SELLING THE FAMILY HOME

homesteadIn all my years of selling real estate I have had the pleasure/ responsibility of selling a home for families who have years or even generations of living , loving and memories as a family. In today’s world where families are smaller, and spread out across the country- the likelihood of passing on a family home to younger generations is not as much an option as it might have been in generations past. So when the decision is made to sell a home that has served as home base- it comes with regret, resistance and sometimes unrealistic expectations.
When a family looks lovingly at all the dents and dings and flaws that come from years of growing and living in a home like families do, they smile and chalk it up to charm and a distinguished weathering of the home. When a buyer looks at the same- they see repairs and imperfections that will need to be dealt with- and which will lower the value in their mind. Always try to get an objective opinion about what needs to be replaced, repaired or removed. A pre-sale home inspection can serve you well especially if you have lived in the same home for many years.
Some people have the tendency to lose track of how time flies as life goes on. For example- I was talking to someone about how many years I have lived in my current home. When I moved into my home- it had a new roof, new furnace and new water heater, etc. Then I realized I had actually been there for 14 years. So- if it seems like just yesterday that you replaced that roof, or that major system or appliance- realize that it might have been longer than you think and that the life of the item may be approaching its life expectancy. It is wise when selling an existing home to purchase a home warranty. There’s no way you can guarantee or predict the life expectancy of your home systems. But you can purchase (for around $400-500) a warranty that will cover the failure of certain things in a home. Make sure you read your home warranty – especially the exceptions before you purchase it. Here’s a little insider tip- if you purchase certain home warranties, they will cover losses during the listing period for no extra charge- then start the warranty after closing. Be sure and ask your REALTOR about this, and have it verified by the home warranty company.
If you’re a buyer- always be sensitive when buying a family home- emotions can run high as memories of years of happy times spent there seem to come flooding back. That “hideous” wallpaper might represent a special time for the family and although the wallpaper may indeed be the worst thing you’ve ever seen, be careful to spare the family from your observations.
One of the most touching memories I have of selling real estate was after closing on a home where the family was “parting ways” and I came into the room where the mother was sitting on the steps looking
into an empty room holding a tiny little sock and sobbing openly. “Some of my life’s happiest memories
were spent here- it just hit me that I’m leaving here forever.”
You can’t separate or eliminate the emotions- but you can prepare for it and be sensitive to what may
trigger good or bad vibes when dealing with selling or buying a family home.

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Football, Real Estate and Business in general- it’s 4th Quarter- Let’s go!!

 

 

FourthQuartereditHere we are- it’s the 4th quarter, are you going to fold, or finish strong?  It’s one of those checkpoints when we take stock and decide how the last quarter of the game is going to go. In business, as in sports, it takes a strong effort all four quarters to get the job done and leave the game knowing you gave it all you have.

Are you a touchdown or two behind?  Do you need to up your goals for the next three months in order to meet your mark for the year?  Time to take stock about where you are and what you need to do to reach your goal for the year.  Break it down into # of sales per month to meet your benchmark.  Go back and make a list of any unfinished business that you can pull together.  Set a daily task list including # of calls, sphere of influence visits, social media posts, networking opportunities.  Set goals in each of these areas and hold yourself accountable to complete these tasks EVERYDAY.  Meet every contact armed with at least three reasons why now is the best time to list or sell.  Study your market- know your market and be ready to answer any concern.  Push yourself completely out of your comfort zone and go for the score every time you step onto the field of play!!

Are you ahead of your plan and thinking that you might want to coast through the last quarter?  Listen to me- with a market as unpredictable as our market has been in the last few years, you’ve gotta  “make hay while the sun shines”.  Don’t do anything that doesn’t live up to your normal standard of work.  Keeping the pace all the way until the end of the year is an exercise in discipline and financial ambition.  Do some things that will set you up for a great start for 2016.  Challenge yourself to set a whole new standard for yourself.  Set a new record for yourself!  Let your competitive self  show-off a little.  Then start to look at you next years’ game plan and ask yourself if maybe you have set the bar too low.  Play all four quarters with all you’ve got and see what you’re capable of!

Ahead or behind- I always believe that the best work is sometimes in the last quarter of any game.  Refocus; up the intensity;  and finish the year strong!!

 

Myth Busters

Here I sit, after 5:00 and still at my desk trying to decide what I can bring you this week that will spark your interest and maybe give a little insight to help in your home buying or selling experience.  This week I’m going to tell you what I hear from buyers and sellers about how they feel about the process and give my perspective…

“Real estate agents- you can’t believe them, they’ll say whatever they think you want to hear!”  First, most of the licensees in this area are REALTORS® and subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and make every effort to be honest and fair in their dealings with clients.

88% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.

Sellers who definitely would use same agent again: 65% Source2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

 

Second- it’s up to YOU to meet, interview and get to know your REALTOR® and establish that trust that goes beyond having seen a name on a sign.  Hiring an agent is a serious part of the process and it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make a good hire based on good information!  Then, make it clear what your expectations are- if you find yourself challenging everything your agent tells you from a professional point of view- then perhaps that agent is not the right one for you, because you need to trust their expertise.  A good agent can back up his suggestions and analysis with facts and they’re happy to provide that information. Ask for data or information if you deciding value in either a sale or purchase. Every now and then you’ll come across an agent whose communication style leaves you feeling unsure. Keep looking until you find that right fit!  Ask for data or information if you deciding value in either a sale or purchase.

“I can save so much money if I sell my home myself.  All they do is put the sign in the yard and collect the commission.”  Ahhh, where do I begin on this one?  The sale of your home is mostly dependent on proper pricing and marketing to the right people.  Proper pricing comes from doing a thorough analysis of the recently sold properties similar to yours as well as a comparison to those similar properties currently on the market

FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013. The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. Source: 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Access to all this information is hard for the average person to obtain and  sort through.  And marketing to the right people- the MLS is the first tool your agent uses to advertise your property, REALTOR.com, is another and company websites, print ads, virtual tours, sign recognition, social media  and referral networks are all things you just can’t provide for yourself!  That doesn’t even cover what it takes to qualify your buyers, schedule and show the house, negotiate the contract, oversee the proper execution of the contract including inspections and other contingencies as well as seeing to it that  everything from “contract to closing” goes smoothly.  If any one of these parts is not right- you could find yourself still owning your home much longer than you wanted to, or ending up with a deal that falls apart.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely –YES!

“We should just low-ball every offer until we find the one that they’ll accept.”  I completely understand anyone trying to get a home for the best price possible, and actually prefer someone making the low offer as opposed to not making the offer at all.  My advice is different for the buyers than the sellers.  For the buyers- be careful not to be so low that the offer is offensive to both the seller and their agent.  If you waste too much time making offers so low that the people won’t even respond with a counter offer, then you might be creating a reputation for yourself as not being a serious buyer, and in fact, you could lose YOUR agent if your offers are too far out of range.  Honestly, after 3-4 offers with no counter offers, I would probably question your strategy and sit down and rethink some of it.  At least if you get a counter offer, you are still alive and the seller believes there is a chance of arriving at an agreement.

To the seller- when a low offer comes in-  try, try, try not to get mad!  It’s just the opening of the conversation, you have all the power to say yes, no- or make a counteroffer.   Work the offer until it won’t work anymore!  My advice- if you keep getting offers in about the same price range from different people- it’s time to rethink price!  The market determines the value and if it keeps coming in at about the same price… well there it is.  Sadly, it doesn’t matter how much you paid or how much you have put into your home- it’s all about how much the public is willing to pay.

Peggy R. Smith is the Association Executive for the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS®. The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® owns and operates the MLS for the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky and is celebrating 50 years serving our local area. Member of Kentucky Association of REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS®.

keys to home

Before You Turn Out the Lights…

Peg Smith's Real Life in Bardstown

It’s time to wrap up another day, and you’re already looking forward to your “after work” routine to kick in!  Before you leave, do at least 3 more things!  Allow a maximum of 5 minutes for each thing.  Think of this as your last chance to end the day on a productive note or to get a head start on tomorrow’s agenda!

  1. Call one of your more high maintenance clients to give an update or report, just to let them know that you are on top of things!  If you can’t reach them, then leave a detailed message and invite them to follow up with you tomorrow.  If you sound confident and composed, your client will feel that you are taking care of business for them and their trust in you will be strengthened. 
  2. Compose and sendout an email to your prospect list that is designed to generate leads or referrals.  It may…

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Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?


Are you a twenty-something trying to break out into the world on your own?  School, college, technical training behind you?  This is the time in your life when you want to set the world on fire and you’re chomping at the bit to get started.

Set your Goals.  Whether or not you’ve found that perfect job, if you’re out there working- you need to set goals and priorities.  Start with the age-old question- “Where do you see yourself in five years?”  Go ahead- be as idealistic and optimistic as you want!  Dream big!  Let me help you- just a little.  Before you leave this decade- you should own your own home!salesold

You know what a budget is, spend less than you make!  Count your savings every month as part of your living expenses.  Go ahead- do it now.  Set up an automatic withdrawal that is manageable from your checking account to go into your home fund.

Step up your Effort.  There will never be a better time than now to go “all in” toward that dream of homeownership!  Work hard, take overtime, take a second job, and save hard!!  There is no better feeling than to know you are on the path to something important- and you can visualize what getting there looks like!

Slow your Expectations.  As in the story The Tortoise and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race.  That’s true at least as far as expectations go.  In this fast paced world of immediate gratification, this one might be harder to accept, but in every case, the one who makes steady and deliberate process towards their goals will exceed the normal success rate!!

Expect to Fail.  What can I say?  Failure is a part of life (especially if you’re challenging yourself).  Nobody gets it all right- all the time.  Don’t run away at the first sign of difficulty.  For every question or problem- there is a solution.  You just have to have the perseverance to keep looking for answers and the courage to ask the right questions.  It is in the moments of setbacks and failure that we usually find the most clarity.  So don’t give up!

Find a Partner. I don’t mean get married.  I mean find a person that will sit down with you and help you prepare for your goal of homeownership.  A REALTOR® is the person who can find out what your big dream is and someone who understands your priorities and the vision and has the patience to help you achieve that dream.  Like getting married- you might have to date around a little!  Meet with several Realtors until you find someone who you have a good rapport with and whom you can be honest with about your financial situation- AND you feel will be honest with you about how best to meet your goals.  Your Realtor partner needs to understand clearly what your goal is- and be committed to help you get there.

Take Baby Steps. If you dream big (and I hope you do) your Realtor may end up showing you ways that you can get there in stages- stepping up to the ultimate dream.  Don’t accept no for an answer!  If you can’t have what you want today- at least have a plan to get it or to move a step closer.  Buying your first “starter house” is a great way of inching you closer to your next home.  You learn the process of buying a home, you get to assume all the responsibilities of owning a home, you get to learn more about what you want and don’t want in your next home.  It may be your practice home- but you might just love it enough to stay there forever!  Either way- it’s YOURS!

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”   ~Lao Tzu

 

Peggy R. Smith is the Association Executive for the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS®.  The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® owns and operates the MLS for the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky and is a member of Kentucky Association of REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS®

The JOY of a Holiday Home

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
Edith Sitwell

2014 christmas

 

There is no other time of year that brings to mind all the things that mean “home” more than winter and the holidays.  It has become the gala of the home!  We dress it up, drape it in as much “jewelry” as we can find, put a spotlight on it and then just stand back and admire!  It’s the beauty, the whimsy, the warmth that invites people to share the love we have for our home!  Yeah- they say Christmas is for kids, but our homes get their share of spoiling and pampering during the season too!

 

I remember growing up in Bardstown- that we always had a door decorating contest – for the businesses downtown, but also the homes around town.  It was a big deal at our house, because our mother would always create the most beautiful doors.  One year, I remember a silhouette if the three wise men against a background of royal blue.  A single shimmering silver star led the way.  (Of course, she won that year!)  We also appreciated all the other homes’ decorations.  All of us loaded up in the car, driving through all the neighborhoods looking at the lights, door designs and wreaths.  A lot of things have changed about how people celebrate, but the adornment of our homes is not one of them!!

 

On the outside, I love the wreaths, candles in the windows and simple spotlights on a pretty house.  But my grandson gets most excited to see the colorful lights, blinking and twinkling around a yard full of various Christmas characters or woodland animals!  Whatever your preference, one thing is constant- the home decorated for the holidays emanates a warmth, coziness and a feeling that love is in that house!  When I drive by a beautifully decorated home during the holiday season, I wonder wistfully about the decorating going on indoors. Is there music, candles?  Is someone baking?  Can you smell the apple cider, hear the laughter? 

 

I know that the holidays can be hard for some of us who might be alone or missing someone special.  I know it makes it hard to get that Christmas spirit, or the right spirit.  “Humbug, not gonna decorate this year, why should I?”  Try this- begin with a simple wreath on the door, a holiday scented candle and fix yourself something warm and sweet to drink.  Feeling better?  Now add a bright red bow to your mailbox, gather up some branches and holly from your yard and place them in a large container on your front porch with another big red bow!  And there you have it- you just put a smile on your house!  It will greet you every day after a day at work or a cold day out!  There’s just something warm about a home decorated for Christmas.

 

Whatever your Christmas tradition is, I’m pretty sure that part of it includes dressing up your home to bring in the “magic” of the Holidays!  So enjoy bringing Christmas alive at your home (inside and out) for your family and friends.  But even if it’s all just for you… do it!  Create JOY at home! 

REALTORS® and the WEB

 

I remember in 1999, when I was serving as President of the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS,  we had just established an MLS service, many of us didn’t do our work on computers, and the internet was only a big scary place where information lived.  We didn’t know really how it got there and were even less sure about how to get it out!  Times have changed!  Back then, there were a small number of clients who searched the internet looking for a home.

Realtor.com, started in partnership with NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), became the first reliable source of “home-shopping” for consumers.  There was some real concern with agents back then because we all know how the internet impacted the travel agent profession- allowing people to do their own homework and helping them cut out the “middleman”.

Many in our profession feared that we would suffer the same fate.  We knew that people were looking at this site as a shopping aid for buyers, but we weren’t sure how far it would take them.  We still advertised our listings the traditional way- in the newspaper and home magazines- hoping that most people would get their basic info there, and call us for the rest.  And they did, and still do- to a certain degree.  But, let’s face it; today’s homebuyer is much savvier than those of the last century!

Next- after Realtor.com became so successful, other search sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com started popping up and the real estate industry started asking- “What is happening to our industry?”  “How do we remain relevant- and central to the real estate transaction?”  Again, as it was after the launch of Realtor.com, many started predicting the demise of the profession.  Yet- even though approximately ninety percent of consumers go to the Web to begin their real estate searches (NAR), and even though forty two percent find their homes through online searches, 89% of them end up using a real estate agent or broker to make the actual purchase.

How in the world, you might ask, do REALTORS® continue to survive when they have been electronically replaced in the home buying process?  That’s the question that has launched many professionals into a panic and challenged many consumers to consider going it alone.  The answer is really quite simple- the shopping process is only a small part of the home buying process.  It’s the fun part!  It’s the rainy, cold afternoon when families sit at their computers and look at pictures, videos, virtual tours and dream, prioritize and educate themselves about the reality of the market, prices, and how prices may vary in different locations.  It’s where consumers can give themselves a pat on the back for being more educated before they set out on their home buying journey.

Part two of the answer here is that gathering information is only step one of the journey.  Then there is the rest of the story!  It takes experience and skill to be able to write a good and complete and enforceable offer to purchase.  It takes skill and experience to negotiate that offer into an accepted contract which addresses all the issues and explains them in a way that results into satisfied clients and good results.  It takes experience and skill to understand that your partners in the rest of the process (lenders, inspectors, etc.) need to be reliable, tested and held to the same degree of professionalism as your REALTOR®.

Finally, there is nothing like having an established relationship with a person that can answer your questions when you start to second guess your decisions, or when you want to know your options with this or that issue.  It’s peace of mind.  There is one thing that has always driven me to be the best REALTOR® I could be- and that is, “Did I bring my clients the feeling that they were in good hands?  Did I leave them with peace of mind, knowing that their dreams and my skills were the best way to take on the most complicated transaction that they may ever confront?”

Meanwhile- the internet will always challenge the real estate agent in terms of providing information- but nothing will cancel the impact that the personal representation of a REALTOR® has in pulling together all the pieces of the deal to result in the ultimate goal~ your new home!!

The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® is a local professional association representing REALTORS® from the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky.  www.okhrealtors.com

 

Home~ It’s Where Christmas Lives!

Home~ It’s Where Christmas Lives!
Over the years, whether I was working as a REALTOR®, as a broker, or as an Association Director, I always approach Christmastime with a feeling of reflection and appreciation for what the year has brought me to…and brought me through. There were years when I felt that prosperity was all around me, with people just busting out with big lavish parties, generous bonuses being spent, and lots of packages under the trees!
I also remember years when things were quite a bit more measured and, let’s say, a little simpler. Still, there were gifts under the trees- maybe a few less, but more thoughtfully chosen. We’d have a lot more homemade goodies; some smaller- more intimate gatherings; and more activities focused around the home and the family. Smaller in scale, but still- the “Magic” was there!
Harder times have a way of bringing you home, and home has a way of bringing you a clear perspective! I always loved being able to gather with my friends, family or co-workers and celebrate all the successes that each year had given us! But I also treasured the years that our rewards were more humble and our trials seemed to challenge us in our search for the joy of the Christmas season.
Home! It’s where we celebrate, reflect, bring in and let go. It’s where we plan, grow, nurture and conserve. If I drove past all the homes that I have sold over the years, and thought of all the wonderful families that I have gotten to know- I would be sure of this one thing; bringing people and houses together to create homes is the best profession in the world! I’d like to believe that there’s a little bit of Charles Dickens in every REALTOR’s heart that imagines that every client can have that magical fairy tale home!

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!” ~Charles Dickensnovember_christmas_scene

On behalf of the Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS®, I wish one and all a very Happy and Joyful Holiday Season and a Prosperous New Year!!
The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® is a local professional association representing REALTORS® from the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky. http://www.okhrealtors.com

Gratitude Campaign

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~Cicero
I’m thinking that this year, to get us all in the mood for Thanksgiving, maybe we can look at our community in Real Estate and all the things for which we can be thankful and find ways to have an“attitude of gatitude”.
I’m a firm believer that we are what we do, not what we have. In my job- I really want all people to see the possibility to have a home; I want all of our REALTORS® to have a comfortable income and lifestyle; I want our community to have a reputation and sense of pride that radiates from our hometown. How we get there- is decided by what we do- how we behave! Let’s start with gratitude, and see how far that takes us.
Remember why you do what you do. Tap into your enthusiasm and optimism and let those things shape your outlook.
Listen to yourself– how you talk to people and how you talk to yourself. Negative talk brings negative actions and re-actions. Positive talk is like a magnet, people are drawn to it!
Get a gratitude partner. Find someone who will give you honest feedback, keep you accountable and remind you of your goal to keep a positive attitude. Try to get someone who will compliment you too, not just criticize.
Give something back. Remember that what you put out there is what you get back from others. Create a helpful, giving atmosphere around you and it will spread!
Write a thank you note. And send it! You should do this at least once a week. Some people start each day by doing this. It jump starts the gratitude spirit and sets the tone for a good day!
Make a Thank You visit. Do you have a friend, family member or client that you haven’t checked in with for awhile? Stop and pick up a potted mum, or some pumpkin bread and stop by for a visit. Let them know that you’ve been busy, but that they have been on your mind. Don’t stay long, just remind yourself how much you love your memories with them, your work, or your life and remind them how much they love you!!
Thank yourself! Make a list of all the things you have accomplished or positive things in your life that you are thankful for. It’s nearly impossible to be negative when you’re feeling gratitude.
Make a plan for next year. We tend to feel more negative when we feel lost. Make a plan to keep you on track and focused on what you want to achieve for the year and you won’t get lost.
Pray. If you look at the world with a thankful heart, you’ll realize that your blessings are all around and mostly unacknowledged. You just got through a a family or health crisis, closed a tough deal, made a new contact/friend, witnessed a beautiful sunset, kissed a baby. Take a moment, say a prayer of thanksgiving and enjoy!stationary_thank_you_detailOn behalf of the members of the Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS®- I want to say- “Happy Thanksgiving everyone!” Peggy R. Smith is the Association Executive for the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS®. The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® owns and operates the MLS for the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky and is a member of Kentucky Association of REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS®

For Your Home’s Sake- Vote Smart!

Peggy R. Smith

 

People own homes for different reasons.  We live in a world of diminishing control.  But our home is still our castle and we are (to some extent) still the masters of our own home.  That’s why it is still considered the main goal in achieving the American Dream!

Probably the most common reasons people give for buying a home today are based on emotional needs. Pride of ownership has long been the leading driver of consumers to make the leap into the club of property owners.  Security, stability, and status can be achieved through purchasing a home.  Some people take that step in order to have control of their own situation.  They want to be able to change paint color, to add-on, to tear down or rearrange according to their own needs, which is not always possible in a rental property. , Sometimes buying a home makes a statement, for instance, the establishment of a family or the establishment of independence from a family.

The other prime motivation to purchase a home is the financial benefit. If you own a home, you could rent the property. If you receive enough rent to cover the costs of owning the home- the positive cash flow can be income for the owner or just an investment in the future.  Even if you live in the home, it is still an investment, as it is the tangible evidence and collateral for loans or payment options in a variety of situations. Depending on condition, location, economic factors in the area, your home can appreciate over a period of years at a faster rate than many other types of investment. Last but not least, it is one kind of tangible wealth to pass on to children.

If you are an owner- occupant, there are also tax advantages to owning a home that may apply to you depending on how your taxes are structured.  For instance, for most homeowners, the Mortgage Interest Deduction can have a significant impact on the amount of taxes that you pay to the IRS on an annual basis.

Whatever the motivation, the freedom in this country to be the owner of our own property is a privilege not to be taken lightly!  The pursuit of this goal has long been a driving force behind the strong work ethic in this country and the main reason that for generations people have been innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and pioneers.  To fully appreciate this freedom, maybe we should consider what life would be like if the ability to achieve this goal was not available, or only available according to birthright, or social ranking or family ties.  We must always guard, protect and exercise our right to own property- unimpeded by government over- regulation and restriction.  Our local governments do regulate and restrict the use of property to protect the community and neighboring property owners.  But everyone has the right to own property based on their ability to purchase the property!

No man but feels more of a man in the world if he has but a bit of ground that he can call his own.  However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property.  ~Charles Dudley Warner

As you consider how you will vote on November 4th, try to find out if the candidates will be in favor of restricting, regulating, taxing or impeding your right to own property and use that property in a reasonable way.  Ask the candidates- “Would you support any action that further burdens  property owners with more taxes or fees connected to homeownership?” Or- “Would you consider eliminating tax deductions for homeowners?”  

For your home’s sake… vote smart!!

 

 

OKH Realtors- just asking questions...
OKH Realtors- just asking questions…