Welcome To My REAL ESTATE Blog!! Please contact me with comments!!

August 20, 2014

Working With a Real Estate Agent

 

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully.. 

 

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies. 

 

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.  

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

 

July 8, 2014

                                                             DOWNSIZING

 

I WISH ALL MY READERS A VERY BLESSED 4th of JULY.

Lots of folks today are down sizing.   Some folks are moving from beautiful, large homes to smaller town homes, a smaller home or a condo. 
Downsizing from a spacious home to a smaller residence can often pose a few problems.
In particular, purchasing a smaller residence may require you to get creative with your space. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can make your space quite comfortable.
Here are a few ideas for making your smaller space feel more spacious:
  • Cut down on the clutter – Too many things inside your original home will instantly make the space feel smaller. It is therefore always a good idea to take a few days and decide which things will stay and which things no longer have a place in your new space – or your life. When cutting down on the clutter, ask yourself if you’ve used this item within the last year. If it hasn’t seen the light of day, it is probably time to get rid of it. Before tossing your unwanted belongings, however, consider what you can donate, sell or gift to friends.
  • Think in terms of scale – Furniture that doesn’t fit the size of your rooms will likely create a disconnect in terms of comfort and style. In other words, larger pieces that may have fit nicely in your single-family home may simply be too large or awkward to fit into a smaller condo space. Too many pieces of furniture in any space will make it feel tight and claustrophobic, so consider eliminating any extraneous pieces from your home.
  • Consider multi-purpose furniture – When furnishing a condo or other small space, consider purchasing furniture that has multiple purposes. A coffee table with storage, an ottoman with storage or a sofa that folds out for a guest bed are all great ideas for furniture.
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!
 
We are your PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

 

June 18, 2014

Working With a Real Estate Agent

 

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully.. 

 

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies. 

 

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.  

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

May 1,2014

My House Hasn’t Sold, Now What?

May Day!  May Day!   So, your home didn’t sell when you listed it FOR SALE BY OWNER?   How about, your home didn’t sell when you listed with another agency?  
 
That reality is, unfortunately, quite common in today’s challenging real estate market. If you are a homeowner dealing with the predicament of an expired listing, it may be time to rethink your strategy. In other words, now may be the time to turn to a different agent.   This time find a agent who wants you active in the selling.   You know your home so much better than anyone else so it only makes sense that you should be helpful in the selling.   The OLD saying think outside the box really is OLD.   In today’s market you just might have to create a new box.
 
The Caldwell Team ( Kay and Roger ) have knowledge and are highly skilled when it comes to taking on expired listings. Our team will examine your home’s previous pricing and marketing strategy and come up with a new strategy that is sure to get your home sold – once and for all!
 
If you are stuck with an expired listing, there are likely two reasons why it hasn’t sold:
 
  • Price – Price is the number-one reason homes sit on the  market longer than necessary, and price is the main reason why listings expire. If your home is not priced right, it can spell disaster when buyers begin comparing it to similar homes on the market. Many times, buyers won’t even view an overpriced home, thereby leaving you in a predicament when it comes to selling your home in a reasonable amount of time. A VIP Realty agent will work with you to come up with a reasonable pricing strategy for your home based on recent comparables and the features of your home. Remember: a properly priced home will sell!   And if priced properly it will sell     FAST.
  • Exposure – If your expired listing failed to attract the appropriate traffic from potential buyers and their agents, it is time to reconsider your previous agent’s marketing strategy. The Caldwell’s have a strong Internet presence, thereby allowing us to immediately get your home in front of potential buyers. Our proven marketing strategies, as well as our strong Internet presence, will allow your home to be seen by the most buyers, thereby increasing your chances of getting it sold.
 
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!
We are your PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

APRIL 14, 2014

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREDIT SCORES

Today’s market is all about the credit score.   If you qualify for a loan or not begins and ends with the credit score.   I thought it might be interesting to give you information regarding credit scores.   This information was obtained from  credit.score.range.org

  • 400-450 – This credit score is considered to be the lowest possible credit a person can have. Anything that comes back on your credit report that is lower than the score simply means you either do not have credit, or you are not credit worthy.
  • 450-500 – With a credit score 450 to 500, you are still considered to be in a very low credit status. There may be a lot of different imperfections on your credit report that need immediate attention. This could also mean that you simply do not have credit of any type, and a lender or creditor will not move forward with providing credit as long as this score stays where it is.
  • 500-550 –This credit score is not even considered average but still below average.  Although you may be able to obtain credit, you will pay some of the highest interest rates that are available.
  • 550-600 – Still below average and like 500 to 550 credit score range you sill be at the mercy of the creditors for interest rates.
  • 600-650 – Considered the lower average range it is typical for millions of people. 600 to 650 will not imply that you have perfect credit; however, it does not imply that your credit history should be overlooked when applying for credit from a creditor.  You will also discover that there are higher interest rates; however, they will not be as high as anything at a lower range. If your credit score falls within this range, there are probably a couple of minor issues that will need to be taken care of
  • 650-700 – Considered the higher average range you will more than likely be able to qualify for loans of every different type. Although this isn’t the ultimate range, and you may pay a higher interest rate, you will surely secure a loan. If your credit score falls within this range, you may want to have a look at your credit report and find out if there are any issues you can take care of right away.
  • 700-750 – This average is considered above average and you will not have any problem acquiring credit.   This is an area everyone should hope for or aim to achieve. You will not have any problem obtaining credit for any creditor because you will be considered to be credit worthy.
  • 750 and up – Superior and top of the line scores.   When people ask what is highest credit score you can get the answer is 750 and up.  If you have a credit score that is 750 and above, you’ll be happy to know that you have excellent credit score! With a credit score range of 750 and above, you will have a wide variety of options open to you when it comes to applying for credit anywhere and for anything.

 

Please call me today to assist with your Real Estate questions and real estate BUYING and SELLING.  I can also recommend to you a good mortgage lender to work with.  Remember, I am YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR!  931-434-0516 .

April  9, 2014

Know me Know my Jewelry

 

What is your tag?  I am best known in our little small town for my love of jewelry.   You may see me in jogging pants and a sweat shirt but I will ALWAYS have on my jewelry.   I may be on the treadmill at our local gym but you can place your bet that I have on my jewelry.   It comes as natural to me as make up comes to others.   Believe it or not, there’s so much more to choosing a piece of jewelry than simply visual appeal. In fact, the jewelry that you wear says a lot about your personality.

If you have a fun and flirty personality, consider wearing a pair of large hoop earrings. This stylish design is more than just a fad; it is better described as being a classic trend. In addition to looking great, a large pair of hoops will tell others that you are easy-going and have a great sense of fashion.

The Spring/Summer fashion is large necklaces and HUGE earrings.   Those earrings often resemble the ones we wore in the 1980’s.   They make a statement.   These days, you cannot flip through a magazine or turn on the television without seeing a circle necklace. In addition to being in style, this popular design says that you are open to new things. After all, a circle itself is open by its very design. As with large hoop earrings, sporting a circle necklace lets others know that you have an eye on current fashion trends and can appreciate attention to detail.

Pearls are a classic. They are worn in weddings, to dinner parties and even at work. If you wear pearls, you are conveying a message of elegance and style. Just as the jewelry that you wear, you are letting others know that you believe in honoring the classics.

I love bling.   I love big and I love all things jewelry.   If what you’re after is a bold look, try wearing a ring with some ”bling.” A bold ring says that you are a bold woman who doesn’t’ lack in confidence. If you have a strong will and are not afraid to be noticed, a knuckle-to-knuckle design or a ring with a lot of sparkle will be the perfect choice for you. (I haven’t been brave enough to try this one, yet.)

When I learned that my choice of jewelry actually can and does flatter or not my figure I really got interested.    We know that the right belt, the specific seam in a dress, the type of leg in a pair of pants, the length of sleeve speak loudly but so does the style and type of jewelry you wear?   Your choice in accessories is often as important as the apparel that you wear, especially if your goal is to distract away from your problem area(s). If you want to look marvelous in minutes, consider wearing some of your brightest designs in jewelry. A large bracelet or a group of smaller ones will draw attention to your wrist, while a necklace will draw attention to your face. Specifically, a layered look in necklaces, either a multi-strand design or several necklaces worn together, may help to disguise other imperfections as the eyes of others are drawn toward your jewelry and not your figure flaws.

I am Billie Kay Caldwell, Your Perfect Fit Realtor.   Yes, I love my jewelry but my expertise is real estate.  Give me a call today for all your real estate needs.   931-434-0516.

April 1, 2014

                                                      SPRING BREAK —   B R E A K  !!!
I confess, my husband and I try to take a long weekend or a night away every other month.   Yes, we are empty nesters so that makes it a little easier for us to get away.   Lately we have been working diligently to find a date we could take a little trip.   Between work, serving on committees, church, children, grandchildren and day to day activities we stay busy.   We are planning a Spring Break to regenerate ourselves.   We have 4 children and 3 of the 4 have already scheduled their trips but for some reason we haven’t taken the time to make a plan.   Recently one of the children explained to me how she needed a break that she was so tired of her day to day activities she just needed a rest.  Few people know how to rest these days.  Even on vacation, many of us take work with us in one form or another.   If not work then we are rushing around to see everything there is to see in the area.   Sometimes we come home needing a vacation from our vacation.  Then upon return we spend twice as much time catching up on emails, snail mail, meetings, and appointments and more than have accumulated during our absence.   I sometimes catch us looking for rest in all the wrong places.
 
Jesus said “Come to me… and I will give you rest.”   Like peace, rest and pure contentment can only be found in one place, it can only come from one source and that is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ.
 
Jesus will give us the perfect rest.   He will give us the strength we need to move around the worldly things, to put them in their respective place.   The Bible teaches us to rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead.   We seem to forget that Jesus Christ has already taken care of our tomorrows.  Thank you Jesus for taking care of us!

When it comes to Real Estate, Please give me a call to take care of your needs.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”.  The lake is really, really beautiful each morning as I enjoy my coffee watching all of the lake and the nature surrounding.  Your piece of paradise is waiting for you!!  Don’t wait, call today!!

 

March 14,2014

Buying a Home New or Used

Buying a used home/existing home has its advantages.   Sometimes these homes can have lower property taxes and are often situated in established neighborhoods with a charm that new structures simply cannot have.    It’s also a fact that buying a new home may take a longer wait than purchasing existing.   New or used there are always things to look at and be aware of.   I have listed just a few things to notice when purchasing a previously owned home.

First notice and inspect the structure.  Older homes may have structural problems that can be quite costly. For example, be sure to inquire about the foundation. Have there ever been cracks or other problems with the foundation? What type of foundation is it, what materials is it made of, and when was it built? According to Bank Rate, homes built in the 1960s and before did not usually have sealed concrete, which may lead to cracks and leaks. A cracked foundation may even cause radon buildup in the home. Staircases may also need to be remodeled to ensure adequate support.

Next notice the safety or lack of safety in the house.  Older homes may pose a variety of safety concerns. Be sure to have an older home tested for asbestos and lead, which were commonly found in insulation, paint and even floor tiles. Mold can also accumulate in older homes, so inspect properties for any moisture damage on walls, particularly in the basement. Some older homes were built before electrical safety codes went into effect, so be sure that all electrical circuits are safely installed and grounded. A new electrical box may also be necessary, since use of electricity has most likely increased since older homes were built.

Now take a look at the space and measure each room individually as well as measure the outside area of the home.   An older home may have unnecessary rooms, such as formal dining rooms or sitting rooms, that are not quite as practical in contemporary times. On the other hand, for those who prefer a more formal atmosphere, this may in fact be an advantage. Also keep in mind that larger, older homes are probably not as energy-efficient as new homes, which tend to be designed and built with cost-effectiveness in mind.

If you are buying new or used I always, always recommend a Home Inspection done by a certified Home Inspector.   This will be the best money you ever spend.   Ask your Realtor for references of Home Inspectors in your area. 

 

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to show signs of recovery.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

MARCH 10, 2014

 Springtime Energy Tips

Need to save a little money this spring?   Follow these easy steps and you can save some money this season.  

Bathroom:

1)Install water saving showerheads in all your shower/tubs.   This will reduce the hot water use without cutting down on the
    amount of time you spend in the shower.
2)While you are washing face, shaving or brushing your teeth don’t keep the hot water running.
3)Purchase a cheap egg timer and time your shower.   Cutting down the time for your shower will equal not spending money down
    the drain.

Kitchen:

1)Hot air builds up when cooking so to avoid this always run the exhaust fan during this time.
2)Take a couple of days a week and plan it as “No Stove Day”.   Grill, microwave or small countertop appliances are good
    alternatives to heating the stove.
3)Ceiling fans are not only good in the bedrooms but also in the kitchen to keep the air circulating.

Cooling:

1)If in need of new air conditioning needs look into an attic ventilator.    This can provide almost as much comfort as an air
    conditioner but at a much lower price.   The attic ventilator simply brings cool air up through your home and you simply pump cool
    air in during the evening hours.
2)To keep the cool air in during the hot months keep doors and window shut tightly.   Try lowering the blinds and keeping them
    closed during the day to keep the heat out.

Refrigerator:

1)The seals in your refrigerator are one of the most basic places the cool air escapes so always check on the seals.   To increase the 
    life of the seals keep them soft as well as clean.   I use baby oil.  Remember that seals for refrigerator and freezer need to be
    cleaned and oiled once per mt.
2)Like all other area in the home the refrigerator needs to be clean and dust free.   Under the refrigerator as well as the coils.   When
    the coils are clean the air is allowed to circulate and flow more freely.
3) Keep in mind that the refrigerator is responsible for up to 11% of the energy used in your household.
 
I would also be honored to assist you with your real estate questions and transactions.  I am YOUR PERFECT FIT realtor!  Buying, Selling, or just plain ole advise, give me, Billie Kay Caldwell, a call, 931-434-0516 .

March 3, 2014

Buyer’s Remorse

 

I have been in the Real Estate business for over 8 years now and I have helped sell and buy countless homes.   I recently had a young couple who were so excited about purchasing their first home.   We went through all the process and at the last minute the husband got Buyer’s Remorse?   What is buyer’s remorse?  It is the term given to the feeling a person often gets after making a large purchase. Although excited at the time of the purchase, once they’ve spent a lot of money, many people feel a deep regret and concern that they made the wrong decision, referred to as buyer’s remorse.

Yes, it can happen to even you.   Buyer’s remorse takes many different forms; most of them typified by a high level of anxiety, usually about having made a big decision you were slightly undecided about.    Sometimes buyer’s remorse strikes when a person makes a purchase they may not have actually had the money or credit for, and after buying it they begin to realize that they were living well outside of their means, and worry begins to grow over the consequences. This is especially true of purchases such as buying a new home, which is one of the most common triggers for buyer’s remorse, due in no small part to the huge amounts of money usually involved.

Buyer’s remorse may also express itself as extreme guilt over the buying act itself. Psychologically, buyer’s remorse makes perfect sense. A consumer switches from one state to another when making a purchase, where the state before they’ve made the purchase has enormous positive influence, and the purchase afterward loses a great deal of that. Before making a purchase, a buyer is faced with a great deal of choices, giving them a sense of agency and power in the world. They have money or credit to spend, and get to exert their dominance over the marketplace by placing their purchasing power.

After the purchase, however, all options have vanished. Buyer’s remorse may set in as they see themselves locked into a single decision, which may or may not have been the best, and seek their purchasing power reduced. No longer acting from a position of control, many people react by seeking to distance themselves from the purchasing act, to reaffirm their sense of having had a wide field of choices. Buyer’s remorse is, in this way, seen as a very simple state of cognitive dissonance, where the desire to retain complete control and infinite possibilities clashes with the reality of actually exerting that control by limiting those possibilities.

So remember that buyers remorse is not uncommon but if you can afford the purchase and you want the purchase then trust and go for it. 

I will help you in any way I can.  Remember, I am Billie Kay Caldwell, your PERFECT FIT REALTOR.  Give me a call today at

931-434-0516.

March 1, 2014

Working With a Real Estate Agent

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully..  

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies.  

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.   

Please give me a call today.  The spring market is starting to gear up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

FEBRUARY 17, 2014      

                                  OBTAINING A HOME LOAN

Obtaining a home loan is often a complicated endeavor. In particular, there are a number of details to consider when searching for a home loan that is right for you. Here are just a few loan details to pay close attention to when researching your home loan options:

 

  • Rates – A home loan rate is likely the first detail you will take into consideration when shopping for home loans.  When researching your home loan options, ask your local lender for a comprehensive list of current interest rates, and ask if the listed rate is good for the day or the week. In addition, ask whether the rate is for a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage, and ask about the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). The APR, unlike the interest rate, includes the rate of the loan, as well as any points or broker fees on the loan, thereby providing you with a more accurate financial picture.
  • Points – The points of a loan are often an important consideration, as they are tied into the interest rate offered by the lender. Typically, the more points you pay the lower interest rate the lender may offer.
  • Fees – A home loan isn’t just about the interest rate. Instead, home loan fees can add up, both when you apply for the loan and at closing. Just some of the fees charged by lenders include: loan origination fees, underwriting fees, broker fees, and transaction, settlement and closing costs. Some of the fees charged by the lender are negotiable; some are not. The lender should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of loan fees so you can clearly see how much money you will pay for the loan. In addition, there are a number of lenders offering “no cost” loans, which means all those fees are rolled into the cost of the loan. As such, no cost loans typically come with higher interest rates.
  • Private mortgage insurance – Part of your home loan may include a private mortgage insurance payment. If you are unable to provide at least 20 percent of the cost of the property as a down payment, your lender may require that you pay private mortgage insurance. Although the total cost of private mortgage insurance is low when compared to your overall mortgage payment, it nevertheless should be taken into consideration when applying for a home loan.

If you have more questions or need a lender referral, please give me a call at 931-434-0516.

Thanks, Kay  “The Perfect Fit” for you!!

 

February 12,2014

HOME REPAIRS

If you want to sell your home but you happen to have a home that needs repairs, chances are you will not have an easy time selling it. Why? Because homebuyers aren’t usually searching for a home that requires them to devote their weekends to improving it.

Many times, when a home requires work, even work that some would say is minimal, it is met with discouragement and unhappiness by prospective homebuyers, so here are the reasons why home sellers who visit homes that need repairs tend not to bite.

You might think that the repairs are not major, and maybe you’re right, but if you don’t make up for it in some way or other, chances are many buyers will walk.

Perhaps you think that the sunshine yellow kitchen is stunning and gorgeous, but as you try to sell the acquired look to the buyers, they may not see things the same way you do.

There’s a reason why most home stagers recommend that you go neutral when staging your home for sale. Neutral palettes allow buyers to see themselves in a home and make it their own. Pushing your preferences on them or getting them to say that it’s lovely is not a good idea.

 

Perhaps your gold hardware (door handles, faucets, etc.) were incredibly expensive when you purchased or built your home, but that doesn’t mean that they hold the same value to a potential homebuyer. Rather than explain that they were expensive, perhaps it might be best to let them know how easy they are to change or better yet, replace them with more modern pieces.

It’s sort of a catch-22, but if you end up repairing the roof, you can’t simply tack an extra $20,000 on to your selling price; and if you don’t make the repairs, your selling price will have to reflect the need for its repair.

Ideally, however, if you want to sell your home as soon as you put it on the market, it would serve you best to repair any issues you have with the home and replace old items like furnaces, roofs, or windows. Sure, it may be costly, but you could either bite the bullet and make the repairs and sell in a timely manner or take a chance and hope that someone who is prepared to buy the home and perform the work needed comes along.

Your best bet is to get a home inspection done beforehand and figure out what you can afford to fix and what simply is not worth fixing and then let your selling price reflect that.

Let me know if you wish to discuss the “state of your home.”  Together we will make the “Perfect Fit.”  I look forward to hearing from you.  Call me at 931-434-0516.

 

 

 

January 31, 2014

WHY HASN’T YOUR HOME SOLD

So, your home didn’t sell when you listed it FOR SALE BY OWNER?   How about, your home didn’t sell when you listed with another agency?  
 
That reality is, unfortunately, quite common in today’s challenging real estate market. If you are a homeowner dealing with the predicament of an expired listing, it may be time to rethink your strategy. In other words, now may be the time to turn to a different agent.   This time find a agent who wants you active in the selling.   You know your home so much better than anyone else so it only makes sense that you should be helpful in the selling.   The OLD saying think outside the box really is OLD.   In today’s market you just might have to create a new box.
 
The Caldwell Team ( Kay and Roger ) have knowledge and are highly skilled when it comes to taking on expired listings. Our team will examine your home’s previous pricing and marketing strategy and come up with a new strategy that is sure to get your home sold – once and for all!
 
If you are stuck with an expired listing, there are likely two reasons why it hasn’t sold:
 
  • Price – Price is the number-one reason homes sit on the market longer than necessary, and price is the main reason why listings expire. If your home is not priced right, it can spell disaster when buyers begin comparing it to similar homes on the market. Many times, buyers won’t even view an overpriced home, thereby leaving you in a     predicament when it comes to selling your home in a reasonable amount of  time.   A credible Real Estate agent will work with you to come up with a reasonable     pricing strategy for your home based on recent comparables and the features of your home. Remember: a properly priced home will sell!   And if priced properly it will sell FAST.
  • Exposure – If your expired listing failed to attract the appropriate traffic from potential buyers and their agents, it is time to reconsider your previous agent’s marketing strategy. The Caldwell’s have a strong Internet presence, thereby allowing us to immediately get your home in front of potential buyers. Our proven marketing strategies,  as well as our strong Internet presence, will allow your home to be seen by the most buyers, thereby increasing your chances of getting it sold.
 
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!  We are the PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

 

January 14, 2014

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREDIT SCORES

Today’s market is all about the credit score.   Whether or not you qualify for a loan or not begins and ends with the credit score.   I thought it might be interesting to give you information regarding credit scores.   This information was obtained from  http://credit-score-range.org.

  • 400-450 – This credit score is considered to be the lowest possible credit a person can have. Anything that comes back on your credit report that is lower than the score simply means you either do not have credit, or you are not credit worthy.
  • 450-500 – With a credit score 450 to 500, you are still considered to be in a very low credit status. There may be a lot of different imperfections on your credit report that need immediate attention. This could also mean that you simply do not have credit of any type, and a lender or creditor will not move forward with providing credit as long as this score stays where it is.
  • 500-550 –This credit score is not even considered average but still below average.  Although you may be able to obtain credit, you will pay some of the highest interest rates that are available.
  • 550-600 – Still below average and like 500 to 550 credit score range you sill be at the mercy of the creditors for interest rates.
  • 600-650 – Considered the lower average range it is typical for millions of people. 600 to 650 will not imply that you have perfect credit; however, it does not imply that your credit history should be overlooked when applying for credit from a creditor.  You will also discover that there are higher interest rates; however, they will not be as high as anything at a lower range. If your credit score falls within this range, there are probably a couple of minor issues that will need to be taken care of
  • 650-700 – Considered the higher average range you will more than likely be able to qualify for loans of every different type. Although this isn’t the ultimate range, and you may pay a higher interest rate, you will surely secure a loan. If your credit score falls within this range, you may want to have a look at your credit report and find out if there are any issues you can take care of right away.
  • 700-750 – This average is considered above average and you will not have any problem acquiring credit.   This is an area everyone should hope for or aim to achieve. You will not have any problem obtaining credit for any creditor because you will be considered to be credit worthy.
  • 750 and up – Superior and top of the line scores.   When people ask what is highest credit score you can get the answer is 750 and up.  If you have a credit score that is 750 and above, you’ll be happy to know that you have excellent credit score! With a credit score range of 750 and above, you will have a wide variety of options open to you when it comes to applying for credit anywhere and for anything.

If you are in the market for a home or for a lender recommendation, please give me a call today.  For all the home listings, please visit www.billiekaycaldwell.com .  Together we will make the perfect fit as I am YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR!!  Please give me a call 931-434-0516 .

 

 

October 25, 2013

What is the Market Going to Do?
“WOW, Two Months From Today Is Christmas!  Just a Thought!”

If this is your year to buy a home or sell a home you might want to get started “TODAY”.   With that being said it is important to let you know that “The Experts” are saying the market  is recovering in 2013.  It appears no one can agree answer.   There is no crystal ball to give us the perfect prediction to today’s market.  But, from what i see and have experienced in 2013 is that if a home is well maintained and  priced  correctly, IT WILL SELL.  There are buyers in the market.

Many of today’s forecaster “Experts” are talking about stabilization.   This appears to be the buzz word for today’s market and we finish 2013 and move into 2014.   Stabilization may not sound like a good thing for a homeowner hoping to regain some of that lost equity but it is the first step in the process of regaining a normal market.  

The general consensus is don’t look for huge increases in buyers or in sellers next year.   The demand will not be overwhelming but it will be steady.  Once again we use that word, it will be “Stable”.  

It appears poor prices have been a huge deterrent for many home owners and has kept them from putting their homes on the market.   If our market sees a modest price increase, even as little as 4% it will encourage many sellers to list which will add to the inventory.   This stabilized the market because sellers will be moving up to buy a larger house adding to the demand.

Because of recent high-highs and low-lows in the market forecasters have learned to hedge their predictions so always remember it is just that.   It is a “Prediction”.   There are so many possibilities that could change the prediction.   Always take into consideration what is best for you.  

For your real estate questions, give me a call today.  I am your PERFECT FIT REALTOR.  931-434-0516.  Let’s get a jump on next year by starting today!

 

October 17,2013

HOME REPAIRS

If you want to sell your home but you happen to have a home that needs repairs, chances are you will not have an easy time selling it. Why? Because homebuyers aren’t usually searching for a home that requires them to devote their weekends to improving it.

Many times, when a home requires work, even work that some would say is minimal, it is met with discouragement and unhappiness by prospective homebuyers, so here are the reasons why home sellers who visit homes that need repairs tend not to bite.

You might think that the repairs are not major, and maybe you’re right, but if you don’t make up for it in some way or other, chances are many buyers will walk.

Perhaps you think that the sunshine yellow kitchen is stunning and gorgeous, but as you try to sell the acquired look to the buyers, they may not see things the same way you do.

There’s a reason why most home stagers recommend that you go neutral when staging your home for sale. Neutral palettes allow buyers to see themselves in a home and make it their own. Pushing your preferences on them or getting them to say that it’s lovely is not a good idea.

 

Perhaps your gold hardware (door handles, faucets, etc.) were incredibly expensive when you purchased or built your home, but that doesn’t mean that they hold the same value to a potential homebuyer. Rather than explain that they were expensive, perhaps it might be best to let them know how easy they are to change or better yet, replace them with more modern pieces.

It’s sort of a catch-22, but if you end up repairing the roof, you can’t simply tack an extra $20,000 on to your selling price; and if you don’t make the repairs, your selling price will have to reflect the need for its repair.

Ideally, however, if you want to sell your home as soon as you put it on the market, it would serve you best to repair any issues you have with the home and replace old items like furnaces, roofs, or windows. Sure, it may be costly, but you could either bite the bullet and make the repairs and sell in a timely manner or take a chance and hope that someone who is prepared to buy the home and perform the work needed comes along.

Your best bet is to get a home inspection done beforehand and figure out what you can afford to fix and what simply is not worth fixing and then let your selling price reflect that.

Let me know if you wish to discuss the “state of your home.”  Together we will make the “Perfect Fit.”  I look forward to hearing from you.  Call me at 931-434-0516.

 

August 15, 2013

WHY HASN’T YOUR HOME SOLD

So, your home didn’t sell when you listed it FOR SALE BY OWNER?   How about, your home didn’t sell when you listed with another agency?  
 
That reality is, unfortunately, quite common in today’s challenging real estate market. If you are a homeowner dealing with the predicament of an expired listing, it may be time to rethink your strategy. In other words, now may be the time to turn to a different agent.   This time find a agent who wants you active in the selling.   You know your home so much better than anyone else so it only makes sense that you should be helpful in the selling.   The OLD saying think outside the box really is OLD.   In today’s market you just might have to create a new box.
 
The Caldwell Team ( Kay and Roger ) have knowledge and are highly skilled when it comes to taking on expired listings. Our team will examine your home’s previous pricing and marketing strategy and come up with a new strategy that is sure to get your home sold – once and for all!
 
If you are stuck with an expired listing, there are likely two reasons why it hasn’t sold:
 
  • Price – Price is the number-one reason homes sit on the market longer than necessary, and price is the main reason why listings expire. If your home is not priced right, it can spell disaster when buyers begin comparing it to similar homes on the market. Many times, buyers won’t even view an overpriced home, thereby leaving you in a     predicament when it comes to selling your home in a reasonable amount of  time.   A credible Real Estate agent will work with you to come up with a reasonable     pricing strategy for your home based on recent comparables and the features of your home. Remember: a properly priced home will sell!   And if priced properly it will sell FAST.
  • Exposure – If your expired listing failed to attract the appropriate traffic from potential buyers and their agents, it is time to reconsider your previous agent’s marketing strategy. The Caldwell’s have a strong Internet presence, thereby allowing us to immediately get your home in front of potential buyers. Our proven marketing strategies,  as well as our strong Internet presence, will allow your home to be seen by the most buyers, thereby increasing your chances of getting it sold.
 
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!  We are the PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

 

August 10, 2013

TODAY’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT

God made us all so very different.  Someone else’s enthusiasm is an often undervalued asset. When it comes to sparking a passion — be it for a hobby, career, or calling — we often find our greatest inspiration in other people’s personal excitement for something.
I think we all recognize that people who truly excel at something do so not through practice alone. Yes, you can be good at something through hard work, but true exceptionality in a field only comes through the mechanism of a deeper love and dedication.
This week, I’d like to ask you three simple questions. You don’t have to reply to me (though you’re welcome to), but perhaps they will help inspire you or possibly change your perspective:
1. What do you love?
2. Was there someone that inspired you to love it?
3. Has your love for it inspired someone else?
Think about it!
One of the things I love is helping my clients get a good deal on the home of their dreams.  So, if you’re in the market to buy or sell, I am your PERFECT FIT REALTOR, Billie Kay Caldwell.  Give me a call today, 931-434-0516!

 

July 29, 2013

Stronger Housing, Higher Rates

In the last week of May, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Capitol Hill comments sent shockwaves through financial markets.

The aftermath that ensued in Stock and Bond markets was due to investor-wide fears that the Fed would taper its “Quantitative Easing” program. QE is the Fed’s effort to stimulate the economy by buying Treasuries and Bonds. And in case you forgot, the Fed represents the nation’s policymakers who set the country’s interest rates and monitor its general economic health.

Tapering fears were confirmed at a mid-June Washington news conference, when Bernanke stated that the central bank was indeed ready to slow QE. And despite the average 30 year fixed rate increasing to just under 4 percent from 3.35 percent in early May, Bernanke said the rise was not “so dramatic” as he suggested the housing market may be strong enough to withstand higher borrowing costs.

This is good news regarding the nation’s economic health. Home prices in 20 metropolitan areas have increased 10.9 percent in the 12 months through March, the biggest gain in seven years, as residential real estate is also bolstered by an influx of institutional buyers, limited supply and an improving job market, according to Bloomberg and S&P/Case-Shiller index data released May 28.
Though home loan rates have risen in recent weeks, they remain attractive by historical standards. Fence sitters locked in rates for fear they will go higher, as witnessed by mortgage applications rising in mid-June, after falling for three consecutive weeks.
Adding fuel to Stock and Bond market fluctuations are European and Asian markets. May and June were relatively calm, but Japan’s Nikkei Index moved into bear market territory in mid-June, causing markets in Europe and the U.S. to take notice.

In short, summer 2013 should be a very busy time for home buyers and realtors. Inventory is low and buyers are jumping on viable properties and locking in home loan rates, which means secured closings in your pipeline.

Don’t miss the boat.  Now is the time to still get a good deal on a home and stull retain a low interest rate.  Who knows when this will end.  ACT NOW!!

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

July 9, 2013

Working With a Real Estate Agent

 

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully.. 

 

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies. 

 

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.  

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

July 4, 2013

                                                             DOWNSIZING

 

I WISH ALL MY READERS A VERY BLESSED 4th of JULY.

Lots of folks today are down sizing.   Some folks are moving from beautiful, large homes to smaller town homes, a smaller home or a condo. 
Downsizing from a spacious home to a smaller residence can often pose a few problems.
In particular, purchasing a smaller residence may require you to get creative with your space. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can make your space quite comfortable.
Here are a few ideas for making your smaller space feel more spacious:
  • Cut down on the clutter – Too many things inside your original home will instantly make the space feel smaller. It is therefore always a good idea to take a few days and decide which things will stay and which things no longer have a place in your new space – or your life. When cutting down on the clutter, ask yourself if you’ve used this item within the last year. If it hasn’t seen the light of day, it is probably time to get rid of it. Before tossing your unwanted belongings, however, consider what you can donate, sell or gift to friends.
  • Think in terms of scale – Furniture that doesn’t fit the size of your rooms will likely create a disconnect in terms of comfort and style. In other words, larger pieces that may have fit nicely in your single-family home may simply be too large or awkward to fit into a smaller condo space. Too many pieces of furniture in any space will make it feel tight and claustrophobic, so consider eliminating any extraneous pieces from your home.
  • Consider multi-purpose furniture – When furnishing a condo or other small space, consider purchasing furniture that has multiple purposes. A coffee table with storage, an ottoman with storage or a sofa that folds out for a guest bed are all great ideas for furniture.
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!
 
We are your PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

May 4, 2013

My House Hasn’t Sold, Now What?

So, your home didn’t sell when you listed it FOR SALE BY OWNER?   How about, your home didn’t sell when you listed with another agency?  
 
That reality is, unfortunately, quite common in today’s challenging real estate market. If you are a homeowner dealing with the predicament of an expired listing, it may be time to rethink your strategy. In other words, now may be the time to turn to a different agent.   This time find a agent who wants you active in the selling.   You know your home so much better than anyone else so it only makes sense that you should be helpful in the selling.   The OLD saying think outside the box really is OLD.   In today’s market you just might have to create a new box.
 
The Caldwell Team ( Kay and Roger ) have knowledge and are highly skilled when it comes to taking on expired listings. Our team will examine your home’s previous pricing and marketing strategy and come up with a new strategy that is sure to get your home sold – once and for all!
 
If you are stuck with an expired listing, there are likely two reasons why it hasn’t sold:
 
  • Price – Price is the number-one reason homes sit on the  market longer than necessary, and price is the main reason why listings expire. If your home is not priced right, it can spell disaster when buyers begin comparing it to similar homes on the market. Many times, buyers won’t even view an overpriced home, thereby leaving you in a predicament when it comes to selling your home in a reasonable amount of time. A VIP Realty agent will work with you to come up with a reasonable pricing strategy for your home based on recent comparables and the features of your home. Remember: a properly priced home will sell!   And if priced properly it will sell     FAST.
  • Exposure – If your expired listing failed to attract the appropriate traffic from potential buyers and their agents, it is time to reconsider your previous agent’s marketing strategy. The Caldwell’s have a strong Internet presence, thereby allowing us to immediately get your home in front of potential buyers. Our proven marketing strategies, as well as our strong Internet presence, will allow your home to be seen by the most buyers, thereby increasing your chances of getting it sold.
 
Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell 931-434-0516 or 931-205-3329 to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!
We are your PERFECT FIT REALTORS!

April 27, 2013

UNENDING FLOW
My Bible Verse today was Psalm 36:9 “With you is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”    This verse resonated with me because some days I find myself looking for happiness only from my outward circumstances.    As longs as my life is untouched, no troubles I have a tendency to feel happy.   However, if illness, sadness, death or turmoil strikes my happiness seems to run away.   What type of ministry am I witnessing to others?   Where is my strength?   My strength cometh from the Lord.   Yet how frequently do I forget that my joy comes from the Lord also.
A few miles from our house is this wonderful spring that appears to come out of the side of a hill.  It appears to never change much in its flow.   During drought it slows some but never stops the constant flow.   During rainy season it might be a little stronger but never gushes in its flow.    I passed this stream the other day while traveling and thought how steady, reliable and unending this flow of water appears.  
This stream, this unending flow is the peace we all yearn for and we find this peace by simply turning to God.   Jesus promises to all who trust in Him:  “The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life….. My peace I give to you” (John 4:14; 14:27)
Have you stopped long enough to be thankful for that unending stream?   Have you recognized that our ending stream is Christ our Lord?  Today… right now I stop to give heartfelt, unending thanks for my stream.   The Good and the Bad, both circumstances, because through Christ I can overcome anything but before me.

Wow, how this puts things in perspective!!

When it comes to Real Estate, Please give me a call to take care of your needs.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”.  The lake is really, really beautiful each morning as I enjoy my coffee watching all of the lake and the nature surrounding.  Your piece of paradise is waiting for you!!  Don’t wait, call today!!

 

April 15, 2013 

In The Blink Of An Eye

A perfect compare to the Boston Marathoners today.  Do you think any of the injured thought that in the blink of an eye everything about their life would change.  We never know!!

It’s true the smallest thing can change your life. In the blink of an eye, in the intake of a breath something happens by chance (or faith or intention) when you least expect it, and it changes your course for life.   My husband is the manager of a utility company and recently he showed me some pictures of men working on electrical lines in approx. 1932.   These guys were just hanging there with no safety ropes.   Leaning on lines, sitting on a line like a swing or walking like a tight rope they seemed so secure.  There was no fear or doubt on their faces in the pictures.   I, on the other hand, would have been holding on for dear life itself.  Today’s electrical linemen have bucket trucks as well as tie off lines to keep them from falling.   Today’s work force have several safety nets in place.   We have a HUGE safety net in our Lord.   Today I am blessed I have the saving grace of God, incredible family and friends, and amazing opportunities, yet despite that foundational stability and a history of past “leaps” resulting in fruitful endeavors, I still struggle with letting go and stepping off at times.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
This verse alone should be enough for any of us to trust our desires and dreams to the Lord.
Most of us would whole-heartily acknowledge He has our best interest in mind and knows the plans He has for us. However, when it comes to jumping off of our (somewhat comfortable) perch or letting go of our (safety) rope, many of us wait until we are assured of the next step and can visibly see (or hold) that next rein before letting go, oftentimes too late (and missing that opportunity).
Our actions become based more upon calculated, self-determined moves rather than faith in His plan and taking intentional steps towards it.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).
This verse is one of the most prayed passages in the Bible. Some of us pray it at meals, sing the lyrics at church, or recite it before competition. Even many “non-believers” know the words verbatim as a result of their catechism upbringing.
However, most of the time when I hear this passage recited, it is done in a solemn, monotone, almost “Eeyore-style,” downplaying or silencing our voices on the word “thy.” It has become a verse some of us have grown to “neglect” or (unintentionally) “reinterpret” over the years.
When it comes to Real Estate, Please give me a call to take care of your needs.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”.  The lake is really, really beautiful each morning as I enjoy my coffee watching all of the lake and the nature surrounding.  Your piece of paradise is waiting for you!!  Don’t wait, call today!!

 

April 10, 2013

                                                      SPRING BREAK —   B R E A K  !!!
I confess, my husband and I try to take a long weekend or a night away every other month.   Yes, we are empty nesters so that makes it a little easier for us to get away.   Lately we have been working diligently to find a date we could take a little trip.   Between work, serving on committies, church, children, grandchildren and day to day activities we stay busy.   We are planning a Spring Break to regenerate ourselves.   We have 4 children and 3 of the 4 have already scheduled their trips but for some reason we haven’t taken the time to make a plan.   Recently one of the children explained to me how she needed a break that she was so tired of her day to day activities she just needed a rest.  Few people know how to rest these days.  Even on vacation, many of us take work with us in one form or another.   If not work then we are rushing around to see everything there is to see in the area.   Sometimes we come home needing a vacation from our vacation.  Then upon return we spend twice as much time catching up on emails, snail mail, meetings, and appointments and more than have accumulated during our absence.   I sometimes catch us looking for rest in all the wrong places.
 
Jesus said “Come to me… and I will give you rest.”   Like peace, rest and pure contentment can only be found in one place, it can only come from one source and that is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ.
 
Jesus will give us the perfect rest.   He will give us the strength we need to move around the worldly things, to put them in their respective place.   The Bible teaches us to rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead.   We seem to forget that Jesus Christ has already taken care of our tomorrows.  Thank you Jesus for taking care of us!

When it comes to Real Estate, Please give me a call to take care of your needs.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”.  The lake is really, really beautiful each morning as I enjoy my coffee watching all of the lake and the nature surrounding.  Your piece of paradise is waiting for you!!  Don’t wait, call today!!

 

 

March 31, 2013

Buying a Home New or Used

Buying a used home/existing home has its advantages.   Sometimes these homes can have lower property taxes and are often situated in established neighborhoods with a charm that new structures simply cannot have.    It’s also a fact that buying a new home may take a longer wait than purchasing existing.   New or used there are always things to look at and be aware of.   I have listed just a few things to notice when purchasing a previously owned home.

First notice and inspect the structure.  Older homes may have structural problems that can be quite costly. For example, be sure to inquire about the foundation. Have there ever been cracks or other problems with the foundation? What type of foundation is it, what materials is it made of, and when was it built? According to Bank Rate, homes built in the 1960s and before did not usually have sealed concrete, which may lead to cracks and leaks. A cracked foundation may even cause radon buildup in the home. Staircases may also need to be remodeled to ensure adequate support.

Next notice the safety or lack of safety in the house.  Older homes may pose a variety of safety concerns. Be sure to have an older home tested for asbestos and lead, which were commonly found in insulation, paint and even floor tiles. Mold can also accumulate in older homes, so inspect properties for any moisture damage on walls, particularly in the basement. Some older homes were built before electrical safety codes went into effect, so be sure that all electrical circuits are safely installed and grounded. A new electrical box may also be necessary, since use of electricity has most likely increased since older homes were built.

Now take a look at the space and measure each room individually as well as measure the outside area of the home.   An older home may have unnecessary rooms, such as formal dining rooms or sitting rooms, that are not quite as practical in contemporary times. On the other hand, for those who prefer a more formal atmosphere, this may in fact be an advantage. Also keep in mind that larger, older homes are probably not as energy-efficient as new homes, which tend to be designed and built with cost-effectiveness in mind.

If you are buying new or used I always, always recommend a Home Inspection done by a certified Home Inspector.   This will be the best money you ever spend.   Ask your Realtor for references of Home Inspectors in your area. 

 

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516, “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

March 25, 2013

Know me Know my Jewelry

 

What is your tag?  I am best known in our little small town for my love of jewelry.   You may see me in jogging pants and a sweat shirt but I will ALWAYS have on my jewelry.   I may be on the treadmill at our local gym but you can place your bet that I have on my jewelry.   It comes as natural to me as make up comes to others.   Believe it or not, there’s so much more to choosing a piece of jewelry than simply visual appeal. In fact, the jewelry that you wear says a lot about your personality.

If you have a fun and flirty personality, consider wearing a pair of large hoop earrings. This stylish design is more than just a fad; it is better described as being a classic trend. In addition to looking great, a large pair of hoops will tell others that you are easy-going and have a great sense of fashion.

The Spring/Summer fashion is large necklaces and HUGE earrings.   Those earrings often resemble the ones we wore in the 1980’s.   They make a statement.   These days, you cannot flip through a magazine or turn on the television without seeing a circle necklace. In addition to being in style, this popular design says that you are open to new things. After all, a circle itself is open by its very design. As with large hoop earrings, sporting a circle necklace lets others know that you have an eye on current fashion trends and can appreciate attention to detail.

Pearls are a classic. They are worn in weddings, to dinner parties and even at work. If you wear pearls, you are conveying a message of elegance and style. Just as the jewelry that you wear, you are letting others know that you believe in honoring the classics.

I love bling.   I love big and I love all things jewelry.   If what you’re after is a bold look, try wearing a ring with some ”bling.” A bold ring says that you are a bold woman who doesn’t’ lack in confidence. If you have a strong will and are not afraid to be noticed, a knuckle-to-knuckle design or a ring with a lot of sparkle will be the perfect choice for you. (I haven’t been brave enough to try this one, yet.)

When I learned that my choice of jewelry actually can and does flatter or not my figure I really got interested.    We know that the right belt, the specific seam in a dress, the type of leg in a pair of pants, the length of sleeve speak loudly but so does the style and type of jewelry you wear?   Your choice in accessories is often as important as the apparel that you wear, especially if your goal is to distract away from your problem area(s). If you want to look marvelous in minutes, consider wearing some of your brightest designs in jewelry. A large bracelet or a group of smaller ones will draw attention to your wrist, while a necklace will draw attention to your face. Specifically, a layered look in necklaces, either a multi-strand design or several necklaces worn together, may help to disguise other imperfections as the eyes of others are drawn toward your jewelry and not your figure flaws.

I am Billie Kay Caldwell, Your Perfect Fit Realtor.   Yes, I love my jewelry but my expertise is real estate.  Give me a call today for all your real estate needs.   931-434-0516.

March 18, 2013

Competing in the Spring Home Buying Market

If you’re like a lot of people and decide to buy a home in April, you’ll have to be ready to jump on the home you want. Don’t be indecisive. Don’t try to sleep on it. When you find it, make an offer. Here are other tips to help you to win that offer:

  • Get preapproved by a local lender. It could be a local bank or a local mortgage broker, but don’t try to compete with an online lender approval letter or an out-of-area mortgage lender letter. Offers that contain a local lender’s preapproval letter will probably get preference.
  • Focus on the house, not the owner. Don’t get all hung up on whether the home is a foreclosure, a short sale or owned by a traditional seller. Concentrate on location, location, location, and look for homes that meet your basic requirements. If a market is dominated by foreclosures and short sales, those prices will be the norm among traditional sellers.
  • Hire a neighborhood specialist. All real estate is local. A real estate agent who specializes in the area where you want to buy will be a wealth of information for you. Not to mention, that agent will probably be well known and respected among the area specialist listing agents. Working with an agent other agents like is a plus for you.
  • Decide on the price you want to give and don’t be an emotional buyer.  Some buyers focus on how much the seller is asking instead of on how much the home is worth. Ask your agent to show you a CMA of comparable sales to determine actual value. You can’t compare values by other homes on the market because sellers can ask whatever they want. If you are getting the home you want at a price you can afford, whether you pay $1,000 more or less makes no difference in the overall scheme of things.
  • Give the seller something other buyers will not.There are many terms contained in a purchase offer. Negotiation is not always all about price. You can give the seller a benefit to take your offer without actually waiving your rights. Ask your agent to make suggestions for you. It could be something as small as giving the sellers an extra day to move out.

Being new to town, you might want to spend a few weekends before the home buying season starts in spring and get to know the area. Talk to people in the street and at restaurants ask several individuals you meet what agent they recommend or who they use for their personal needs.  Drive around the community if there is a subdivision you like then park the car and walk the area.

But most of all, trust your intuition. Every first-time home buyer harbors a little bit of fear inside about buying a home, whether or not it’s spring. You simply have more company (competition)  in the spring. And there is often comfort in being part of larger numbers. If it feels right, just make the offer.

Remember, not every home buyer in the spring will buy a home. Moreover, some home buyers will buy a home they do not want. Following these tips can help to ensure that you won’t be counted among those people.

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

March 11, 2013

Buyer’s Remorse

 

I have been in the Real Estate business for over 8 years now and I have helped sell and buy countless homes.   I recently had a young couple who were so excited about purchasing their first home.   We went through all the process and at the last minute the husband got Buyer’s Remorse?   What is buyer’s remorse?  It is the term given to the feeling a person often gets after making a large purchase. Although excited at the time of the purchase, once they’ve spent a lot of money, many people feel a deep regret and concern that they made the wrong decision, referred to as buyer’s remorse.

Yes, it can happen to even you.   Buyer’s remorse takes many different forms; most of them typified by a high level of anxiety, usually about having made a big decision you were slightly undecided about.    Sometimes buyer’s remorse strikes when a person makes a purchase they may not have actually had the money or credit for, and after buying it they begin to realize that they were living well outside of their means, and worry begins to grow over the consequences. This is especially true of purchases such as buying a new home, which is one of the most common triggers for buyer’s remorse, due in no small part to the huge amounts of money usually involved.

Buyer’s remorse may also express itself as extreme guilt over the buying act itself. Psychologically, buyer’s remorse makes perfect sense. A consumer switches from one state to another when making a purchase, where the state before they’ve made the purchase has enormous positive influence, and the purchase afterward loses a great deal of that. Before making a purchase, a buyer is faced with a great deal of choices, giving them a sense of agency and power in the world. They have money or credit to spend, and get to exert their dominance over the marketplace by placing their purchasing power.

After the purchase, however, all options have vanished. Buyer’s remorse may set in as they see themselves locked into a single decision, which may or may not have been the best, and seek their purchasing power reduced. No longer acting from a position of control, many people react by seeking to distance themselves from the purchasing act, to reaffirm their sense of having had a wide field of choices. Buyer’s remorse is, in this way, seen as a very simple state of cognitive dissonance, where the desire to retain complete control and infinite possibilities clashes with the reality of actually exerting that control by limiting those possibilities.

So remember that buyers remorse is not uncommon but if you can afford the purchase and you want the purchase then trust and go for it. 

I will help you in any way I can.  Remember, I am Billie Kay Caldwell, your PERFECT FIT REALTOR.  Give me a call today at

931-434-0516.

 

 

March 5, 2013

Pricing the House – Is Low the way to go?

I wish there was an exact science on the perfect way to price a house.  The best we can do as agents is to provide you with a range of value.   However, this range is based on the current market and what the market will bear.   The range is based on Comparable sales in the area or as we in the business call it, “Comps”.  

If you have 2 similar homes with 2 completely different prices remember housing is not like the local grocery store.   Housing sets prices based on inventory, past sales in the area, the product, and several other local factors.  So sometimes you CAN have 2 similar homes even on the same street but they could have as much as a 10% difference in pricing.   

With our business we have something called the Flock mentality.   Buyers tend to flock to where other buyers are hovering. If three people seem serious about a property, then it must be a good value, location or both. Other potential buyers will likely become interested, too. In fact, the home will seem so desirable, or such a good value, to them that they’ll compete for it, ultimately paying the top of the value range — or higher.  That’s what we call “The Flock” mentality and every seller hopes it happens to them.

Another scenario to be aware of are clients going to the open house of the overpriced homes and don’t see anyone there, they’ll think there’s something missing maybe something wrong.  They don’t want to be the only one in the flock so they move on to another property or make a low offer.

So since there is no exact science the best advice is to listen to your Realtor.   There is just so much that your agent will know that you have no way of understanding.   Use that professional experience.   Use that advice and trust your agent.   Remember she knows more about the local market than you could possibly know.   And, it’s not a good idea to market your home at a price you aren’t willing to take. And in slower markets, it may make more sense to price at the higher end of the range so you don’t leave money on the table. Is your home on a busy street, in a bad school district? Probably not worth the risk to price it low.

The point is simple every seller and situation is different. You can’t simply assume that in a strong market, if you price your home low, you’ll receive multiple offers and it will sell for more than what you asked. The important thing is to work with an experienced local agent and to understand that, ultimately, the market will take the sale price where it needs to go.

Buyers if you’ve been in the market awhile, you likely have a good feel for values. If a price seems high, but there are still tons of people circling around, don’t be afraid to go in with a full-price offer or even under asking. Look at overpriced homes that aren’t getting any action. Some homes have languished on the market for six months with no offers. Then the seller makes a major price reduction and receives four offers, and the place ends up selling for more than the original list price. You want to be the one who makes an offer before the reduction.

Give me a call and let’s discuss your property today.  You may not like what I have to tell you, but I will tell you the truth.  To many realtors will take a listing regardless of price and in the end everyone is frustrated.  Don’t let this happen to you.  I am your PERFECT FIT REALTOR,  Billie Kay Caldwell.  Give me a call today, 931-434-0516!

 

 

 

February 21,2013

Working With a Real Estate Agent

 

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully..  

 

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies.  

 

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.   

Please give me a call today.  The market is starting to really pick up.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

“YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR”

 

February 14, 2013

                                                                        HOME SALES INVENTORY

 

First of all,       HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!   

In a recent blog we discussed predictions for the Real estate market in 2013 and how it will perform for this coming year.   There are many things that contribute to how it performs but one thing that comes to mind quickly is there are a lot less available homes for sale.

We have seen in many areas how this has already effected the market.   Redin (Redfin is an online real estate brokerage with agents in several regions throughout the United States . Redfin combines a real estate search site with real estate agents. )tells us of many stories where potential buyers are lined up to beg to purchase a house.   Maybe even go as far as courting the seller.  

What’s the reason behind the low inventory?

The Wall Street Journal  recently wrote a great article on this subject.  This article pointed to six reasons:

1. Many homeowners are underwater, and thus can’t sell.
2. Homeowners with equity in their home don’t have enough of it to “trade up” to buy a bigger and more expensive home.
3. Everyone wants to buy at the bottom, but few want to sell when they feel their home will be worth more next year.
4. Investors – from mom and pop and corporate investors have come out and become landlords, taking property that normally would be on the market into the rental realm.
5. With the foreclosure fiasco, banks have been slower at foreclosing homes.
6. There’s been a lot less construction of new homes by home builders.

Unless inventory starts picking up, this will make for a very interesting year for all areas as far as buyers and sellers.  

Do you need a few tips to get your house ready to sell fast.    Billie Kay Caldwell, your Perfect Fit Realtor, is here to help.  Give me a call 931-434-0516!

 

February 10, 2013

Wireless IP Home Camera Security

 

It really is a thing of the past but it is true.   The old school of home security is gone.   Long gone are the days of a bulky surveillance camera, expensive installation, and bulky home recording setup. With wireless technology and speedy home bandwidth the norm in most homes, you can have a video home security system up and running in no time.

There are many providers of such a service.

“A super simple system consists of HomeMonitor cameras, online account and 7 days free cloud storage. No technical knowhow is required, you don’t even need a computer, all you need is to connect the camera, create an account and you’re away.”

HomeMonitor lets you watch live or see recorded events from an internet-enabled computer or smartphone. Features include: Infrared night vision, multiple cameras, motion detection with alerts, secure cloud storage, and only streams video when you need it to (which helps keep bandwidth usage lower).

On line HomeMonitor lets you check on your home yourself.   It lets you be there without really being there.   Check it out.   It is so fun.  

Interesting, right?  Let’s talk about this some more.  Give Billie Kay Caldwell a call at 931-434-0516.  I am YOUR Perfect Fit Realtor!!

 

February 4, 2013

Working With a Real Estate Agent

It’s hard to sell a house.   There is the emotional aspect, the financial problems, the keeping it clean and show ready.    Selling a house involves more than just putting a house up for sale. In today’s market it must stand out among all of the houses for sale, you need to market your house to potential buyers, make sure your home listing is appealing, and eventually handle all of the necessary paperwork for selling a home. This is why it is important to work with a qualified real estate professional when placing your house for sale.   And because it is such a huge important financial decision pick your agent carefully..  

If you are looking to buy a house, you will definitely need the help of an agent who is a local expert in your neighborhood. As you browse through home listings and neighborhood data, you will inevitably have questions about a particular home listing or neighborhood. Also, an agent may have information on additional homes that you may not discover during your home listing search.  It’s important to remember that in Tennessee Realtors® can show all listings even the listings of other agencies.  

Also, remember that not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. People often use “Realtor®” and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not one and the same.   It’s a big decision so pick the right one.   I always say pick someone that is knowledgeable and who also you would pick for a friend.   

I work hard for all my clients.  It really upsets me when a “bad real estate agent” does a poor job and gives Realtors® a bad name.

Please give me, Billie Kay Caldwell, a call today.  I am “YOUR PERFECT FIT REALTOR.”   931-434-0516 

 

February 1, 2013

 

2013 January MORTGAGE RATES

The Mortgage rates for 30 year fixed rose slightly in the month of January.   The most common quote I found for January was  at 3.28 percent, up from 3.26 percent at this same time last year.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered between 3.28 and 3.32 percent for the majority of the month, dropping to the current rate toward mid month.

The most recent quote was from Erin Lantz, director of Zillow “Mortgage rates rose slightly and , spurred by improving economic data on consumer spending, housing and jobs,” “In the coming weeks, we expect rates will be fairly flat until the markets receive more clarity around the outcome of the looming debt ceiling debate.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.61 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.38 percent.

If you are interested in what the rates are right now there is a great place on the web you can search.   Check Zillow Mortgage Marketplace for up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state.

Now is the time to buy.  Real Estate is on the move again.  Give me a call today at

931-434-0516.  I am Billie Kay Caldwell your PERFECT FIT REALTOR!

 

January 26, 2013

                               First Time Homebuyers Experience

I was recently working with a First-time homebuyer and decided it was a unique experience.   Yes, I have worked with lots and lots of first time buyers but this one reminded me of when my children went off to college.   They were excited, scared, unsure, ready, needed everyone to approve and anything negative meant the deal was off.   Buyers often want the perfect house.    Let me tell you NOW there is no perfect home.   Like life you must learn to give and take with your expectations.  

Homeownership is many things to many people.   Your first home is a milestone in your life.   Remember your first day of school?   You will remember closing on that first home.   It is a huge moment or in my family we say it’s a BIG ROCK.     Buying a home is a long process.   Just like going to college it takes time, attention, forms, and a process of step by step.   In home buying there is always a learning curve.   The first time buyers know nothing but the buyer who is moving up knows a little more but still has to be reminded of many things and the older buyers have been there and done that but still appreciate your time and attention.   Whatever your stage of buying you are always studying to catch up.   And there is always Buyers Remorse.   First-time home buyers or even seasoned buyers may also experience such remorse. Buyers go through such a long process of completing one step after another that their focus may not be on the final purchase until it’s complete. The size of the mortgage payment can be shocking and saving money for each payment can be stressful.

So my best advise for today is pick a agent who can lead you every step of the way no matter what level of education (home buying) you have.   Remember that buying a home is the single largest investment you will make.   You will probably buy and sell so that decision will be made over and over but it does not lessen the load.  In conclusion, try to soak up the pride associated with these comparable milestones. Stay persistent through the long processes and adapt as each presents challenges. Begin as prepared as possible and study if the steps seem confusing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of experts, family, friends or the web. When it’s finally complete, appreciate the degree and home that were worked for so diligently. Not everyone is steadfast enough or financially sound enough to complete college or purchase a home. Be responsible for the commitments made and relish in the accomplishments.

I would be honored to help you with your home purchase.  I am Kay Caldwell, your PERFECT FIT Realtor.  Give me a call today at 931-434-0516!!!

 

January 22, 2013

 

Smart Homeowners Know How to Turn a $100,000 Loss Into a $200,000 Gain. The Lost Equity Syndrome.

 

Typical homeowners tend to poin to the hit they have taken in the equity in their current home — moving up is simply not an option for them. They can’t see that far down the road and envision how they could be able to sell and benefit from this pent up demand and low supply of available houses.

One of the key insights smart homeowners have is that they are able to look past the “lost equity” syndrome — countless homeowners are frozen in their tracks because they’ve lost tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity in their current home and can’t possibly think of selling their home now and bearing that loss.

Smart homeowners understand that the homeowner in the higher price range home may have lost even more equity than they have. They understand that prices in this move up range have taken a bigger hit from the housing recession. As market place is going down, more expensive properties experience a larger drop in dollar value. A 10% drop in prices affects a $150,000 home by $15,000, a $500,000 home by $50,000 and a $1,000,000 by $100,000!

Granted, it’s not easy, but smart homeowners can look  past their lost equity and see great savings and value in moving up. Here’s a particular case study/example of a homeowner I helped to move up to his next price range:

Homeowner A purchased his home for $499,000. He was despondent about how much equity he had lost from his purchase a few years ago. I worked the numbers for him and showed him how he could take a $100,000 loss and achieve a $200,000 gain when he purchased his move up home.

We ended up selling his house for $399,000. We found him a beautiful five-bedroom, 3,400-square foot house with a three-car garage for $615,000 owned by Homeowner B. Homeowner B’s house was selling for $825,000 two years ago when Homeowner A bought his house. By overcoming his mental barrier and selling his house for $100,000 less than he paid, Homeowner A was able to move up to a dream home that was previously out of his price and capitalize on Homeowner B’s $200,000 loss—Homeowner A’s gain!

Smart homeowners understand the dynamics of the market and how those dynamics can present opportunities for savvy investors.

Interesting, right?  Let’s talk about this some more.  Give Billie Kay Caldwell a call at 931-434-0516.  I am YOUR Perfect Fit Realtor!!

 

January 2, 2013

                                          HAPPY NEW YEAR 

Our home has been a place lately for the getting healthy topic.   As we get older (Hubby and I) we want to live longer and be more active with the children and grandchildren.  There are so many  competing messages from doctors, researchers and the media about how to get  healthy that sometimes the essentials become buried. We know what we need to do  to care for our health, but it takes more than one or two minor changes to see  satisfying results. Follow this primer on getting healthy, and resolve to add  potential years to your life.

 
  1. Stop smoking to improve your health. We don’t smoke but were both the children of smokers and feel this message is so important.
  2. Get 30 minutes of exercise each day. The health benefits of exercise include  reducing cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes risk, heart disease risk and  cancer risk.
  3. Reduce your unhealthy LDL cholesterol level. High LDL cholesterol levels  increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Keep LDL  cholesterol below 100 with exercise and a diet low in saturated  fats.
  4. No trans fats. Trans fats, found in cookies,  crackers, shortening and margarine, increases your risk of heart disease. Look  for trans fat amounts on the nutrition facts panel on packaged  products.
  5. Wear your seat belt. Simple…it’s the law.
  6. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. You may not get all 8 hrs of sleep but try.  
  7. Take care of your teeth and remember to floss. Flossing and taking care of your teeth can add up to 6 years to your life.  
These are a few simple changes that we can all make and extend our life.   Just a few friendly health tips from your Perfect Fit Realtor, Billie Kay Caldwell.
Give me a call today, 931-434-0516,  for all your real estate needs!!!

 

 

December 28, 2013

                                           First Time Homebuyer Info

As a first-time homebuyer, you will find yourself learning as you go. Although the home buying process is a learning experience, there are a few, tried-and-true lessons that every new homebuyer should take care to avoid:

Don’t get hung up on the aesthetics! – It is often difficult to look beyond a room’s paint color or a homeowner’s carpet choice, but the truth is that all of these things are merely aesthetic and are easily remedied if they aren’t to your liking. If you focus on a home’s aesthetics, instead of its bones (e.g., room size, home location, and its overall condition), you could be missing out on a great property

Don’t compromise your comfort level! (financially) – It may be quite tempting to push your comfort level and go for the home that has the higher price tag, but you could find yourself regretting that choice for years to come. Instead, determine your maximum budget amount and stick to it.  One of the easiest ways to avoid doing this is to only look at homes that are within your budget.

Don’t overlook the importance of the neighborhood! – A  property is only as good as the neighborhood in which it is located. In other words, regardless of how fantastic you feel your home is, if the home values in the area are on the decline, your home may not be the investment you had hoped it would be. Instead, only consider areas that are growing, both in terms of residents and property values, so you can better protect yourself against a poor investment.

Don’t go too fast! – The home buying experience is often an exciting one, and it is quite easy to get wrapped up in the excitement. But it is just as important to slow down so you can be sure you are making the best decisions for you and your family. An overly excited home buyer is often an overwhelmed home buyer, and that could spell disaster when it comes to embarking on the largest financial decisions you will ever make.

2013 is going to be the time to buy that first home.  Good inventories, low interest rates, and your ready for your first ownership.  Truth is, you can probably buy cheaper than you can rent. 

Give me a call today.  I absolutely love working with first time home buyers.

Together, we will be a perfect fit!

Billie Kay Caldwell  -  (931)434-0516

“The Perfect Fit Realtor”

 

December 16, 2012

                                           COMPASSION

Eph 4:32

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another,   forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I have talked with abuse victims and even been the recipient of abuse.   When I remember that to heal I have to forgive I have to remember God’s grace.   I know that without God’s grace I could not forgive and without forgiveness a bitter spirit would seep into every part of my life much like a cancer.   Anger, resentment, bitterness and depression are symptoms that we can’t push away and we can never ignore.   These negative energies will spill out and harm all relationships and could lead to unhealthy decisions.

By withholding mercy we are punishing someone who inflicted harm on us.  However we are not to take revenge on one another.   That is why God calls us to follow his example by extending grace to everyone.   There is no way we can justify holding back forgiveness when God forgives us over and over and over again.   Maybe an abuser doesn’t deserve our forgiveness but are we worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. 
The cross was a torture device. Death was slow and excruciating, but at least the physical pain was temporary. Jesus’ worst torment began when, because He’d taken our sin upon Himself, He was rejected by God and severed from perfect love and companionship. I may not know your pain, but I assure you that Jesus does. He’ll help you overcome hurt, anger, and bitterness if you’ll simply give up your unforgiving spirit.
Forgiveness is a choice—an act of service to the Lord and a witness to the person who inflicted our pain. No matter how terrible the acts committed against us were, God demands that we show mercy. For our good and His glory, He wants us to give up the “right” to punish an abuser.
These are very strong but yet comforting words.  We live and can forgive because Christ died!!
Please remember call 931-434-0516 for all your Real Estate needs!

 

 

December 5, 2012

                                                                  THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS

 

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves   with compassion, kindness, humility,   gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other   and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love,   which binds them all together in perfect unity.
 
15 Let the peace of Christ   rule in your hearts, since as members of one body   you were called to peace.   And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ   dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom   through psalms,   hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,   whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks   to God the Father through him.
 
I love a gift.   I am more of a child than some children.   My husband started something a few years ago called a “Happy Friday Present”.   For no reason at all he brings home a gift some Friday’s.   The definition of gift is  “something given to show friendship, affection, support.”   With this definition it would seem logical  to give gifts only to those we love, not to those who hurt or abuse us. Yet scripture says to offer one of the greatest possible gifts—forgiveness—to those who mistreat us.
 
To forgive means “to give up all claims to punish or exact a penalty for an offense.” No strings or conditions can be attached, or else it’s not a pardon.  Ephesians 2:8-9 continues on the concept of the gift of salvation with works.   Salvation nor forgiveness can be earned, both must be given freely.   God granted us forgiveness and we did nothing to deserve it or earn it.   With his example we are commanded to release every offender from sin that sins against us.  
If you decide not to forgive then you will keep the emotional bondage and it will consume you.   It will fill you with emotions, revenge and unrest that you cannot escape.  If you do not forgive it will cut you deep into your soul and eventually effect you both spiritually and emotially.  
Good news is you have the power.   With the help of our Lord and Savior you have the power to forgive.   It’s your duty.   You… only you choose to put on love and give freely forgiveness..  But the one who chooses to put on love and offer forgiveness is ready to receive the peace of Christ. Let God’s Word help you release hurt and anger into His caring hands—then watch as vengeful thoughts are transformed into praise and gratitude to the Lord.
 
Thankfully, the gift of pardon is not something we have to manufacture in ourselves. This present is wrapped in the love of God and tied with the red ribbon of Christ’s sacrifice. It is freely given to us by the Savior, and our job is simply to pass it on to others.

Yes Real Estate is important to me, but nothing is more important than God’s love and forgiveness!  Give me a call for all your real estate needs.  I am your perfect fit Realtor, 931-434-0516.. 

 

November 30,2012

 

          GETTING HEALTHY

Our home has been a place lately for the getting healthy topic.   As we get older (Hubby and I) we want to live longer and be more active with the children and grandchildren.  There are so many  competing messages from doctors, researchers and the media about how to get  healthy that sometimes the essentials become buried. We know what we need to do  to care for our health, but it takes more than one or two minor changes to see  satisfying results. Follow this primer on getting healthy, and resolve to add  potential years to your life.

  1. Stop smoking to improve your health. We don’t smoke but were both the children of smokers and feel this message is so important.
  2. Get 30 minutes of exercise each day. The health benefits of exercise include  reducing cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes risk, heart disease risk and  cancer risk.
  3. Reduce your unhealthy LDL cholesterol level. High LDL cholesterol levels  increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Keep LDL  cholesterol below 100 with exercise and a diet low in saturated  fats.
  4. No trans fats. Trans fats, found in cookies,  crackers, shortening and margarine, increases your risk of heart disease. Look  for trans fat amounts on the nutrition facts panel on packaged  products.
  5. Wear your seat belt. Simple…it’s the law.
  6. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. You may not get all 8 hrs of sleep but try.  
  7. Take care of your teeth and remember to floss. Flossing and taking care of your teeth can add up to 6 years to your life.

These are just a few tips to get in shape.  Remember, this is another tip from  Billie Kay Caldwell, your Perfect Fit Realtor. 

Give me a call 931-434-0516!

 

November 8, 2012

 

DOES IT ADD VALUE OR NOT?????

The simple truth is that not all home improvements are created equal. Especially in today’s market it is important that homeowners make the right investment on their home.   They need to make the investment that will yield higher returns.   As you think about a more profitable sale let’s make sure you pick the home improvements that will help.   Not the ones that WILL NOT.   Below are 10 Home Improvements that WILL NOT help the sale of your home.  

The “NOT” List of Home Improvements

1. Remodeling project will add value to your home.

Yes, most remodeling projects will add value to a home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. An example would be knocking out a wall to combine 2 bedrooms into 1 larger bedroom.   First time home buyers might need the bedroom space.  Think about it.

2. Buying the highest-quality materials attracts more buyers.

High-end materials may seem wise at the time but it can backfire.   Expensive can create impressive appearance, but value buyers may want more affordable.   Don’t over-improve the house or the area.

3. More square footage means more value.

Instead I would say livable/ usable square footage = value.  Finished to the same standard as the main floor and not looking added on are more attractive to buyers.

4. Bland Color and No Texture is best

Whoever said that safe is best was not always right.   Plain might allow the buyer to choose their own style but it totally ignores the fact that some buyers just can’t visualize color or texture.  Adding splashes of color but not overwhelming are a safer bet.
5. Outside Improvements are a waste.
Really?   That totally depends on who is looking.  If the outside has been neglected then it is a safe bet the buyer will assume the inside has also.  Good curb appeal helps draw the new buyer in.   Sometimes I recommend starting with the outside and working your way inside.
6. When adding pick the bedroom over the bathroom.
That logic or lack of logic depends on what you already have.   Today’s average home has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.   Think about which would be more beneficial to you as well as to the next owner.   Remember, if it doesn’t sell you have to live there.
7. Bad things can be hidden by Paint.
Honestly, there are just some things that a can of paint cannot fix.  Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? I believe in total disclosure and so does the law.   If its broke fix it so you can feel good about selling it.
 
8. A den instead of a garage is the way to go.
In today’s market the conversion of a garage or carport into a living space is almost always seen as a negative by the new home owners.   The only way to make this seem like a positive is to replace the garage.   Today’s buyer almost always wants a garage.
9. Sweat equity saves money for the sellers.
There are some things the home owner can do for themselves.   However there are some that honestly do require the attention of a professional.   Sometimes local or state laws require a licensed contractor to do the work.  In my case I would save more hiring it out than I will by redoing and redoing and redoing because I cannot get it right.  I am not a plumber, I am not a electrician, I am not a carpenter, I am not a painter so maybe I should hire it and move on.
10. A in-ground or above ground pool WILL add value.
Only true for buyers who believe that a pool is a must have.   For the general population a pool is hard to maintain, dangerous, requires a professional and can only be used a few months out of the year.   If you build a pool do it for yourself.
 
These are just a few rules that you should keep in mind.  Please remember, if you have any questions concerning real estate, please give me, Kay Caldwell, a call.  I am your “Perfect Fit” Realtor! 
(931-434-0516)

 

October 31, 2012

                        YIKES, My House Is Showing in 30 Minutes!!

You just got off the phone with your Realtor and you have a showing.   Potential buyers are in town for only 1 day and they want to see your listing.   They have 2 stops to make before getting to your home.   But, no, your home is a wreck.   What do you do?   Never pass up the opportunity for a showing.   This might be the perfect person for your home.   Have a clean up plan and get busy.  

The secret is to be prepared to stash the stuff.  Part of your plan will be to clean the “guest” areas of your home, and the trick is to hide everything else. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to clean your room but you wanted to play? So you stuffed everything under the bed and in the closet so that your room appeared to be clean in just minutes. This is the same technique.

Here’s a list of the things you will need before you start your quick clean up:

• Duster  • All purpose cleaner and paper towels  • Broom/Vacuum  • Basket or Laundry Bag  • A Damp Sponge

  The first thing that you want to do is grab your basket or laundry bag and start walking through your home as a guest would do. Start at the front door and work your way through each room, just as your potential buyer will do.   As you walk through each room pick up the clutter and put it in the bag or basket. Pick up shoes from the entry way, junk mail in the kitchen or dining room, grab the clutter in the living room like toys or dirty dishes, and then hide the basket in the bottom of a closet or under the bed until after the buyers leave. This should take about 5 minutes, unless you have a really large home and now you are ready to clean the rest of the house.

  Go back through each room with the duster and the all purpose cleaner to make sure that all visible surfaces are clean. Don’t overspray the cleaner because you will spend too much time wiping it down. The idea is just to give it a quick once over, not a power washing. Straighten up books and magazines at the same time and make the beds if you are cleaning the bedrooms too. It should take about 10 minutes to wipe down and dust all the guest areas of the house, and straighten up blankets and pillows. Don’t go overboard because you don’t have much time.

  Next you are going to sweep your floors if they are wood, or spot vacuum if you have carpets. Just giving your floors a quick once over will make your home appear to be much cleaner without putting in a lot of effort or time. After you put the vacuum away clean up the bathroom toilets and sinks, as well as the kitchen sinks. Make sure those dirty dishes are in the dishwasher and out of sight.   If you notice any spots on the floor or wall use the damp sponge to wipe them away. And that’s it! To make your home a little bit more inviting quickly walk through the house spraying air freshener or light some candles. Altogether the entire clean up should take you 20-25 minutes and will look like you spent an entire day cleaning.

Now, say a prayer and get out of there before the new owners arrive.  Whew, that made me tired!  Give me a call for all your Real Estate needs.  Remember, I am your PERFECT FIT realtor.  931-434-0516 !!

 

October 25, 2012

                                                            STAGING YOUR HOME

Prepping and staging a house   Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it’s not luck that makes that happen. It’s careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.   10 Steps to true staging.  

Step 1…Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.

  • Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room. 
  • Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.

Step 2…De-Personalize. Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

Step 3…..De-Clutter! People collect an amazing quantity of junk.  Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.

If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?

  • Remove all books from bookcases.
  • Pack up those knickknacks.
  • Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
  • Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
  • Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Step 4….Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.  Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:

        .Alphabetize spice jars.

  • Neatly stack dishes.
  • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
  • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
  • Line up shoes.

Step 5….Rent a Storage Unit. Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them.  Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”

Step 6……Remove/Replace Favorite Items. If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

Step 7……..Make Minor Repairs

        . Replace cracked floor or counter tiles / Patch holes in walls.

       .  Fix leaky faucets.

  • Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!

Step 8…….Make the House Sparkle!

  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.

Step 9   Scrutinize.

  • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Make sure window coverings hang level.
  • Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
  • Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.

Step 10   Check Curb Appeal. If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.

  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

These are just a few tips to get your house ready to sell fast.  Remember, this is another tip from                    Billie Kay Caldwell, your Perfect Fit Realtor.  Give me a call 931-434-0516!

 

October 18, 2012

                                                     OBTAINING A HOME LOAN

Obtaining a home loan is often a complicated endeavor. In particular, there are a number of details to consider when searching for a home loan that is right for you. Here are just a few loan details to pay close attention to when researching your home loan options:
  • Rates – A home loan rate is likely the first detail you will take into consideration when shopping for home loans.  When researching your home loan options, ask your local lender for a comprehensive list of current interest rates, and ask if the listed rate is good for the day or the week. In addition, ask whether the rate is for a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage, and ask about the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). The APR, unlike the interest rate, includes the rate of the loan, as well as any points or broker fees on the loan, thereby providing you with a more accurate financial picture.
  • Points – The points of a loan are often an important consideration, as they are tied into the interest rate offered by the lender. Typically, the more points you pay the lower interest rate the lender may offer.
  • Fees – A home loan isn’t just about the interest rate. Instead, home loan fees can add up, both when you apply for the loan and at closing. Just some of the fees charged by lenders include: loan origination fees, underwriting fees, broker fees, and transaction, settlement and closing costs. Some of the fees charged by the lender are negotiable; some or not. The lender should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of loan fees so you can clearly see how much money you will pay for the loan. In addition, there are a number of lenders offering “no cost” loans, which means all those fees are rolled into the cost of the loan. As such, no cost loans typically come with higher interest rates.
  • Private mortgage insurance – Part of your home loan may include a private mortgage insurance payment. If you are unable to provide at least 20 percent of the cost of the property as a down payment, your lender may require that you pay private mortgage insurance. Although the total cost of private mortgage insurance is low when compared to your overall mortgage payment, it nevertheless should be taken into consideration when applying for a home loan.

These are just a few tips on obtaining a home mortage.  Remember, give me a call for all your real estate needs.  Together, we will be THE PERFECT FIT!!    931-434-0516   

Kay

 

 

October 7,2012

                                                          HOME REAIRS

If you want to sell your home but you happen to have a home that needs repairs, chances are you will not have an easy time selling it. Why? Because homebuyers aren’t usually searching for a home that requires them to devote their weekends to improving it.

Many times, when a home requires work, even work that some would say is minimal, it is met with discouragement and unhappiness by prospective homebuyers, so here are the reasons why home sellers who visit homes that need repairs tend not to bite.

You might think that the repairs are not major, and maybe you’re right, but if you don’t make up for it in some way or other, chances are many buyers will walk.

Perhaps you think that the sunshine yellow kitchen is stunning and gorgeous, but as you try to sell the acquired look to the buyers, they may not see things the same way you do.

There’s a reason why most home stagers recommend that you go neutral when staging your home for sale. Neutral palettes allow buyers to see themselves in a home and make it their own. Pushing your preferences on them or getting them to say that it’s lovely is not a good idea.

 

Perhaps your gold hardware (door handles, faucets, etc.) were incredibly expensive when you purchased or built your home, but that doesn’t mean that they hold the same value to a potential homebuyer. Rather than explain that they were expensive, perhaps it might be best to let them know how easy they are to change or better yet, replace them with more modern pieces.

It’s sort of a catch-22, but if you end up repairing the roof, you can’t simply tack an extra $20,000 on to your selling price; and if you don’t make the repairs, your selling price will have to reflect the need for its repair.

Ideally, however, if you want to sell your home as soon as you put it on the market, it would serve you best to repair any issues you have with the home and replace old items like furnaces, roofs, or windows. Sure, it may be costly, but you could either bite the bullet and make the repairs and sell in a timely manner or take a chance and hope that someone who is prepared to buy the home and perform the work needed comes along.

Your best bet is to get a home inspection done beforehand and figure out what you can afford to fix and what simply is not worth fixing and then let your selling price reflect that.

Let me know if you wish to discuss the “state of your home.”  Together we will make the “Perfect Fit.”  I look forward to hearing from you.  Call me at 931-434-0516.

 

October 1, 2012

                                                                           COMPUTER BACKUP PROTECTION
Personal computers have been around long enough that everyone has experienced or knows someone who has lost their data due to a hard drive crash, accident or burglary. If they had a backup, the loss was inconvenient but not critical.
 
Do you have a backup for your personal belongings? Not that you need duplicates of all the items but do you have a journal listing of all the items with a description and their approximate values? That record becomes the backup that supports the claim for your insurance.
 
If a building sustains a total loss, the insurance company will usually pay the face amount of the policy. When it comes to personal property which might be 40% to 50% of the insured value of the dwelling, the insurance company is going to expect an accounting with receipts or at least, a relatively recent inventory.
 
The better your inventory, the less likely you’ll have difficulty with the claim. Almost everyone has a digital camera that can take stills and probably even videos.   The combination of the images as well as a written description will help you replace the belongings and serve as proof to the insurance company.
 
Once you’ve made the inventory, store it off site for safe keeping. Online storage in the“cloud” might be the best place to insure you’ll always know where it is. One of the best clouds around is called “Dropbox.” You get 2 GB of space for free.   Also, contact us for a free Home Inventory form; it’s our way of helping you be a better homeowner.
And remember, I am your PerfectFit Realtor!  Give me a call today for your real estate needs.
Billie Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516. 

 

September 23, 2012

 INFORMATION IS POWER

My favorite sellers are sellers that are smart, ask questions and want to get ahead of the learning curve.   I often tell my sellers one of the best ways to learn what is and is not selling in today’s market is to visit local Open Houses.   Yes, visit other agent’s Open Houses.   You can even crash the party.   Always let the agent know that you already have an agent but you are studying the market.   An Open House serves many purposes so use this tool.

Honestly,  most agents hold their listings open  knowing that most attendees will not be ready, qualified buyers. Many  hold them open to allow for the unlikely improbability that the right buyer  for that property will actually walk through the door (stranger things have  happened!), but also holding the specific intention of meeting buyer and seller  clients.

If  you’re planning on selling a home anytime in the near future, it’s actually  your responsibility to get informed about the competition your home will face,  as well as to familiarize yourself with the market as thoroughly as possible and what better way to do this than to see the actual listings in your area.

To this end, I suggest every seller-to-be engage in some  intensive, intentional open-house crashing, making sure they execute on the  following intel-collecting tasks in the process:

1.  Notice the traffic - Head to the buyers’ and brokers’ open houses for similar  homes and see what traffic looks like: Are they well-attended? Do the buyers  look serious or are they all the same faces you see at the neighborhood block  party? What differences in marketing, staging, agents and such do you see  between the events that get good traffic and those that flop?

2. Check out the condition of the home -  What condition are competing homes in? When you’ve lived in a place for a  while, it’s super-easy to do a normal spring-style cleaning and think that the  place is in tip-top shape — until you see what a freshly painted, fully staged  home looks like, that is.

Ideally, hit some open houses listed by the highest-end  agent in the area (who is likely to pull out all the stops on staging in order  to keep up her track record of selling homes for over the asking price) and some  short sales and foreclosures to get a sense for where you want your home to  fall on the condition and property preparation spectrum. Make sure to look  inside and out, and listen to the overall impression the open house’s condition  is creating in terms of other visitors’ vocal reactions.

3. Make nice with the listing agent - Don’t interrupt if the agent is talking terms with a  “real” buyer, but when he’s free, introduce yourself and engage him  in a conversation about the property, its preparation and pricing and even your  future plans for listing and selling yours. It’s not at all bizarre for sellers  to find the agent they want to list their home having visiteded him, in part,  based on his work at an open house.

4. Collect any free marketing material While you’re there, note how the open house was  marketed, grab a flier and even hold onto marketing materials you particularly  like (i.e., postcards, fliers, etc.). This may also inform your listing agent  selection or help you communicate what you want to another agent. Visit the  online listings for the open houses on Trulia and other national listing sites,  as well as the local newspaper or agent sites you find the listing on. If there  is a microsite listed on the fliers (usually a Web address with the address of  the home in it), definitely go there as well. You may collect some smart  strategies from your comparison of your in-person impressions of the home  against what you see in the property’s marketing materials.

5. Hang around and listen - What are the questions and concerns you hear lobbied by  prospective homebuyers in your area? Which homes do they seem to think are  overpriced, and which ones do they ask about submitting offers on? Do you hear  any themes, in terms of location concerns or questions about the commercial  development across the road? Open-house crashing can give you a free glimpse  into the minds of the prospective buyers for your home, as well, allowing you  to tailor your marketing, property preparation and pricing for maximum impact.

Please give me a call with any of your Real Estate questions.  I am your PerfectFit Realtor, 931-434-0516.

 

September 17, 2012

                                       MORE HOME IMPROVEMENT DISCUSSION

The simple truth is that not all home improvements are created equal. Especially in today’s market it is important that homeowners make the right investment on their home.   They need to make the investment that will yield higher returns.   As you think about a more profitable sale let’s make sure you pick the home improvements that will help.   Not the ones that WILL NOT.   Below are 10 Home Improvements that WILL NOT help the sale of your home.  

The “NOT” List of Home Improvements

1. Remodeling project will add value to your home.

Yes, most remodeling projects will add value to a home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. An example would be knocking out a wall to combine 2 bedrooms into 1 larger bedroom.   First time home buyers might need the bedroom space.  Think about it.

2. Buying the highest-quality materials attracts more buyers.

High-end materials may seem wise at the time but it can backfire.   Expensive can create impressive appearance, but value buyers may want more affordable.   Don’t over-improve the house or the area.

3. More square footage means more value.

Instead I would say livable/ usable square footage = value.  Finished to the same standard as the main floor and not looking added on are more attractive to buyers.

4. Bland Color and No Texture is best

Whoever said that safe is best was not always right.   Plain might allow the buyer to choose their own style but it totally ignores the fact that some buyers just can’t visualize color or texture.  Adding splashes of color but not overwhelming are a safer bet.
5. Outside Improvements are a waste.
Really?   That totally depends on who is looking.  If the outside has been neglected then it is a safe bet the buyer will assume the inside has also.  Good curb appeal helps draw the new buyer in.   Sometimes I recommend starting with the outside and working your way inside.
6. When adding pick the bedroom over the bathroom.
That logic or lack of logic depends on what you already have.   Today’s average home has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.   Think about which would be more beneficial to you as well as to the next owner.   Remember, if it doesn’t sell you have to live there.
7. Bad things can be hidden by Paint.
Honestly, there are just some things that a can of paint cannot fix.  Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? I believe in total disclosure and so does the law.   If its broke fix it so you can feel good about selling it.
 
8. A den instead of a garage is the way to go.
In today’s market the conversion of a garage or carport into a living space is almost always seen as a negative by the new home owners.   The only way to make this seem like a positive is to replace the garage.   Today’s buyer almost always wants a garage.
9. Sweat equity saves money for the sellers.
There are some things the home owner can do for themselves.   However there are some that honestly do require the attention of a professional.   Sometimes local or state laws require a licensed contractor to do the work.  In my case I would save more hiring it out than I will by redoing and redoing and redoing because I cannot get it right.  I am not a plumber, I am not a electrician, I am not a carpenter, I am not a painter so maybe I should hire it and move on.
10. A in-ground or above ground pool WILL add value.
Only true for buyers who believe that a pool is a must have.   For the general population a pool is hard to maintain, dangerous, requires a professional and can only be used a few months out of the year.   If you build a pool do it for yourself.
 
These are just a few rules that you should keep in mind.  Remember call, Billie Kay Caldwell, THE PERFECT FIT,
and I will be glad to discuss your project with you!  Call 931-434-0516!

 

September 12,2012

 

10 Home Improvements You GOTTA Make!

Have you heard?   It’s a “buyer’s market”,which is to say there are more properties for sale than there are interested and qualified prospects to buy them. So that puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. If you’re trying to sell your home understand that in order to be successful you’ll have be as competitive as possible on all fronts.

First that means pricing.   Yes…price sells.  But it also means it must be show ready and be better than the one next door. Here are ten of those improvements.

1. Paint the interior and exterior of the home.

A new coat of paint gives a home a fresh, clean look, and can hide a multitude of cosmetic imperfections.  If you repaint, be sure to use neutral colors. Buyers can be turned off by bold colors or even by wallpaper—too much of either creates redecorating obstacles.

2. Replace broken tiles on the floor or in the bathrooms.

The crack, the broken tile in the floor or the broken tiles in the bathroom are things buyers will not look past.   In their minds there may be more behind the scene.

3. Seal any cracks both inside or outside the home.

To a buyer a cracks can imply hidden problems, so be sure to repair any cracks both inside and outside your home.

4. Tend to any system noises or other flaws.

You may not mind the noise. You may even be used to the noise but I can assure you a buyer will hear it and will question it.   Fix it before it becomes a problem.  

5. Replace the carpeting.

Look up, look down…..yes one of the first things people will notice about your home is the carpeting or flooring. If it’s worn, discolored or tearing they’ll probably move on to the next house.  At the very least have the carpet cleaned and stretched immediately.  

6. Plumbing talks loud.

That steady drip from the faucet, that toilet that continues to run or that washing machine that has a small leak may not bother you but you can bet they will bother the new buyer.  Buyers assume that a pool of water (small or large) is a prelude to the beginning of a larger problem.  

7. Locks and Doorknobs that don’t work.

The curb appeal may be the first impression but the door and the doorknob come close to being the second impression.   Usually the door or doorknob are the first things the buyer touches when entering your house.   Make a strong first impression.

8. Clutter be gone… Long gone.

Anything and everything you do to make the home look bigger helps the buyer visualize it as a good deal.   The simple art of de-cluttering makes the room look bigger and it makes it look well loved.   By decluttering the the buyer can visualize their own furniture placements.   Don’t forget the closets, cabinets, countertops, tables and shelves also.   Buyers will be thinking where can I store things.   What is the storage capacity for this home.  

9. Clean out your garage.

Today’s garage is sometimes used as a storage unit.   During the process of the sale rent an off site storage unit.   Maximaze the parking space and show it off as a space for cars.  Makes sure the garage loopks neat, organized and can hold their automobile. 

10. Lawn mowed and shrubs trimmed.

It really is one simple statement.   If a buyer doesn’t like what he sees on the outside of your home he may not even go inside. This is all about creating curb appeal—you don’t need to re-landscape the property, but it should be neat and well manicured. Nothing says “neglect” more than overgrown grass, out-of-control weeds or disorderly shrubs.

Now you are ready.   These 10 steps will help you in the process to ‘GET IT SOLD’.  

By calling Kay or Roger Caldwell at 931-434-0516  or 931-205-3329 we will assist you in all ways possible.  Working together for your real estate needs we really are “The Perfect Fit.”  

September 3, 2012

                                         Keeping up Finances

As we try to keep control of our finances, watch all the numbers and try not to obsess over it on a daily basis life is just hard.   On the other hand if I decide to just “Let it go” then I am simply setting myself up for trouble.   Identity could be stolen or you may miss something that was charged to you wrongly so why not take advantage of looking at our finances.   Why not check in on it routinely.  
 
As my husband and I get older we tend to watch our balances more and more.   Watch the credit card balance.   Watch the checking account balance.   Watch our stock balances and our 401k.   To keep us under control we made a list of how often and what we should check.  Thought we would share it with you.  Hope it helps.
 
At Least Once a Week
 
1. Savings and Checking – At the very least, take a look at your main checking or savings account to have a “feel” for where you are. Balancing the checkbook is better, but looking online is a good habit to have just to stay current.
 
2. Other Bank Accounts – Just a quick “peek” at any other accounts that you keep at a local bank that are not meant for investment purposes.  Just to be safe.
 
Monthly
 
3. Budget. My husband the finance guy will tell you that he does not budget but he does.   He keeps a spread sheet in Excel that completely tells us what money is going where.   Maybe he doesn’t call it a budget but it is.
 
4. Bills! Lots of our bills are auto drafted so we don’t worry about being late or having late fees but we always, always check to make sure they got paid.   We trust the e-banking but we also trust seeing it for ourselves.
 
5. Debt levels. If you are getting out of debt, take a few moments each month (probably when you pay your bills) to track your progress in paying off debt.
 
Quarterly
 
6. Investments – Quarterly look at the performance of your investments.  This will give you the over-all big picture.
 
7. Mortgage. This is “quarterly at most,” but I like to take a look at our mortgage statements every few months to see how we are tracking in paying off the house. This also is a chance to “re-educate” with some of the terms and terminology, in case we see something that looks wrong.
 
Annually
 
8. Insurance. This may be too often, but annually it’s good to take a look at your policy on things like your car, life insurance, or disability just to “re-educate” yourself as to what you actually have.
 
9. Wills and related papers. Life changes over the course of a year. Make sure any major life changes are reflected in the papers, and look at the wording.
 
10. Life insurance. If you have a term policy you are probably fine, but it’s still worth a few moments to review.

 

August 28,2012

                                                       TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOME FAST

Curb appeal is a must but now let’s look inside the house.  When your house is listed, you have to be ready to have it shown to a prospective buyer.

#1 -  Keep your house clean. Take special care with keeping the floors vacuumed. Nothing makes a house look worse than dirty floors. If you don’t have a Roomba, buy one. Floors are a snap with this little robot. I call mine Hazel.

#2 -  All surfaces…clear them of “stuff”. Put the mail away, piles of magazines, everything on your kitchen counters (except perhaps your coffee maker and toaster). A buyer has trouble seeing through all of your things to what their things might look like there. The same with the bathrooms and bedrooms. No clutter and clean, clean, clean.

  #3 -  What color are your walls? If they are any stronger than a pale neutral it’s time to paint. Ask for help if you’re not sure what color to use. Paint people are very good at this. It’s a week end project that’s fun. And nothing says fresh like some new paint. If your walls are full of family photos, kids drawings, and such, take them down. You’re moving anyway, start packing some of the detritus that we all have.

#4 – To make your house really smell like home put a whole apple on a heat proof dish and put in a low temp oven before your house is shown. Don’t use heavy sprays or deodorizers to make your house smell good. If it’s clean, all you need is a little fruit from a tree.

Please give me a call if you need real estate advice, BILLIE KAY CALDWELL, The Perfect Fit Realtor.

Kay-931-434-0516

 

 

AUGUST 23, 2012

SUMMER COOL AT NIGHT

Summer is here.   The temperatures are high, the humidity is terrible and today I had to admit…summer is here.   Have you ever tried to sleep in a hot bedroom?   I often say I can stand the cold because you can put on a blanket but in the summer you can’t take it off.   Night time is the worst time in our house.   I love to sleep cool.  Here are a few suggestions on how to stay cool on that hot summer night.   Try it …you might like it. 

1) Choose cotton linen bedding. It’s one of the most breathable and warm-weather-friendly materials you can buy. Try popping pillowcases in the freezer a few hours before you go to sleep. Remove them right before bedtime and rest your head on cool cotton.
 
2) Even if you love the light in the house keep your shades pulled closed in your bedroom during the day to reduce heat gain in your home.  Add a second layer of pretty curtains to camouflage the look.
 
3) Color really does make a difference.   For the summer try not to use warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow, and instead paint your room in cooler shades such as blue, gray, or light green. It may just be a mind thing but everything helps.
 
4) Green plants in your room bring in freshness.   They will help cut the sunlight and make you appreciate summer a little bit more. 
 
5) Go with light colored curtains over the shades.   Light will reflect the sun helping to keep it cool. 
 
6)  Try the tinted colored light bulbs.   The blue tone makes the room feel breezy.
 
7)  Forget candles but try the reed diffuser that are light, summer scents.  
 
8)  Keep the fan blowing.   Even circulating warm air feels better than no circulation at all. 
 
What do you do to keep your room cool at night?
And Remember, please call me, Billie Kay Caldwell, the Perfect Fit Realtor for all your real estate needs!
931-434-0516
 AUGUST 23,2012

 

What do you do to keep your room cool at night?

 

 

 

 

August 15,2012

                                             OTHER LANDSCAPING IDEAS            

Cost effective, sustainable, labor saving as well as pretty are ideas for landscaping.  Traditional landscaping tends to consume huge amounts of water, fertilizer, pestidices as well as fossil fuels needed to run electrical equipment that trims, mows and mulches the landscaping.    

Use what you Got.    -  Using available materials and features in a landscape is both cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. For instance, if a yard has many large rocks, homeowners can arrange them in an attractive design and create a rock garden, rather than paying to have them removed.

Work with the Landscape -    Working with a landscape’s natural shape and conditions can save effort and create unexpected design elements. For example, a ledge can be enhanced with terracing (i.e. create a series of wide steps in a hillside), or, if you have a brook running through your property, add water-loving plants on its banks.

Use Unexpected Materials-Garden furniture made from unexpected materials makes for a creative landscape with very little cost. PVC piping, for instance, makes frames for simple, light planters and seating.

Think Wild Plants-Many native plants, not normally found in formal gardens, are both attractive and easy to maintain. Adding wildflowers such as violets, mulleins, goldenrods, and cinquefoils encourages the growth of native species, which often require less watering and fertilizing than store-bought plants. In addition, such native species multiply profusely, reducing the amount of labor needed to maintain a flowerbed.

Consider the edible with the beautiful-Combining flowers and shrubs with fruit and vegetable plants reduces the number of pests on edible plants, since many flowers, such as marigolds, act as natural pest repellents. This reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides on home-grown fruits and vegetables, while also creating more visually appealing planting areas.

Be sure to call me, The Perfect Fit Realtor, Kay Caldwell 931-434-0516.

 

August 9, 2012

LANDSCAPING WITH RAILROAD TIES

Easily accessable and very affordable landscaping with railroad ties can save a lot of money since they are fairly easy  to install. Railroad ties can be purchased at just about any major landscape  supply company. This landscape material can be very affordable and can be  applied to just about any idea you have. Stick with  the traditional uses or get a little creative. Either way, you are adding great  value and curb appeal to your home with the use of railroad ties.


Outline a Driveway

Line the sides of your driveway with railroad ties for a dramatic  improvement. The lines that the ties create help keep gravel and stone in place  for homes without a paved  driveway. The border also allows easy grass maintenance as stones won’t enter  into the grass. This makes for not only a nice look but for easy lawn care as  well.

Create a Walkway

Instead of pouring concrete or laying expensive stone down for your sidewalk,  try railroad ties. Cut the ties into sections that are two feet long. Dig into  the ground, just as you would for any sidewalk, and then lay the ties down. If  you want a raised sidewalk, dig down half the depth of the ties. Digging deep  enough to lay the ties flat generally is a more popular choice. You can lay the  pieces in any direction you want.

Border a Centerpiece or Flowerbed

If you want to use the railroad ties as a border for a landscape centerpiece  or a flower bed, you have two options. You can lay the ties flat so they run  along the border of the landscape. For circular landscapes such as front yard  centerpieces, cut the ties into smaller pieces to create a nice-looking circle.  Another option is to cut the ties into 2-foot and 2 1/2-foot sections. Dig holes  into the ground and set the ties in so they are facing vertically. Alternate the  sizes for a staggered look. Just make sure that you have at  least half to one foot of the ties in the ground for stability. Use your  imagination and with the various heights, you will have a beautiful landscape in  no time at all.

I hope you find this tip helpful.  Visit my blog often to see what info I may share, you never know,

and, as always, give me a call for all your Real Estate needs.  That is Kay Caldwell, 931-434-0516,

THE PERFECT FIT.  Have a blessed day!     

 

 

July 31, 2012

                                                       OBTAINING A HOME LOAN

Obtaining a home loan is often a complicated endeavor. In particular, there are a number of details to consider when searching for a home loan that is right for you. Here are just a few loan details to pay close attention to when researching your home loan options:

 

  • Rates – A home loan rate is likely the first detail you will take into consideration when shopping for home loans.  When researching your home loan options, ask your local lender for a comprehensive list of current interest rates, and ask if the listed rate is good for the day or the week. In addition, ask whether the rate is for a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage, and ask about the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). The APR, unlike the interest rate, includes the rate of the loan, as well as any points or broker fees on the loan, thereby providing you with a more accurate financial picture.
  • Points – The points of a loan are often an important consideration, as they are tied into the interest rate offered by the lender. Typically, the more points you pay the lower interest rate the lender may offer.
  • Fees – A home loan isn’t just about the interest rate. Instead, home loan fees can add up, both when you apply for the loan and at closing. Just some of the fees charged by lenders include: loan origination fees, underwriting fees, broker fees, and transaction, settlement and closing costs. Some of the fees charged by the lender are negotiable; some are not. The lender should be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of loan fees so you can clearly see how much money you will pay for the loan. In addition, there are a number of lenders offering “no cost” loans, which means all those fees are rolled into the cost of the loan. As such, no cost loans typically come with higher interest rates.
  • Private mortgage insurance – Part of your home loan may include a private mortgage insurance payment. If you are unable to provide at least 20 percent of the cost of the property as a down payment, your lender may require that you pay private mortgage insurance. Although the total cost of private mortgage insurance is low when compared to your overall mortgage payment, it nevertheless should be taken into consideration when applying for a home loan.

If you have more questions or need a lender referral, please give me a call at 931-434-0516.

Thanks, Kay  “The Perfect Fit” for you!!

 

July 26,2012

 

Have you ever had a service company to your home to repair something and find out that it really wasn’t “broken”? It probably conjured up ambivalent feelings of joy that it wasn’t something serious and frustration that you had to pay a service call for something so simple.

Before you call the repairman next time, keep these things in mind to see if it is something simple: 

  • Garbage Disposer not working – check to see if the reset button has been thrown. It is usually on the bottom of the disposer. If the disposer is making a humming  sound, the blades may be stuck. While the disposer is turned off, use a wooden broom handle as a lever to gently rotate the blades. Remove the broom handle and turn on the disposer to see if it works properly.
  • Air conditioner not working – check to see if a breaker has thrown on your electric panel. You might need to flip the breaker completely off and flip it back on.
  • Electrical outlets not working – Electrical plugs in bathrooms or outside, especially on a porch or patio, are many times connected to a ground fault interrupter. The GFI will be a wall outlet and it may be located in the garage. Locate the outlet and reset the button that may have tripped.
  • Clogged drain – a simple way to correct a slow or clogged drain is to use the water pressure from a garden hose. You’ll need a helper to turn on the water full-blast once you have safely placed the hose in the drain and are holding a hand-towel around the hose to direct the water to the drain. Be prepared to tell your helper to turn off the water when needed.

Whether it’s preparing a home to market or arranging repairs required by the sale, REALTORS®know reputable, reasonable and reliable service contractors. We’re here to share our contacts with you to help make home ownership better.

Give me a call, 931-434-0516 if I can help.

Kay. The Perfect Fit Agent!

 

 July 17, 2012

                         WHAT DOES YOUR HOUSE SMELL LIKE ??

 

Many times a potential buyer will walk into a home and immediately turn around and leave simply because the house did not smell good.   A prospective buyer can actually be turned off from buying your home if there is a foul smell. Your curb appeal maybe the first thing a buyer sees but next is the smell when that front door opens.  One of the first points to look at when selling a home is odor control.  Listed are ways to make your house smell good whether you are selling your home, having a get together or just wanting your house to smell good on a daily basis.

Simmer a Pot of Water with Cinnamon, Cloves and All Spice

This recipe has been around a long time and we use it more at Christmas but it works for anytime of the year.  This easy method is great for odor control and there is nothing more pleasant than delicious scents coming from the kitchen.

Cotton Balls Scented with Vanilla Extract

A cotton ball that has been dabbed with vanilla extract smells so good.   Place these inside your heating and ac vents.   This trick will allow the smell go straight through the house.   Reminder….make sure you put the cotton balls in a safe spot and not in a fire hazard area.

Place a Bowl of Coffee Beans in Each Room

Did you know that Coffee beans help to get rid of smell?  The coffee beans act as an absorbent. If you like the smell of coffee, the beans will also give off the coffee scent. Coffee beans are like a two in one odor control, they absorb and give off a scent.  I have even been known to put small bowls under the beds to give off that rich aroma.   Flavored coffee beans work well also.

Magazine Fragrance Samples

Tear out those sample smelling magazines and recycle them.   Open the fragrance samples and place one in each room, when the scent starts to fade you can add a few drop of water to the fragrance sample and it should perk the smell up. Save all magazine fragrance samples and when the samples have worn out, replace them with new samples.

Febreeze

Febreeze is one of my favorite products for odor control, not only do I keep cans in my house but also in my car.   There are several different fragrances but to get the most bang for your buck use the same scent throughout the house.  

Lemon Slices in the Garbage Disposal

When I squeeze lemons, I always feel like I am wasting the lemon slices so I push the lemon slices down the garbage disposal and turn on the disposal for just a few seconds and then leave the lemon slices. The few seconds the lemon slices are ground in the disposal is enough to give off a wonderful scent in the kitchen but the lemon slices are not ground enough to go down the disposal. Lemons make the house smell delicious and fresh, I especially love the scent in the kitchen area.

Hide Dryer Sheets

I am not a wasteful person so when my dryer sheets are finished in the dryer I sometimes use them for smell.   Placing dryer sheets under couches, beds or where ever you find good hiding spots is a great way to make a house smell good. I even put dryer sheets under the seats in my car and when the sun heats my car up, the smell is especially strong and good.

There are many ways to make your house smell good, find which scent is most pleasant to you and then fill your home with the wonderful scent.    Even if your home is not for sale don’t you deserve to come home to a good smelling retreat.

 

July 12, 2012

                                       GOING GREEN

These days everyone is trying to do their part and be a little more environmentally responsible, but how much is being done to effectively green up your home? There are countless ways to ensure that a house leaves less of a carbon footprint than its older counterparts of years past.

From choosing certain appliances to using technology to your (and Mother Earth’s) advantage, here are some terrific ways to be more sustainable and effectively green up your home.

1- Watch the temperature

You can install temperature controllers, such as automatic thermostats from places like Nest.com, so that while you’re gone during the day it will lower on its own and then come back up to a more comfortable temperature upon your return.

That way, you use the least amount of energy heating (or cooling) your home and it’s one less thing on your daily to-do list.

 

2- Buy energy-saving appliances

Appliances are huge electricity suckers, especially the older, more dated ones. However, most kitchen appliance manufacturers now offer energy-efficient refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, washers and dryers (marked “Energy Star”) that use significantly less energy than before (for example, Energy Star-qualified refrigerators are required to use 20% less energy).

At the end of the year, you’ll have given both Mother Nature and your electric bill a reprieve, and will effectively green up your home.

3- Use the right lighting

If you’re looking for a simple and relatively inexpensive way to green up your home, use energy-efficient light like LED lighting. “It’s both beautiful and functional,” said Denise Mitchell of Denise Mitchell Interiors, an “eco-friendly” interior designer based out of Campbell River, B.C., and a member of the Canada Green Building Council and proponent of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Canada program.

You can find LED versions of almost every kind of light, from tiny nightlights to oversized bulbs – they may be a tad more expensive than regular bulbs initially but they will definitely last much longer and will effectively green up your home.

4- Get motion sensors

Motion sensors and door-activated switches that are installed in key areas so that lights and fans shut off automatically when the area or room isn’t being used is a great way to effectively green up your home. They’re especially useful in busy households where children may forget to turn off the light -these switches will remember for them.

5- Get the right window treatments

Window treatments can play an important role when you want to effectively green up your home – not only will they influence the look and style of a space but they can also affect your electricity bills (and overall carbon footprint). “I always recommend that my clients get good quality window coverings that can help with heat and light.”   “You should look for something that keeps the heat in and the cold out.”

6- Reuse & repurpose old items

While it’s lovely to have all new pieces in a recently purchased home, it may not be the most eco-friendly route to take. “Don’t throw all of your old stuff in the landfill – reuse and revitalize your existing furniture.  Instead of a new living room set, have the existing pieces reupholstered. You can also find companies that will powder-coat worn outdoor furniture, as well as refurbish wood pieces for living and dining rooms, and bedrooms.

July 9,2012

 

What is the Market Going to Do?

If this is your year to buy a home or sell a home you might want to know what the experts say.   With that being said it is important to let you know that “The Experts” have been wrong in the past and in 2012 it seems they are not going out on a limb.   It appears no one has the answer.   There is no crystal ball to give us the perfect prediction to today’s market. 

Many of today’s forecasters “Experts” are talking about stabilization.   This appears to be the buzz word for today’s market.   Stabilization may not sound like a good thing for a homeowner hoping to regain some of that lost equity but it is the first step in the process of regaining a normal market.  

The general consensus is don’t look for huge increase in buyers or in sellers this year.   The demand will not be overwhelming but it will be steady.  Once again we use that word it will be “Stable”.  

It appears poor prices have been a huge deterrent for many home owners and has kept them from putting their homes on the market.   If our market sees a modest price increase, even as little as 4% it will encourage many sellers to list which will add to the inventory.   This stabilized the market because sellers will be moving up to buy a larger house adding to the demand.

Because of recent high-highs and low-lows in the market forecasters have learned to hedge their predictions so always remember it is just that.   It is a “Prediction”.   There are so many possibilities that could change the prediction.   Always take into consideration what is best for you.  

 

July 6, 2012

                                                              PICK YOUR BATTLES

Which battles do you choose to fight? Do you find that your heart pushes you in one direction, but your rational mind steps in and tells you what is and isn’t possible?

Frequently the ideas we believe in are compromised by what we sense we can reasonably accomplish. Facing the insurmountable engenders a sense of defeat or futility. We reason that if it all can’t be done, why do anything at all?

What I would propose is that we change the scope of our ambition without compromising our ideas. You may want to end world hunger, but what about feeding those in your community first? Even if we do not feel we can accomplish the greatest ends, should we abandon the good we can do along the way? Certainly not.

As a component of the concept of realistic optimism, Jonathan Kozol’s advice that we pick battles big enough to matter and small enough to win is not only sensible, it can inspire you (and those around you).

Do not abandon your ambitions or your best impulses, but find the battles within that matter most to you and fight to win them with all of your heart.

 

July 3, 2012

                                                             DOWNSIZING

 

I WISH ALL MY READERS A VERY BLESSED 4th of JULY.

Lots of folks today are down sizing.   Some folks are moving from beautiful, large homes to smaller town homes, a smaller home or a condo. 
Downsizing from a spacious home to a smaller residence can often pose a few problems.
In particular, purchasing a smaller residence may require you to get creative with your space. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can make your space quite comfortable.
Here are a few ideas for making your smaller space feel more spacious:
  • Cut down on the clutter – Too many things inside your original home will instantly make the space feel smaller. It is therefore always a good idea to take a few days and decide which things will stay and which things no longer have a place in your new space – or your life. When cutting down on the clutter, ask yourself if you’ve used this item within the last year. If it hasn’t seen the light of day, it is probably time to get rid of it. Before tossing your unwanted belongings, however, consider what you can donate, sell or gift to friends.
  • Think in terms of scale – Furniture that doesn’t fit the size of your rooms will likely create a disconnect in terms of comfort and style. In other words, larger pieces that may have fit nicely in your single-family home may simply be too large or awkward to fit into a smaller condo space. Too many pieces of furniture in any space will make it feel tight and claustrophobic, so consider eliminating any extraneous pieces from your home.
  • Consider multi-purpose furniture – When furnishing a condo or other small space, consider purchasing furniture that has multiple purposes. A coffee table with storage, an ottoman with storage or a sofa that folds out for a guest bed are all great ideas for furniture.

 

June 28,2012

         WHEN AM I READY TO PURCHASE A HOUSE ?

 

Determining the best time to buy is often a tricky prospect. And no one wants to surge ahead on the path to homeownership if they aren’t prepared. Luckily, there are a number of ways to determine whether now may be the best time to buy:

  • Your finances are in order – If you don’t know your credit score or are struggling to pay credit card bills each month, chances are you are not financially prepared to purchase a home. Having your finances in order means paying down your debt, understanding (and following) a household budget and getting your credit report in order. Anything less than that and you can be sure that a lender will not look favorably upon your loan application.
  • Your job is secure – If you like your job and feel confident about your position in the company (or in your chosen profession) in the years to come, it may be a good time to buy. However, if you don’t feel like you’ve settled down into a good profession or a solid job then you may want to wait to make the leap into homeownership.
  • You’ve established a nice nest egg – You may think you have your financial house in order, but if you are lacking a nice nest egg, you may not yet be ready to make the leap into homeownership. In addition to having money for a down payment, make sure you have at least three to six months’ worth of your salary in a savings or money market account. Many times, home buyers completely deplete their savings accounts to purchase a home, only to find themselves short on emergency funds when they need them the most.
  • You are ready to buy – You may have a nice down payment, an impressive credit score and a job you love, but if you are not emotionally prepared to purchase a home, take some time and think it over. Although many financial analysts will tell you that homeownership is the best financial move you can make, the truth is that you should never purchase a home because you think it’s the right thing to do. Instead, make sure it is something you really want.

Think about it, make the decision, and never look back!  Good Luck, you can do it!!

June 25, 2012

 

What is the Market Going to Do?
“WOW, Six Months From Today Is Christmas!  Just a Thought!”

If this is your year to buy a home or sell a home you might want to know what the experts say.   With that being said it is important to let you know that “The Experts” have been wrong in the past and in 2012 it seems they are not going out on a limb.   It appears no one has the answer.   There is no crystal ball to give us the perfect prediction to today’s market. 

Many of today’s forecaster “Experts” are talking about stabilization.   This appears to be the buzz word for today’s market.   Stabilization may not sound like a good thing for a homeowner hoping to regain some of that lost equity but it is the first step in the process of regaining a normal market.  

The general consensus is don’t look for huge increases in buyers or in sellers this year.   The demand will not be overwhelming but it will be steady.  Once again we use that word, it will be “Stable”.  

It appears poor prices have been a huge deterrent for many home owners and has kept them from putting their homes on the market.   If our market sees a modest price increase, even as little as 4% it will encourage many sellers to list which will add to the inventory.   This stabilized the market because sellers will be moving up to buy a larger house adding to the demand.

Because of recent high-highs and low-lows in the market forecasters have learned to hedge their predictions so always remember it is just that.   It is a “Prediction”.   There are so many possibilities that could change the prediction.   Always take into consideration what is best for you.  

June 21,2012

                                                      INSURANCE RATES

As a Real Estate agent you have to be knowledgeable in many things.   With that being said I recently learned that most insurance companies are having large rate increases this coming year.   That will increase your monthly payments if you have your insurance and property tax prorated with your payment.   Why the increase?   I learned that the basic reason was our weather.   During the second quarter of 2011 large weather related events caused record losses or $15 billion countrywide.

Hurricane Irene, wind and hail, tornado, wildfires, ice and snow and earthquakes all combined to cause these catastrophic losses.   These loses also put a huge demand on our building industry as well as on materials for building which drives up the reconstruction and repair cost market.  So while the current market value – the amount you could expect someone to pay for your home – may have dropped the cost to rebuild your (replacement cost) has increased.  Because you insure your home to replacement cost, not market value, the amount of coverage you need to be fully protected therefore forcing your premiums to go up.

Always remember that there are a few ways you can lower your insurance premiums.    Call your current agent and ask…

·          Can I increase my deductible – If you assume a greater part of the risk by increasing your deductible, you can 

             lower your premiums.

·          Can I improve my rate by insuring my autos with your company?

·          Do you offer any credits.   Ex:   Loyal Customer, Safe Driver, Age, No claims

·        If I have fire alarms, burglar alarms and smoke detectors throughout my home do I get a discount?

·        Remember that if all else fails you can requote your insurance with other companies to make sure you are getting

           the best price possible.

I was told many years ago that an insurance policy is like a promise.   This promise will help you to recover your losses if you ever need them.  We hope we never need them but that protection is something we must have.  

June 19, 2012

                                           De-Stress your Stress

Once you leave the office at the end of the day the very last thing you want to do is bring the daily stress into your home.   To begin this process you must leave as much as possible at the office.  On your way home try listening to classical music, maybe your favorite CD or you might want total silence so you can de-stress from the day.  Next lets make your home a peaceful, stress-free place.   Remember home will never be completely stress free but using the following tips you can guard against or prepare yourself for what lies ahead.   Take a look at the following tips and see which ones you can install in your home.

Organize your home

Start slow and be consistent in the organization.  When time permits, organize a small space like a drawer or a closet.   A good rule is if you have not used it in the past year then trash or donate this item.  You might consider purchasing folders rich in color or a binder to store bills, medical records, pets’ records, insurance policies..etc.    Make 3 boxes or bags and label them  Donate to Charity – Keep – Sell.   Items that end up in the Keep box you can then put back in the area you are cleaning in a more organized fashion.   The other 2 boxes you can store and have ready for your next organization project. 

“YOU” Time each day

For just a few minutes each day after work try this simple exercise.  Excuse your self to your private bedroom or find a section of the house where it is quiet.   I have had to use the closet before.   Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through you nose and exhaling through your mouth.   Concentrate on breathing from your diaphragm.   I always leave the lights off and have been known to turn on some relaxing music.   This simple 5 to 10 minutes helps me to clear my head of troublesome thoughts.  

Keep work separate

We have a rule at our house that has worked really well.   My husband and I are both professionals so we allow 1 hr each evening for “Office Hour”.   This is free time to discuss anything work related to your partner.   Also, because I am a Realtor and I cannot always leave my work at the office we have set up a“home office” where I can respond to calls, emails or other work that needs to be done and keep it out of our living space.  So simply said, keep work related technology and papers in your home office or out of sight and away from family living.

Importance of your bedroom

Separate living area from bedroom area just like you separate work from home space.   The bedroom needs to be given a clean sweep therefore making it stress-free.   Clean the room, remove the television, computer and all cell phones from your bedroom area.   Use blinds or heavy curtains to block out light.  Make sure your bedroom is painted a calm shade of soft blue, green, purple or taupe.   Yes, it matters about thread count.   Purchase some ultra-comfortable, luxurious bed linens for only you.   One best tip is keep the bedroom cooler especially at night.   Install a ceiling fan for that soft flow of air and also the gentle hum it creates. Remember the bedroom is for rest and relaxing. 

Cook meals on the weekends

Have you ever considered that one part of your weekday stress revolves around the preparation of dinner.   What’s for dinner?   Do I have the ingredients at home?   Do I have time to prepare?  Consider this..take the guess work out of the weekday dinners by checking out some on-line websites that show you how to cook entire meals on your Saturday and Sunday’s.  These sites give detail instructions on how to prepare, how to freeze and even suggestions on marking the package with what goes well with the main course.  Some sites go as far as helping you with a shopping list.   Check out KraftRecipes.com, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and Once a Month Mom to learn how to cook entire meals on a free Saturday or Sunday and store them in the freezer. Either thaw them overnight in the fridge or cook them straight from the freezer by adjusting the temperature and cooking time. Don’t forget the ole stand by…our crock pot.

Indulge in aromatherapy

Essential oils and fragrances like chamomile, lavender, marjoram, neroli and sandalwood are known to reduce anxiety and relax you.  When purchasing scents for the home look for these ingredients in candles, oils or in air freshners.  There are also fragrances that increase your energy levels like peppermint.   Give it a try.

Softer Lighting

Strong or harsh lighting can make us feel rushed or sometimes like you are put under a spotlight. Create a serene atmosphere by installing inexpensive dimmer switches (found at home supply or hardware stores) or replacing overhead lights with lamps. Make sure lampshades are a muted or thick off-white, beige or tan instead of bright or transparent white.

Just a few ideas that might make your home more stress free.   Give these a try and remember…relax.  

 

June 15,2012

THE       PERFECT       COLOR

Picking the perfect color for any room is always a job especially if I change my mind at least 100 times.   However if I follow this simple plan it always comes out right.   Learn to mix colors and fabrics and how to repeat color throughout the room. I have listed for you some of the principles of decorating and to learn how to use coordinating fabrics.   Remember it’s easy but it does take time and patience. 

Here’s How:

1.   First, lets choose a style or a theme for the room.  

2.   With the style and theme in mind, decide on an ‘anchor’ / “dominate” fabric that has 3 or more colors.

3.   Use the background color from the fabric as a wall color.

4.   Pick a mid-toned color from the fabric for flooring and large furniture pieces, which could be a solid or patterned design. Upholstery can also be done in your anchor fabric or coordinating fabric.

5.   Use the brightest colors from the fabric for accessories and accents like sit around items, picture mats or frames, and decorative pillows.

6.   Place your anchor fabric in at least three places in the room (upholstery, pillows, curtains, etc).

7.   Use coordinating fabrics in other scales (larger or smaller) as accent fabrics on chairs, pillows, cording, and tablecloths.

8.   For example, to use an ‘anchor’ fabric with an American flag design: use white (the background color) for walls, navy (a mid-toned color) on floor, blue and white ticking on the sofa, and red (the brightest color) for accessories and accents.

9.   To continue this example, the coordinated prints could be the blue and white ticking stripe, a navy star print fabric, and a red and white mini-check used on chairs, curtains, and pillows.

Tips:

1.   Repeat colors evenly throughout the room, and in at least 3 places.

2.   Adding details in cording and trims is one way to disperse color and add interest.

3.    Divide color use to approximately 60% of the room in the background (lightest) color, 30% in the mid-tone color, and 10% in the brightest, accent colors.

Decorating is fun and should always reflect your personality.   Relax, enjoy and decorate with confidence. 

June 10, 2012

                                                  IRS Surviving Spouse  Tax Allowances

The IRS has given special consideration regarding the sale of their jointly-owned principal residence after the death of a spouse. If the surviving spouse does not remarry prior to the sale of the home, they may qualify to exclude up to $500,000 of gain instead of the $250,000 exclusion for single people.

The sale needs to take place after 2008 and no more than two years after the date of death of the spouse

  • Surviving  spouse must not have remarried
  • Both  spouses must have used the home as their principal residences for two of the last five years prior to the death
  • Both spouses must have owned the home for two of the last five years prior to the death
  • Neither spouse may have excluded gain from the sale of another principal residence during the last two years prior to the death

If you have been widowed in the last two years and have gain in your principal residence, it would be worth investigating the possibilities. Contact your tax professional for advice about your specific situation.   Contact Kay or Roger Caldwell to find out what your home is worth in today’s market. 931-434-0516.  See IRS Publication 523 –surviving spouse.

 

June 6, 2012

                                   Save Money…Be Comfortable

Automatic thermostats can lower your monthly utility costs while conveniently regulating your comfort by adjusting temperatures on your heating and cooling systems. These can be particularly effective in homes with zoned systems where you live in one area during the day but sleep in a different zone.

There are programmable thermostats available at home improvement stores that can make the adjustments for specific times during the day and specific days of the week. They’ll allow you to override the setting when needed without tampering with the programming. They’ll even remind you to change your filter. We installed one at our home in Winchester a while back and have really enjoyed it.

An exciting development is the Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that allows adjustments from any Internet connection such as computer or Smartphone. Imagine how convenient it can be to change your temperature from the car before you get home.

Reasonably priced under $100 for most models, it makes it easy to recapture the cost of the thermostat quickly. Most of the thermostats are designed for do-it-yourselfers; however, you can always have a heating and cooling professional install it for you. 

June 3, 2012

                                   Why Hasn’t My Home SOLD!

 

So, your home didn’t sell when you listed it FOR SALE BY OWNER?   So, your home didn’t sell when you listed with another agency?  

That reality is, unfortunately, quite common in today’s challenging real estate market. If you are a homeowner dealing with the predicament of an expired listing, it may be time to rethink your strategy. In other words, now may be the time to turn to a different real estate firm with extensive experience with expired listings.

The Caldwell Team is knowledgeable and are highly skilled when it comes to taking on expired listings. Our team will examine your home’s previous pricing and marketing strategy and come up with a new strategy that is sure to get your home sold – once and for all!

If you are stuck with an expired listing, there are likely two reasons why it hasn’t sold:

  • Price – Price is the number-one reason homes set on the market longer than necessary, and price is the main reason why listings expire. If your home is not priced right, it can spell disaster when buyers begin comparing it to similar homes on the     market. Many times, buyers won’t even view an overpriced home, thereby leaving you in a predicament when it comes to selling your home in a reasonable amount of time. A VIP Realty agent will work with you to come up with a reasonable pricing strategy for your home based on recent comparables and the features of your home. Remember: a properly priced home will sell!   And if priced properly it will sell FAST.
  • Exposure – If your expired listing failed to attract the appropriate traffic from potential buyers and their agents, it is time to reconsider your previous agent’s marketing strategy. The Caldwell’s have a strong Internet presence, thereby allowing   us to immediately get your home in front of potential buyers. Our proven     marketing strategies, as well as our strong Internet presence, will allow your home to be seen by the most buyers, thereby increasing your chances of getting it sold.

Call us today… Kay or Roger Caldwell (931-434-0516) or (931-205-3329) to tap into our knowledge and experience necessary to market and price your home properly so that your expired listing will soon be a thing of the past!  I look forward to your call!!

 

May 18, 2012

Tips to maintain Good Credit

Payment History Tips (Contributing 35% of your score)

Pay your bills on time.
Delinquent payments, even if only a few days late, and collections can have a major negative impact on your FICO score.

Missed a Payment…Get it current and stay that way.
The longer you pay your bills on time after being late, the more your score should improve. Older credit problems count for less, so poor credit performance won’t haunt you forever. Past credit problems will eventually fade so start a good pattern for your credit report.

Paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
It will stay on your report for seven years.

Having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors and explain the problem.
This won’t rebuild your credit score immediately, but if you can begin to manage your credit and pay on time, your score should increase over time. And seeking assistance from a credit counseling service will not hurt your FICO score.

 

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May 3, 2012

Can you really repair or improve your credit score?   Can it really be fixed?   You should remember that fixing bad credit is a little like losing weight, it takes time and there is no quick fix.   Your best bet is to manage your credit responsibily over time.   I have listed a few tips below that might help.

3 Important Things You Can Do Right Now

1.     Check Your Credit Report – Credit score repair begins with your credit report. Start by requesting a free copy of your credit report and check it completely for errors.   If you find an error then Dispute the errors on your report with the credit bureau and reporting agency.

2.     Setup Payment Reminders – Making payments on time is THE biggest factor in your credit score.   If you have trouble remembering when certain bills are due set up reminders on your phone or consider automatic draft.

3.     Reduce the Amount of Debt You Owe – Yea, I know this is easier said than done.   Right?   However it is very important.   Using the credit report make a list of all debt and what the interest rates are.   Come up with a payment plan that puts most of your available budget for debt payments towards the highest interest cards first, while maintaining minimum payments on your other accounts.

Remember that time will help if you are using it responsibly.

Let me know what you think.

My email is kaycaldwell@realtracs.com

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April 26, 2012

 

                                                                                                            A BLOG

So what is a blog?  

 When it was recommended to me that I start a blog I had to start from the very beginning.  

What is a blog?  

What does it do?  

I found that a blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”.

 Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”.

A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.

Confused yet? Don’t be – it’s really quite simple. To put it as simply as possible remember that a blog is a type of website it is usually arranged in chronological order from most recent to oldest.  A blog will share information or an opinion. The information may even seem to be random.  That is the point.  Keep your readers wondering what you will post next.  They will expect me to post about real estate, and often I do, but I try to keep you guessing.  How am I doing? 

OK, so now you know. You are officially educated in the art of blogging.   Most blogs have a few features that are useful to know about one fact or another.

Can I tell you a secret?   I still know almost nothing about blogging but I am having a blast learning.   One of the best ways to learn about blogging is to surf the web and find a few blogs.   Chat or comment on blogs.   You might get hooked and become a blogg er.  Let me know what you think.

My email is kaycaldwell@realtracs.com 

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April 21, 2012

                                                                            WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CREDIT SCORES

Today’s market is all about the credit score.   If you qualify for a loan or not begins and ends with the credit score.   I thought it might be interesting to give you information regarding credit scores.   This information was obtained from ‘ http://credit-score-range.org.

  • 400-450 – This credit score is considered to be the lowest possible credit a person can have. Anything that comes back on your credit report that is lower than the score simply means you either do not have credit, or you are not credit worthy.
  • 450-500 – With a credit score 450 to 500, you are still considered to be in a very low credit status. There may be a lot of different imperfections on your credit report that need immediate attention. This could also mean that you simply do not have credit of any type, and a lender or creditor will not move forward with providing credit as long as this score stays where it is.
  • 500-550 –This credit score is not even considered average but still below average.  Although you may be able to obtain credit, you will pay some of the highest interest rates that are available.
  • 550-600 – Still below average and like 500 to 550 credit score range you sill be at the mercy of the creditors for interest rates.
  • 600-650 – Considered the lower average range it is typical for millions of people. 600 to 650 will not imply that you have perfect credit; however, it does not imply that your credit history should be overlooked when applying for credit from a creditor.  You will also discover that there are higher interest rates; however, they will not be as high as anything at a lower range. If your credit score falls within this range, there are probably a couple of minor issues that will need to be taken care of
  • 650-700 – Considered the higher average range you will more than likely be able to qualify for loans of every different type. Although this isn’t the ultimate range, and you may pay a higher interest rate, you will surely secure a loan. If your credit score falls within this range, you may want to have a look at your credit report and find out if there are any issues you can take care of right away.
  • 700-750 – This average is considered above average and you will not have any problem acquiring credit.   This is an area everyone should hope for or aim to achieve. You will not have any problem obtaining credit for any creditor because you will be considered to be credit worthy.
  • 750 and up – Superior and top of the line scores.   When people ask what is highest credit score you can get the answer is 750 and up.  If you have a credit score that is 750 and above, you’ll be happy to know that you have excellent credit score! With a credit score range of 750 and above, you will have a wide variety of options open to you when it comes to applying for credit anywhere and for anything.

 

 

April 15, 2012

 

An Aspirin A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

For years my doctor has encouraged me to take an aspirin every day.   Being from that generation that does what the doctor says I have been doing this for some time.   The aspirin is a popular weapon against heart attacks.   Today we learn that it may also play a huge role in cancer prevention or in cancer treatment.

The newest study showed that after taking aspirin for 3 or 4 years there started to be a reduction in the number of people with the spread of cancers.   Because of this study it could potentially be used as a treatment.   However, the research is not conclusive and it did not prove completely that aspirin combats cancer.   Currently a daily low dose of aspirin is recommended for individuals over 55 who have had a heart attack or stroke or have close relatives who have suffered from this. Aspirin, a popular weapon in the war against heart attacks, may also play a role in cancer prevention and treatment, three new British studies suggest.

“We have now found that after taking aspirin for three or four years there starts to be a reduction in the number of people with the spread of cancers, so it seems as well as preventing the long-term development of cancers, there is good evidence now that it is preventing the spread of cancers,” said lead researcher Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, a professor of neurology at the University of Oxford and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.   “Because aspirin prevents the spread of cancers, it could potentially be used as a treatment,” he added.

But the research is not conclusive, and did not prove that aspirin combats cancer. So, people should not start popping aspirin in the hopes of thwarting cancer.  While the study is attention-getting, not everyone agrees with the overall conclusions.

With this new information as well as with all information any decision about treatment should be made on an individual basis and you should always consult your doctor.  

Because the test is new and the results have just been released it will take time for the entire medical community to evaluate and give clinical guidelines.  

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April 11, 2012

                                                                    Should I Sell or Stay

So you have decided to stay in your current home.   You have decided that this is not the time for you to buy.   I have listed below a few ideas that might make your home more livable.   Now this might not make your home more sellable but if you have decided to stay then livable is what you need.  

1. Walk-in pantry instead of upgrading kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are expensive. Half of them are up high on the wall where they’re hard to reach, and the wall space they take up could be better used for windows. A pantry takes up less space, stores a lot more, is much easier to use, and costs less to build.  Most buyers love a pantry so this makes sense for now as well as later.

2. Comfortable shower instead of big bathtub

Today’s lifestyle enjoys a shower.   A shower takes up less space; it uses less hot water, is more sanitary than a tub and can be just as beautiful.   It’s quick and easy and isn’t that way today’s life is all about?

3. Group windows together facing best views instead of scattering them around the house

Got a great view somewhere? Bring it into the house with lots of glass. Take excess windows from bedrooms and bathrooms and use them to connect the inside of the house with the outside.  Enjoy the sunshine and open it up.

4. Keep ceiling heights reasonable for the room size

Trey or vaulted ceilings do not automatically make a room friendlier.  It just simply makes the room taller, it makes it harder to decorate and it also makes it more expensive to heat and cool.   Maybe instead of investing in making the ceilings taller you could focus your attention on a view, a fireplace, and a piece of nice art and away from ceiling height.    Wall trim and multiple paint colors assist in breaking up the volume of the room and can help you create the illusion of height.

5. Spend more time planning, and less money building

If you are considering building an addition plan where the furniture will sit to improve the layout of the room.   A window or a door on every wall makes for hard, attractive furniture arrangement.  If you aren’t considering building on then arrange the room to have the best traffic flow.

6. Consider the simple elegance of the box-form house

Subtlety and restraint used to be virtues in home design. Today’s designers sometimes attempt to attract attention to their homes with simply more stuff.  More gables, more materials, more bay windows, but always keep in mind that proper proportion, scale and details are what turn heads.  The simple box-house is a classic American style that has survived for many years.   An added bonus is that the box-form is easier and cheaper to build.   Also, because it encloses a larger volume in less perimeter it is less expensive to heat, cool and maintain.

7. Share part of the master bath

As a word of warning I must say that this idea will not be popular with everyone.   However, it really will tighten up the budget and give more floor space.    Make the toilet and sink in your master bath accessible to the rest of the house but keep the shower are private.  

8. Spend it when you have it, not before

I agree, granite countertops are great but if the budget’s tight why not replace the old model with really nice laminate tops now and saving for the granite later?   This strategy can also apply to light fixtures, flooring, window treatment, landscaping.   Upgrade when the money is available but make it nice enough now to enjoy.

9. Compartmentalized bath — two baths in the space of 1 1/2 baths

Maybe a “Jack n Jill” bath will not work for you so how about a compartmentalized bath.   Each kid doesn’t need a personal bathroom, but does need privacy and room to share. A compartmentalized bath puts two sinks in one room and the toilet and tub/shower in another, so three kids can use the bath at once and keep a little more harmony in the family home.

I honestly don’t think any of these ideas will be seen on HGTV any time soon but maybe it will help you to realize there are better ways to do all things

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April 7, 2012

 

UNENDING FLOW

My Bible Verse today was Psalm 36:9 “With you is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”    This verse resonated with me because some days I find myself looking for happiness only from my outward circumstances.    As longs as my life is untouched, no troubles I have a tendency to feel happy.   However, if illness, sadness, death or turmoil strikes my happiness seems to run away.   What type of ministry am I witnessing to others?   Where is my strength?   My strength cometh from the Lord.   Yet how frequently do I forget that my joy comes from the Lord also.

A few miles from our house is this wonderful spring that appears to come out of the side of a hill.   It appears to never change much in its flow.   During drought it slows some but never stops the constant flow.   During rainy season it might be a little stronger but never gushes in its flow.    I passed this stream the other day while traveling and thought how steady, reliable and unending this flow of water appears.  

This stream, this unending flow is the peace we all yearn for and we find this peace by simply turning to God.   Jesus promises to all who trust in Him:  “The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life….. My peace I give to you” (John 4:14; 14:27)

Have you stopped long enough to be thankful for that unending stream?   Have you recognized that our ending stream is Christ our Lord?   Today… right now I stop to give heartfelt, unending thanks for my stream.   The Good and the Bad, both circumstances, because through Christ I can overcome anything but before me.

April 3, 2012

 

Tips to maintain Good Credit

Payment History Tips (Contributing 35% of your score)

Pay your bills on time.
Delinquent payments, even if only a few days late, and collections can have a major negative impact on your FICO score.

Missed a Payment…Get it current and stay that way.
The longer you pay your bills on time after being late, the more your score should improve. Older credit problems count for less, so poor credit performance won’t haunt you forever. Past credit problems will eventually fade so start a good pattern for your credit report.

Paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
It will stay on your report for seven years.

Having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors and explain the problem.
This won’t rebuild your credit score immediately, but if you can begin to manage your credit and pay on time, your score should increase over time. And seeking assistance from a credit counseling service will not hurt your FICO score.

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March 21, 2012

                                                                               Springtime Energy Tips

Need to save a little money this spring?   Follow these easy steps and you can save some money this season.  

Bathroom:

1)Install water saving showerheads in all your shower/tubs.   This will reduce the hot water use without cutting down on the
    amount of time you spend in the shower.
2)While you are washing face, shaving or brushing your teeth don’t keep the hot water running.
3)Purchase a cheap egg timer and time your shower.   Cutting down the time for your shower will equal not spending money down
    the drain.

Kitchen:

1)Hot air builds up when cooking so to avoid this always run the exhaust fan during this time.
2)Take a couple of days a week and plan it as “No Stove Day”.   Grill, microwave or small countertop appliances are good
    alternatives to heating the stove.
3)Ceiling fans are not only good in the bedrooms but also in the kitchen to keep the air circulating.

Cooling:

1)If in need of new air conditioning needs look into an attic ventilator.    This can provide almost as much comfort as an air
    conditioner but at a much lower price.   The attic ventilator simply brings cool air up through your home and you simply pump cool
    air in during the evening hours.
2)To keep the cool air in during the hot months keep doors and window shut tightly.   Try lowering the blinds and keeping them
    closed during the day to keep the heat out.

Refrigerator:

1)The seals in your refrigerator are one of the most basic places the cool air escapes so always check on the seals.   To increase the 
    life of the seals keep them soft as well as clean.   I use baby oil.  Remember that seals for refrigerator and freezer need to be
    cleaned and oiled once per mt.
2)Like all other area in the home the refrigerator needs to be clean and dust free.   Under the refrigerator as well as the coils.   When
    the coils are clean the air is allowed to circulate and flow more freely.
3) Keep in mind that the refrigerator is responsible for up to 11% of the energy used in your household.

 

March 17, 2012

 

                                                                        New at Composting
After living in the country for 3 years my husband and I recently decided we wanted to start composting.   My experience immediately thinks composting has to be smelly, unattractive and will send out a welcome to all animals.   After research and homework I learned I was wrong.   The only thing required is to do it properly.   Allow me to share how we built our compost pile.
·           We removed the grass, weeds and rocks from an area about four feet square.   We then covered the area completely in layers of newspaper.   I used about 12 layers of black and white newspaper.   Never use the shiny or color paper because it will not decompose as rapidly.   We used this as our first step to prevent weeds or grass seeds from germinating and growing in our compost pile.
·         We used wood pallets (found at our local dump) and built a 3 sided enclosure.  
·         The first layer needs to be organic matter.   A 3 inch layer of grass or raked leaves will work.   We started our compost pile in the fall so leaves were very available for our use.   Beside the compost pile we made a huge pile of leaves to use as our layering tool.
·         I now keep a covered container in the kitchen.   I use an old coffee can to keep vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, food scraps.    Yes, I have been known to even include spoiled produce, out of date herbs and even crushed eggshells.  A good idea is to chop compost items smaller before I put them in my kitchen container.   I empty my container each evening and wash out my container to prevent odor.
·         After dumping my kitchen container on the compost pile I toss some leaves on top to help with the control of insects and flies.
·         Keep handy a shovel with a great handle and every 3 or 4 days simply toss the pile.
·         Since composting needs moisture, air and heat always pay attention to the amount of rain and if it doesn’t rain in a week or so water down the pile.
·         If handy use manure from cows, horses, goats or donkeys.   A note to remember is waste from animals that eat grass (nature fed) will enrich your compost.
·         The compost is done and ready for use when it looks and smells like earth.   When it is moist and crumbly is the best sign.   Dig the best compost from the bottom of the pile.
  
Happy Composting!
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March 12, 2012
SPRING BREAK REST

My husband and I have been working diligently to find a date we could take a little trip.   We are planning a Spring Break to regenerate ourselves.   We have 4 children and 3 of the 4 have already scheduled their trips but for some reason we haven’t taken the time to make a plan.   Recently one of the children explained to me how she needed a break that she was so tired of her day to day activities she just needed a rest.   Few people know how to rest these days.   Even on vacation, many of us take work with us in one form or another.   If not work then we are rushing around to see everything there is to see in the area.   Sometimes we come home needing a vacation from our vacation.  Then upon return we spend twice as much time catching up on emails, snail mail, meetings, and appointments that have accumulated during our absence.   I sometimes catch us looking for rest in all the wrong places.

Jesus said “Come to me… and I will give you rest.”   Like peace, rest and pure contentment can only be found in one place, it can only come from one source and that is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ.

Jesus will give us the perfect rest.   He will give us the strength we need to move around the worldly things, to put them in their respective place.   The Bible teaches us to rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead.   We seem to forget that Jesus Christ has already taken care of our tomorrows.

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March 7, 2012

                                             Websites for Home Buyers

Purchasing a home is stressful in all situations.   You definitely need all the advice and help you can get during this process.   Yes, your real estate agent will be your best source of information but many of us like to research ourselves.   Many of us make folders regarding each topic to add relevant information.   Your agent will give you lots of information about homes and neighborhoods but like me some of us like to do our own research.   This article is all about helping you learn where to start. Here are the top eight websites that can give you advice and information to help you make an educated decision when buying your new home.

Zing! – This site give you tips and advice on making an offer, tips for home buying, mortgage closing and lots more.

HUD.gov – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has several resources for people thinking about buying a home, including information about Fair Housing, predatory lending, RESPA and your rights as the borrower.

City-Data.com – If you are you looking for demographics, crime data, cost of living, and other data about the neighborhood you’re interested in, then this site is a great resource.  Simply enter the zip code of the home your considering purchasing and City-Data will provide you the most recent demographics to give you a better feel such as average household income, average household values and much more.

Family Watchdog – Every family with children should be aware of this site.   It allows you to see where registered sexual offenders live and work around you and your family. The site gets updated weekly.   Knowledge is power. So if your life in a home nears a sexual offender you can prepare yourself and the family better.  

Quizzle – This site offers a free account with them, and you get a free credit report, free credit score, budget planner, credit improvement tools, home value estimator and home loan recommendations.  One thing I really like about this site is you don’t have to provide a Social Security number to create an account.

PicketReport – Interested in the area lifestyles?   Interested in learning about the safety of the area.   Want to learn about the schools?   Enter your zip code and PicketReport does the rest.   PicketReport will give you detailed info about the lifestyle segments for that area, crime rates, nearby amenities and school ratings.

Zillow – A huge amount of information from homes for sale, commonly asked questions, advice for buyers and sellers and even advice from real estate professionals.   Keep in mind that if you’re looking for homes using Zillow or other similar sites, some homes may show as available when in reality they may be under contract or have several offers on them. These sites do not get updated as quickly as the information your agent might have so, it’s always good to check with your agent about the status of a listing.

Trulia.com – Trulia offers a search for homes for sale as well as a Q&A, blogs and home buying guides and more information.

These are just a few helpful sites.   There are many more so look and learn.   Home ownership is one of the largest purchases you will ever make so arm yourself with knowledge

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March 2, 2012

Celebrating the Lenten Season

 I guess I never associated the celebration of Mardi Gras with any sort of religious observance.  If you think about it the news shows hordes of people, some drunk and staggering in the streets.   So I ask myself, where do you find holiness in this picture?   Growing up in a Presbyterian home in a very rural setting  we did not observe Lent.   I suppose for many the Mardi Gras  might be all the holiday represents but as I’ve grown older, and I have learned some of the beautiful traditions of my denomination as well as other christian denominations Lent took on a whole new  meaning.

For Catholics and some Protestant denominations, Mardi Gras (literally translated “Fat Tuesday”) is the final day before the observance of Lent.  Mardi Gras didn’t start out as a time of drunken revelry.  It originated just as a final opportunity to feast prior to the fasting of Lent.   While Mardi Gras has gained a reputation for its party time, Lent is known as a time of prayer, repentance, and re commitment leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.  Starting with Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, and culminating 40 days later, Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for the most important religious holiday for believers..   Did you know that Sundays are not included in the observance of Lent as Sundays are supposed to be holy days of celebrating the resurrection for all Christians.?

Traditionally, observers participated in Lent by abstaining from certain types of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk products).  In some traditions, partial fasts were observed where participants would eat only one meal on certain days.  Many who observe Lent today are not as strict.  Often they choose to abstain from a particular food or particular behavior (such as watching TV, for example) during Lent.  The idea is to abstain from pleasurable activities and instead use the time and energy usually spent in those activities to focus on taking stock of one’s own spiritual condition and repenting for spiritual failures.  This idea seems foreign even to many Christians in our culture of immediate gratification.

The 40 days of Lent are also a time of grief.  All Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ each Easter.  Unfortunately, we often don’t spend much time grieving over our sins that caused the brutal execution of Christ.  This tradition begins with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.  Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a sign of repentance.  The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions.  In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin.  Perhaps if we are to truly appreciate the great cost to Christ of our salvation, we should meditate on our sinfulness.  This meditation should lead observers of Lent to turn away from their sins and recommit themselves to holiness. 

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February 28, 2012

 

IT’S LEAP YEAR

Every four years the world allows time to catch up and this year it is called leap year . Have you ever wondered why the earth needs an extra day every fourth year? What exactly is a leap day? The world is a mysterious place until someone explains the simple phenomena experienced.

What Is Leap Year?
The definition of leap year according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “a year in the Gregorian calendar containing 366 days with February 29th as the extra day.” That makes perfect sense, but why does the earth need an extra day? The years that are not leap years are called common years. In common years, the calendar has 365 days. Leap day occurs to synchronize the solar year with the calendar year.

Keeping time aligned with the sun’s rotation means that when its spring the sun is warming up the earth and planting can begin in temperate zones. Using a 365-day calendar creates an error of about .2422 days or approximately six hours. In 100 years, the earth would be 24 days ahead of the seasons. The earth has used the Gregorian calendar since 1582 with an error of 27 seconds that adds up to one day every 3,236 years. Leap year rectifies this error keeping the time of year and the path of the sun synchronized.Julius Caesar invented leap year in 45 BCE, or rather, Sosigenes his astronomer did. The Roman calendar had 355 days. In order to keep seasons and festivals even with the calendar a 22nd or 23rd day was added every second year. Eventually days were added to different months resulting in 365-day calendar.

2012 is Leap Year.   Any idea what a Leap Year is?   Any idea why we need or use a Leap Year?   Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun. If we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!.

The ancient Roman Calendar added an extra month every few years to maintain the correct seasonal changes.

But Julius Caesar implemented a new calendar – the Julian Calendar – in 45 BCE (Before Common Era) with an extra day added every 4 years. At the time, Leap Day was February 24, because February was the last month of the year.

*   Traditionally, February 29th is the one day of the year that women can propose to men. In 1288 Scotland established that if a woman proposed to a man and he refused he was required to pay a fine. So, you single guys might want to hide next Wednesday.

*   It is also considered unlucky in Scotland to be born on a Leap Day. Why the Scots were obsessed with Leap Day is a mystery.
*   You can figure out which years will be leap years by dividing by 4 except if it is a century year (1800, 1900, etc.) unless it is also evenly divisible by 400. 
     And, you thought is was simply every 4 years.

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February 26, 2012

 

FACING EVICTION?

Unfortunately, during this real estate downturn, many people have found themselves in places they never expected to end up — sometimes even being evicted from their home.  Evictions can be the result of job loss, which leads to foreclosure or other some misfortune that has added to the statistics of this troubling U.S. economy.

While it’s never nice to be presented with an eviction notice, there are ways to deal with it gracefully.  Please note that eviction laws vary from state to state and each situation is different.  However, there are a few things you can do if you come home and find an eviction notice taped to your front door.

Don’t ignore the notice.  Whether the notice is considered a legit, court-ordered notice posted by the sheriff or an “empty threat” note posted by an angry landlord, you MUST respond.

  1. Respond with common courtesy.  If you feel that the eviction is unfair, then the beauty of this country is that you can have your say in the matter in front of a judge.  However, if you really are behind on your payments and/or have broken some sort of agreement to pay (i.e., a lease or mortgage agreement), then you will likely need to have a really good reason for non-payment.  But you can’t go screaming, yelling or cussing at the landlord or the judge.  Be professional, you’ll get farther with both and maybe find some leniency that is fair.  Just be sure that you have your ducks in a row and have documented everything. 
  2. Initiate a conversation with the landlord and propose some sort of payment arrangement.  Maybe you can’t make the entire $1,000/month payment, but you can make it in pieces.  Chances are your landlord doesn’t want another vacancy, so maybe they would be willing to make arrangements in which you would pay $500 at the beginning of each month and $550 in the middle of the month for a short term.  If possible, show good faith by offering to pay a little more to the landlord (call it capped late fees) for their efforts.
  3. Follow through.  Whether you make payment arrangements or some other sort of agreement, you must follow through.  If you can’t keep the arrangement that are agreed to, then ask the landlord if they have another rental that is less expensive for you to move into that will meet your budget.
  4. Accept that truth is truth.  Maybe there is no way of working something out and you must really vacate your home before the landlord and sheriff physically move you and your stuff to the curb. There is nothing wrong with downsizing.  Everyone falls on hard times and chances are even your landlord is not completely heartless.   Let him see you are trying.   With that being said…be cooperative.

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