a house with a swimming pool.Installing a pool or spa should only be done for your own pleasure.

  1. MAKING DATED IMPROVMENTS

If you think you might be selling your house, you need to be careful about making improvements that are not in style. For example, you might love white appliances in your kitchen, but because these are not currently trendy, potential buyers are not likely to feel the same way. 7 Home Decor Trends for 2020

  1. PAINTING YOUR HOUSE

Painting may be the single most cost-effective improvement you can make before selling your home, but it won’t get you any bang for your buck unless you do the painting yourself. Fresh paint on the exterior or interior of your home absolutely makes the home more saleable, but an appraiser will not give you a credit boost for it.

  1. SOLAR PANELS

The people selling you those solar panels will tell you that they will improve the value of your home and add to your bottom line profit, but it’s not true. You get zero approved value for solar panel installation.

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 today at 901-729-9526!

Tips for Selling a House Quickly

by Melissa Thompson


Nobody wants to be in a situation where a house must be sold quickly, but sometimes circumstances beyond our control occur and suddenly there is a mad rush to get a house on the market and sold pronto.  If you find yourself in that situation, don’t despair!  I am here to tell you that you CAN sell a house quickly and for the best possible price.  The following tips will help you get your house ready inexpensively, and before you know it you will receive an offer and be on the move!

  1. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL REALTOR: Seriously. You will be so glad you did. Find a Realtor with a track record of sales that lets you know that he/she can sell a house quickly.  One way to be sure you find the right Realtor is to check TESTIMONIALS. If a Realtor has a lot of happy clients, there is a good chance you will be happy too!  Now is not the time to hire someone because she’s the friend of a friend, or he went to the same college as you.  Do your research and find someone who will truly make this process as stress free as possible for you while successfully marketing and selling your home.
     
  2. RENT A STORAGE UNIT: You don’t have a lot of time to declutter your home, so you need to be smart about it.  Shoving extraneous items in your closets is not a solution because potential buyers walking through your home will be looking in said closets.  A better option is a storage unit that can house anything that you need to get out of the house while it is on the market.  The best rule of thumb is that if you don’t use something daily, store it. Keep in mind that if you rent a portable storage unit, you can have your things transported to your new home once you have moved. Portable Storage Units in Memphis TN
     
  3. USE A PROFESSIONAL STAGER AND PHOTOGRAPHER:  It’s always important that potential buyers get a stellar first impression of your home, but even more vital when you are in a hurry to sell.  Experienced home stagers are able to look at your house and see it from a buyer’s perspective.  They know how to emphasize the positive and down play the negative.  Equally important are your listing photos.  The more photos you have, the more likely your property will be viewed online.  If hiring a professional photographer is not in the budget, then do your homework and be sure to take the best photos possible. Top 33 Real Estate Photography Tips & Mistakes to Avoid
     
  4. TAKE THE “YOU” OUT OF YOUR HOME: Potential buyers want to look at a home and imagine it as their own. It’s hard to do that if they are surrounded by your family photos and personal treasures.  Let’s face it, your little one’s art project may be a “Mona Lisa” to you, but might just be distracting to a buyer.  Keep it simple with the art…you want them to see the house and how it could be their home.
     
  5. BRING ON THE LIGHT: A poorly lit home comes across drab and dreary.  Who wants that?  Brighten things up with both natural and artificial light. When your house is going to be shown, make sure window coverings are open and turn on lights in all part of the house.  Consider new paint if any of your rooms are dark colors.  A fresh coat of a light, neutral shade will not only make a room feel brighter, but bigger as well.
     
  6. MAKE SMALL HOME IMPROVEMENTS: Now is not the time to start a major renovation.  Focus on small improvements in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, where return on investment is most likely to occur.  Small, inexpensive touches such as a new shower curtain or new hand towels can give a room a boost. And if you have old, run down appliances, spending a little money to get shiny new ones will be well worthwhile!
     
  7. SPRUCE UP CURB APPEAL: First impressions matter…A LOT. When a potential buyer pulls up to your house, it is vital that they like what they see on the outside, or they might not ever make it inside. Make sure your yard is tidy by mowing and edging the lawn, trimming up shrubs and putting down new mulch.  Use a pressure washer to clean the exterior of your home along with your driveway and sidewalks.  Put a fresh coat of paint on your front door and create a welcoming aesthetic on your front porch with some pretty flowers. Remember…you can’t sell your house if people don’t see it.  A lovely exterior indicates an equally lovely interior.
     
  8. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE: Take part in promoting your home. Your Realtor will take care of listing it, but you can use your own social media to get the word out too! Don’t be shy. Send your listing to as many people as you can. You never know who might know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that is looking for a home where you live!

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 today at 901-729-9526!

A Homeowner’s Guide to Building Wealth Through Home Equity

by Melissa Thompson


When you purchase a home, you are not only choosing where to live, you are making a financial investment as well. Home equity is the percentage of your home value that you own and with each mortgage payment you make you are contributing to your own financial savings.  The goal is to build up as much equity as you can so that when you sell your home, you will make a nice profit!  Here are some tips for building home equity:

  • Take Out a 15-Year Mortgage Loan - It’s common for people to choose a 30-year mortgage because many believe a 15-year mortgage is out of their budget.  However, it can’t hurt to ask your mortgage lender to run the numbers to see if a 15-year mortgage is doable for you.  You might be surprised to discover that the shorter term is within reach.  Sticking to a budget that allows you to pay off your house in half the time will build equity faster and will certainly pay off in the long run! These 4 Easy Steps Will Teach You How to Budget (Finally)
     
  • Pay Down the Principal - Build equity faster by paying down your home loan quicker.  Even if you don’t have the ability to take out a 15-year mortgage, you can still make extra mortgage payments when you have the means to do so and the difference extra mortgage payments can make toward building equity are huge. If you make just one extra payment toward principal each year, you can potentially pay off your home loan seven or eight years ahead of schedule.  There are ways to do this without breaking your budget.  For example, you can use a tax refund or a work bonus.  Another way to do it is to simply add a small amount to your principal payment each month. What is Mortgage Principal?
     
  • Make a Larger Down Payment - Depending on your credit standing, you can qualify for a conventional mortgage loan with a down payment as low as 3%, and an FHA loan with a down payment as low as 3.5%.  While it’s tempting to buy a house with a low down payment so that you have more cash on hand, the pros of making a larger down payment may outweigh the cons. The larger the down payment, the faster you build equity.  The faster you build equity, the more profit you will make should you have to sell your home before paying it off.
     
  • Make Improvements on Your Home - Making home improvements is a good way to add value to your property.  It’s important to educate yourself about what home improvements give you the best ROI (return on investment).  For example, per Chris Terrill, CEO of HomeAdvisor, “a minor kitchen remodel is one of the best investments homeowners can make.”  “Projects including refinishing cabinets, updating the countertops and installing new appliances all provide high return without breaking the bank.”  Other home improvements that add value to your property include replacing garage doors, adding a bedroom, updating a bathroom and installing new windows. And don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal!  A professionally landscaped yard will not only help with a quick sale; it can also add up to 20% to your home’s value!

Owning a home is likely the largest financial investment you will make, and the more equity you acquire, the more options you will have.  You can utilize your equity as a nest egg for the future or it can be used as a cash down payment on your next home.  Use these tips to build equity faster so you can build up your savings an enjoy this wonderful perk of home ownership!

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 today at 901-729-9526!

Photo Credit: thewhitellawoffice.com

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Selling When There Are Pets in the Home

by Melissa Thompson


When selling your house, having pets presents some challenges.  Your fur babies are a beloved part of your family.  But it’s important to realize that not everyone feels comfortable around animals. So, it is vital that you consider the impact a pet may have on the bottom line when selling your home.

Some potential buyers may be perfectly fine with pets in the home, but for others, it might be a deal breaker. They might not ever walk through your front door if they know there are animals inside. Pets make some people very nervous, and others may have a fear of animals.  In addition, keep in mind that your pets are not their pets.  Even if they are pet owners and animal lovers, they don’t know your pets or what you allow them to do.

The best solution for home-sellers with pets is to relocate them while your house is on the market.  It may be upsetting for you to do this, but it is the best option.  At the very least, you should do your best to remove your pets from the house during open houses and when your home is being shown.  That means having a plan for those last-minute home showings. How to Prep Your House for a Last-Minute Home Showing

It’s also a good idea to remove all signs of your pet from the home when it is being shown. You want your home to look and feel as appealing as possible to homebuyers.  Cat litter boxes should be clean and kept out of sight.  If your carpets have pet stains, hire professionals to get rid of them. Replace them if necessary.  And be hyper aware of pet odors. Because you live with them, you likely don’t smell them. Have a neighbor come in and do a sniff test…and tell them to be honest if they smell pet odors.  If eau de doggy (or kitty) is present, try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution or Nature’s Miracle to get rid of it.  Put away food and water bowls when not in use and hide pet paraphernalia such as toys, kitty condos, leashes, animal beds etc.  Most importantly, vacuum religiously.  Every day. Sometimes twice a day. How to Get Rid of Pet Smells Fast

Remember that whatever steps you take to “de-pet” your home are temporary.  The sooner your house sells, the sooner you will be reunited with your precious pets and life with them will go back to normal.

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 today at 901-729-9526!

Photo Credit: earth911.com

Avoid These Deal-Breakers for Home Buyers

by Melissa Thompson


When trying to sell your house, you want to make the best possible impression on potential buyers.  While some buyers will say that they knew a house was right for them the minute they walked in the door, other buyers will tell you they knew immediately that a house was NOT right for them. Sometimes deal-breakers are personal, but often they apply to many and can damage your chances of a profitable sale (or any sale at all).  Avoid these deal-breakers to get the best deal when you sell:

  1. Pests - It seems obvious that people would be turned off by seeing bugs in a home, right?  But sometimes homeowners get used to having “bug problems” and don’t think about how they might negatively influence buyers.  Seeing one or two bugs, like maybe a fly or random little spider, might not be that big of a deal. But if a roach crawls out while people are looking at your house? Forget it.  They are out of there!  If you have any kind of infestation, you need to nip it in the bud before you start showing your house.  13 Best Pest Control Services in Memphis, TN
     
  2. Pets - Just because you love your pets and consider your home very “pet friendly” does not mean other people feel the same way.  There are a myriad of reasons why having pets can hurt your home sale. Sometimes it’s simply that animals make people nervous.  Taking your pets out of the home during showings can solve that problem.  But other things, such as visible food bowls, kitty litter boxes etc. can turn off people who don’t live with animals.  And any kind of pet odors can do a lot of damage as well.  It is a good idea to make sure your house is free of any pet paraphernalia and pet odors before opening it up to buyers.
     
  3. Small/Outdated Kitchens - Big, open kitchens are one of the most desirable features for homebuyers.  If you have a cramped, closed off kitchen, updating it before you put your home on the market will be well worth it.  Not only will you be able to sell it faster, you will get a better price for it and odds are you will likely recoup the money you spent sprucing it up and then some. Best Home Remodels to Get a Higher Sale Price
     
  4. Cheap Upgrades - Poor quality shows.  While you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a house that you are leaving, you also don’t want to hurt your chances of selling it by making cheap upgrades and repairs that are poorly executed.  Unless someone is looking for a “fixer upper”, they are going to lose interest quickly if they see a lot of shoddy upgrades.
     
  5. The Roof - A roof in bad condition will scare away potential buyers quickly.  The idea of buying a house and immediately having to foot the bill for a new roof is not appealing.  If your roof is old or in need of repair/replacement, take care of it before putting your house on the market.  Otherwise, expect to have to lower your asking price.  A new roof will not only improve resale value, it will also boost the curb appeal of your home, both of which will increase your chances of selling and getting the best price possible!

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 today at 901-729-9526!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Harmful Home Pricing Myths

by Melissa Thompson


When you are putting your home on the market to sell, your top priority is money.  As in, how much money can you get for your house?  And it should be.  Owning a home is likely the largest financial investment you will ever make and it is only natural that you want to get the most profit possible when you sell.  Setting the right asking price can mean the difference between selling quickly or having your home languish on the market for months.  The following myths can be harmful when trying to decide on the best price to ask for your house:

  • YOU’LL GET A BETTER OFFER IF YOU WAIT -  Receiving an offer right away when you list your house can give you a false sense of confidence that it is a hot commodity.  You may think that if this buyer was willing to make an offer so quickly, then surely many other people will be interested in your property as well.  But the truth is, you might not get another offer…at all, let alone for more money.  With no other offers guaranteed, it may be in your best interest to accept the first offer if it is a fair one. 7 Reasons to Accept the First Offer on Your House
     
  • YOU SHOULD LEAVE ROOM TO NEGOTIATE WHEN PRICING YOUR HOME -  You want top dollar for your home.  Of course you do!  But overpricing it, thinking that will leave room for you to accept a lower offer, may backfire on you.  Buyers might see the high price and not even bother looking at the property.  And if you keep dropping the price, buyers might wonder what is wrong with the place.  Price it fairly to begin with and you are more likely to achieve a successful, profitable sale.
     
  • YOUR HOME IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR REALTOR SAYS IT IS -  An experienced, professional Realtor will be able to tell you how much your home is worth based on the current market.  You should trust your Realtor.  While online estimates might tell you that your home is worth more (yay!) or less (boo!) than your Realtor states, they are likely not accurate.  Trust your Realtor over the internet. It’s as simple as that.
     
  • YOU CAN GET BUYERS TO PAY FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS YOU MADE IN ORDER TO SELL -  While some home improvements have a better return on investment (ROI) than others, you are not likely to get back all that you spend getting your house ready for the market.  It is wise to educate yourself about which home improvements will help you sell, which will get you a better ROI than others, and which might not be worth bothering. Six Best & Worst Home Improvements for Your Money
     
  • REDUCING THE ASKING PRICE IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS -  Nobody wants to drop the asking price of a home. But it’s important to remember that time is money.  And if time is passing and nobody is showing any interest in your home, you are still stuck paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance. This will be especially stressful if you have already purchased a new home. Lowering your price a little may be all it takes to generate interest and who knows? You might end up getting your original asking price anyway!

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 today at 901-729-9526!

Photo Credit: wsj.com

Increase Your Home Value with these Designer Tips

by Melissa Thompson


When designing and decorating your home, unless you plan on living there forever, it’s important to consider resale value.  Since your home is likely your largest asset, you want to be sure to get the highest return on your investment when you sell it.  So, design upgrades should not only appeal to your aesthetic desires, but should also have a positive impact on resale value.  Here are some tips for renovations that designers have found to be most beneficial in helping houses sell:

  1. Choose a design that makes a room feel bigger than it is.  If you select and place furniture to fit the scale of a room, it will go a long way in making the space feel larger than it actually is.  Even though buyers will know the square footage, the perception of rooms being larger will have a powerful impact. When rooms feel more spacious, buyers see more potential in the home.
     
  2. Stick with tradition.  If you are redesigning a room, don’t feel like you need to get rid of everything you have and purchase all new things. Keep some of the home’s traditional elements. You’re never going to please every potential buyer, but making too many changes can backfire. People like to see homes that stay true to their roots.
     
  3. If you don’t have a walk-in closet in your master bedroom, add one.  A roomy, functional walk-in closet will add value to any home. Buyers see it as a luxury and are always excited to see one.  It might feel like an expensive upgrade, but it is one that will pay off in the long run.
     
  4. Don’t neglect the kitchen.  Of all the rooms in your home, an upgraded kitchen is the one that will get you the best return on investment.  The kitchen is the heart of the home. Even if you don’t love cooking, and order out more than you cook, it’s still used for eating, drinking, and storage.  You don’t even have to do a lot to make your kitchen stand out.  Even small upgrades like new light fixtures and hardware will add value to your home.
     
  5. The more storage your home has, the better. Buyers seek homes that provide a lot of storage space.  You truly can’t have too much!  If your home is lacking in storage, adding some will increase its value.  You may have to be creative, but it will be worth it! 7 Sneaky Ways to Add More Storage All Over Your House
     
  6. Fresh paint makes a huge difference.  You don’t have to make huge changes to make your home more appealing.  A simple, fresh coat of paint can give your home a whole new look and feel.  It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to update your home.  When choosing colors, stick with neutrals because they are a safer choice when selling your home.
     
  7. Be environmentally friendly. Millennials purchasing homes are looking for energy efficient, environmentally friendly options. You will not only reap the benefits of living in a more energy efficient home, but you will impress potential buyers who want to do their part in protecting the environment. 4 Eco-Friendly Upgrades for Your Home
     
  8. Bathrooms get you a lot of bang for your buck.  Second only to kitchens in importance to retail value, an upgraded bathroom is sure to impress potential buyers.  Since they are small spaces, little changes like replacing an outdated vanity, changing light fixtures, and updating hardware can go a long way. 

Whether you plan to be in your home for a long time, or you’re thinking of selling soon, make smart choices with your home design upgrades for your own enjoyment and for a great return on your investment.

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: pinterest.com

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