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Emily Herndon

Full Service Realtor

My Blog

3 Thing to Know About Negotiating a Closing/Move-in Timeline

6/24/2016
3 Things to Know About Negotiating a Closing/Move-in Timeline

1. Speed can tip the scales
Do you have your loan in hand and the flexibility to move out of your current home? Depending on the seller’s situation, this could be a tasty carrot in the negotiation process. Your agent may be able to feel out the seller’s urgency (or lack thereof) to sell and determine if they might accept a lower offer for a faster settlement.

2. Going long
Asking for a delayed settlement date, longer than 30 or 45 days, is another option, but generally less appealing to sellers. Each day is another opportunity for something to go wrong that could kill the deal. The buyer’s financial situation could change, or they might find a home they like better.

As a seller, if you are considering accepting a long closing date, an agent may suggest increasing the amount of earnest money stipulated in the contract. Also, you’ll want to consider adding the additional months’ mortgage you’ll be paying to the asking price.

3. Considering "rent backs"
Closing quickly and then renting the home back to the seller can make the schedule work for buyers or sellers who might not be able to pack up and move immediately. With this option, the buyer faces the greater risk. What if there’s a fire, a flood or a pack of crazy teenagers that run amuck during the rental period? If you consider the rent-back route as a buyer, work with your agent to develop a solid rental contract that spells out liability.

With years of negotiating experience and an in-depth knowledge of the current local market, a savvy Realtor can build a sales timeline that works to your benefit, both financially and logistically. Find an agent who can help here.

4 Home Features That May Not Be Worth the Work (or Expense)

5/4/2016
4 Home Features That May Not Be Worth the Work (or Expense)

As you compose your list of "must-haves" for your next home, make sure you're up for the work and added maintenance expense each item may require. Here are a few things to think over.

1. Wood-burning fireplace
Snuggling by a cozy fire can be sublime, but beware of the splinters that come with maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. There's the bill from the annual chimney sweep, the cost of wood and the hassle of keeping critters from camping out in the pile. Plus, a fireplace can raise your energy bill. A chimney sucks up most of the warmth from a fire, along with some of the room's heated air, according to the EPA.

2. Pool
Fishing out leaves, balancing chemicals, scrubbing the tiles. Pools can be a lot of work. And if you choose to hire a specialist, that's an added cost. Your homeowner's insurance may also increase if you add the liability of a pool – the same goes for outdoor hot tubs.

3. Extensive landscaping
A beautiful garden may draw you to a home, but keep in mind how much work it will be to maintain once you move in. Perhaps you find trimming topiaries a soothing form of meditation. If not, a home with less landscaping may be a better fit.

4. More square footage
Vast rooms with cathedral ceilings come come with soaring energy bills. Unused rooms leech heating and cooling energy from the rest of the house. Keep this in mind if you're considering purchasing a home to grow into.

Ready to sell? 3 ways an Agent Helps Get You Started

3/11/2016
Ready to sell? 3 Ways an Agent Helps Get You Started
Ready to sell? 3 Ways an Agent Helps Get You Started

Mon, February 29, 2016

The process of putting your home on the market and finding your next place can be overwhelming. Fortunately, an experienced agent can help you weigh all your options. Here’s where a professional might start:

1. Researching your home’s value
An agent will have the pulse on the current market. Together, you can review how much comparable properties have been selling for and how long they lingered on the market. The agent can provide a realistic idea of what your home is worth, and how fast (or long) it could take to find a buyer.

2. Working with your budget
After you learn what your current home is worth, you’ll be able to hone in your options for your next one. An agent can give you an idea of what types of properties and which neighborhoods are in your budget. A good agent who knows the area will also be aware of local housing trends. He or she can advise you when might be a good time to buy.

3. Making your home market-ready
There may be work to do before you put your house on the market. A Realtor can help you prioritize repairs. He or she can also recommend a home inspector for an expert opinion on features like roofs and HVAC.

Ready to explore your options? Find a great agent here.

How to Boost Your Curb Appeal in Winter

2/9/2016
How to Boost Your Curb Appeal in Winter
How to Boost Your Curb Appeal in Winter

Thu, February 4, 2016

Just because the temperature is freezing doesn’t mean you can’t warm buyers’ hearts with your home’s exterior during the winter. Here are a few tips to help make your property inviting.

1. Door Number One
Don’t miss the opportunity to make a great first impression. New doors are worth the investment. Or, give your door a fresh coat of paint and upgrade your handles and knocker with some shiny bling. When appropriate, brightly colored doors can create a charming focal point, especially during winter when the world can seem white and grey.

2. Plant some green
Evergreen shrubs look terrific in pots on the porch and can add allure to your home’s entry.

3. Keep it safe
Be sure that all walkways are clear of snow and ice. In addition to helping to prevent dangerous slips, the clean lines of a shoveled driveway look great and imply your property is well cared for.

5. Stash Santa
Past January 1, be sure to take down distracting holiday decorations. No blinking lights, reindeer on the roof, and no inflatable snow snowglobes. You can, however, dress up your front door with a non-denominational winter wreath.

6. To sit, porch-ance to dream
If there’s room on your porch, consider adding a rocking chair or bistro set. While prospective buyers probably won’t consider whiling away the evening out there in winter, the furniture can remind them how nice it is to sit there in warmer weather.

January National Housing Report: What the Numbers Mean for You

2/3/2016
January National Housing Report: What the Numbers Mean for You

Sun, January 31, 2016

After two consecutive months with falling home sales, December roared back with 6.1% more sales than one year ago. On a month-over-month basis, December sales were much higher with an increase of 22.5% over November. In all of 2015, nine months saw home sales higher than the same month one year ago.

What it means for buyers:
The market could be heating back up. Winter months may be a good time to buy before the traditionally more competitive summer months. An experienced agent can help you decide the best next move for your personal situation.

What it means for sellers:
The average home was on the market in December for almost a week less than a year ago. This could be good news if you’re looking to move fast, but may cause a little uncertainty if you need to linger in your current home. An agent can help you work out an agreement with buyers with a timeline that works for everyone.

Find out more about the housing market in December with the infographic below:

5 Things to expect when selling your home in winter

1/28/2016
5 Things to expect when selling your home in winter
5 Things to expect when selling your home in winter

Sat, January 23, 2016

Winter is traditionally a slower time for home sales, but don’t despair. Here are a few ways the timing might play in your favor.

1. Buyers tend to be more motivated
Buyers looking for homes are doing so because they really must relocate due to job, family or other unavoidable circumstances. You’ll probably waste less time dealing with real estate tire-kickers.

2. Things move faster
Because there are fewer transactions during the winter, mortgage companies, home inspectors and appraisers have less on their plates. You should be able to schedule appointments sooner and expect faster turnaround for reports and approvals than in the busy warmer seasons.

3. You can leverage the smaller inventory
With fewer homes on the market, it can be easier to promote your property’s comparative advantages. Highlight your home’s unique features. Are you the only townhome within walking distance of downtown? The only split-level with a pool in your school district? Be sure to mention it in your listing.

4. Summer buyers are looking now
Not everyone looking in the winter must move immediately. Your Realtor may have ideas about how to market your home among local businesses and organizations with fluid populations, such as universities, or via school district websites that might attract families moving to the area.

5. You can remind buyers of warmer weather
Be sure to include images of your home during greener summer months, including lifestyle shots of your deck, patio, porch and/or yard. Feature these photos in a frame during showings to remind buyers how the home can come alive in the spring.

7 Fireplace Safety Tips

1/19/2016
7 Fireplace Safety Tips
7 Fireplace Safety Tips

Tue, January 19, 2016

Curling up in front of the fireplace with a book can be the quintessence of coziness on a cold winter’s day, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t maintain your fireplace and use it correctly.

Here are a few safety tips when using your fireplace this winter.

1. Go with a pro
The National Fire Protection Association suggests you hire a certified chimney cleaner to inspect your fireplace and chimney at least once a year. They probably won’t sing catchy songs in a Cockney accent like in “Mary Poppins,” but they will remove dangerous clogs and buildup.

2. Put a lid on it
Ever chase a squirrel around your house with a broom? Exciting, but not fun. Prevent critters, birds and debris from coming down your chimney by installing a wire mesh cap on top of your chimney.

3. Play defense
Spark guards, the mesh screens that can be placed in front of your fire, prevent flying embers from launching into your living room and starting trouble. When you leave the room (or fall asleep) it’s especially important to use one.

4. Be wood wise
Burn seasoned hardwood that has been dried for at least six months. Green, unseasoned or soft woods such as pine emit more creosote — that’s the flammable stuff that can build up in your chimney.

5. Check your equipment
Test your smoke detectors every month, change your batteries every year and replace devices every 10 years.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Have one. And be sure you know how to use it.

7. Seal it up
When not using your fireplace, close the damper to prevent warm air, and the money you spend to heat your house, from being lost straight up your chimney.

6 Thing to Look for during a Listing Presentation

1/11/2016
6 Things to Look for during a Listing Presentation
6 Things to Look for during a Listing Presentation

Thu, January 7, 2016

When selling your home, it’s critical to find an agent you trust to get the job done. Of course the more agents you meet, the better informed you’ll be. Scheduling a listing presentation enables you to glean more information to help you choose the agent best for you. Here are a few things to look for.

1. Experience
Does the agent have an impressive record of selling the type of property you’re listing? Is he or she familiar with your region?

2. Sales at listing price
Ask for the average difference between the sales price of the homes the agent has sold and the listing price. Though some of this depends on the market, it will also reflect whether the agent can skillfully set listing prices or negotiate offers.

3. Good listening skills
Is the agent plowing through a canned presentation without allowing questions? Is he or she taking notes as you talk? Make sure the agent is focused on you and your needs. If it’s all about them during the listing presentation, chances are they won’t be attentive during the actual sales process.

4. Marketing
The agent should present a comprehensive plan for marketing your home. Where will they promote your property? Will they hold open houses? Have them explain the reasons behind their decisions. This is where meeting with multiple agents can be beneficial. One agent may say open houses don’t work, another may favor them. It’s all about whose point of view you agree with most.

5. Personality
Clear communication between an agent and seller is vital. Although you don’t have to be best friends, if your personalities don’t mesh it can make communication more difficult.

6. References
Ask for contact information for the agent’s most recent three clients.

4 Thing Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices

1/4/2016
4 Things Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices
4 Things Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices

Mon, January 4, 2016

There’s no online calculator for setting the perfect listing price for your home. It takes experience, market savvy, and even a bit of psychology. A strong listing agent can help you set the right, most competitive price for your home. Here are a few things they might look at:

1. The competition
Your agent will look at the prices of similar homes in your area that either are currently listed or sold during the past few months. They’ll take into account how many days the properties were on the market, and how the listing prices for those homes differed from the final sale prices.

2. Market trends
What’s affecting the market in your neighborhood, and your region? Your agent will consider national factors that shape the real estate market, such as possible rising interest rates, as well as local factors, like whether the average home price in your neighborhood has been rising or falling. They’ll also think about things such as new companies moving to the area in the near future, or plans for improving local amenities, like parks and shopping districts. All can increase the value of your home to a buyer.

3. Your neighbors
Although a home the same size and age recently sold for a high price, your own place might not fetch the exact same fortune if, say, junky cars continue to proliferate in your neighbor’s driveway. On the flipside, if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, your home’s value may be higher due to your neighbors’ curb appeal.

4. The Goldilocks price
Listing your home at a price that’s “just right” from the start is critical to selling it quickly, for the best price. Overpricing your home, and then dropping the price a few times while it sits on the market, could lead to a lower final sales price than if the home was priced appropriately from the beginning. And, of course, setting a price that’s too low leaves money on the table.

5 Holiday Recycling Tips

12/26/2015
5 Holiday Recycling Tips
5 Holiday Recycling Tips

Sat, December 26, 2015

After the holidays, your home can look a bit hung over, with piles of wrapping paper and fallen tinsel trailing under everyone's feet. It all feels like a hazy eggnog memory. You may be wondering how you'll possibly clear out all the trash. Well, maybe it doesn't have to be trash. Here are five tips for keeping the planet in mind as you clean up this holiday season.

1. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper with glitter and foil is fun, but unfortunately can’t be recycled efficiently. Don’t just toss it in with your everyday recycling. Check with your sanitation department for seasonal recycling guidelines.

2. Christmas Trees
Many communities provide a service that will compost or chip your holiday tree into mulch for free or a low fee. Be sure to remove all tinsel, lights and wires before taking advantage of this opportunity.

3. Cardboard boxes
If you don’t need them to store your new goodies, cardboard boxes can usually be recycled curbside.

4. Ribbon
Ribbon generally can’t be recycled, so save it! Curling ribbon can be “re-curled” for another special occasion by zipping it along a scissor blade.

5. Electronics
You've unwrapped this year's latest gizmo, now what should you do with last year’s model? Many computer companies, like Apple and Dell, will recycle your machines, and box stores such as Best Buy accept phones and all sorts of gadgets for recycling.

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