Do You Believe In Any Of These Real Estate Superstitions?

Tons of people think the number 13 is unlucky. Some don’t. But pretty much everyone has at least heard that the number 13 is unlucky.

With Friday the 13th upon us, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to send along some superstitions we come across in the real estate industry, which you may have never heard about…

Lucky numbers

Real estate agents sometimes find themselves working with clients who have superstitions based upon lucky (and unlucky) numbers.

This is often a cultural superstition. And the lucky or unlucky numbers are different from culture to culture.

This can affect whether or not someone will buy a house, if the street address is an unlucky number, or even adds up to an unlucky number.

It can also affect the specific dollar amount they will offer or accept for a house…

What direction a house faces

Does your house face East? If it does, that’s great… for some potential buyers.

But others may not see it that way, and would never buy a house unless it faces South.

Again, these superstitions are typically cultural, and no one direction is right for every culture.

So, don’t worry what direction your house faces…there’s always someone who will be fine with whatever direction it is facing.

Mercury in retrograde

This is less cultural, and more a matter of whether someone is into astrology…

It is believed that when the planet Mercury is in “retrograde” (backward), it is a bad time to enter a contract.

So, if a client is sensitive to this, there is a good chance there isn’t a deal good enough to get them to buy or sell a house while Mercury is in retrograde.

Smudging

Ever hear of smudging? That’s when you burn a sacred plant (often sage), and walk around the house wafting the smoke, in order to get rid of negative energy in a house.

Does that sound crazy? Sound like someone’s been smokin’ the smudge!?

As a real estate agent, I wouldn’t call it crazy…

While an agent may not believe in a client’s superstition, or even understand it…they won’t consider it crazy.

It’s a real estate agent’s responsibility to represent their clients’ best interests.

So I wouldn’t consider any of the above examples (or anything else you could throw at me) crazy…because if it is a concern for my client, it is a concern for me.

Wishing you nothing but luck this Friday the 13th.

P.S. Out of curiosity… do you have any superstitions when it comes to buying and selling a house? Let me know, I’d love to hear!

Advertisements

Chattel – Real Estate Term of the Week

In general terms, chattel, is a personal possession. In legal terms, chattel is defined as “an item of property other than real estate.”

Why is this a real estate term? 

Typically, when purchasing a home, the buyer will ask for certain personal property that belongs to the seller to remain with the real estate. This is often the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, window coverings, and other appliances. Sometimes though, the buyer would like to keep something of the seller’s like a patio set or the sectional sofa in the basement living room.

The bank that is financing the home will likely allow such things like the kitchen appliances to be in the purchase contract as those are seen as “normal” items to sell with a house. A couch or patio set however is not normal and should not be part of the purchase contract. If the buyer wishes to purchase those items with the house, the buyer and seller typically will have their own agreement separate of the purchase contract.

June is National Homeowner Month. Here’s An Interesting Take On It

Are you aware that June is National Homeownership month?

Probably not. Because you’re too busy working to afford the home you live in, whether you rent it or own it.

Why should you care?

If you poke around and read anything you can find about it, you’re being urged to recognize and celebrate the benefits of homeownership.

That seems kind of a weird thing to ask you to do. Do you really have the time or care? What’re you supposed to do, throw a party? Sit alone and contemplate it? Invite some friends out for coffee and chat about it?

You’ve got to figure that the people who actively promote it probably have their reasons and motives for pushing it. (You know, like real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and the government.)

It makes you wonder…

Why do they push it, other than to make money?

Is it really the “American Dream”? Or is it just a packaged ploy?

Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What about all the people who were recently hurt by the housing market and getting in over their heads?

What about the economy and jobs? What about making enough money to even afford a house?

And, what about all the headaches and worries that come with homeownership?

Are you being sold on something unachievable, or not even all that desirable?

Maybe you shouldn’t own a home

OK, first off…

Homeownership is not for everyone.

There always seems to be this push to increase the percentage of homeowners. It gets wrapped in reasons why it’s good for you, your community, the country as a whole…maybe even the whole universe.

Pushing to increase the percentage of homeownership for the sake of statistics and percentages is wrong.

Lots of people shouldn’t own a home. Maybe some people shouldn’t even be allowed to own a home even if they qualify financially. That’s what leads to problems, because it’s a responsibility not everyone can handle.

Besides, if everyone owned property it wouldn’t be as special. As coveted. As much of a dream.

So, if you do question whether homeownership is “worth it”, maybe it isn’t the worst thing. Maybe you shouldn’t own a home.

It’s easy enough to let the people who really want to own property, and believe in the value of it, own all of the real estate.

Just don’t buy any…

Let them enjoy the “pride”

One of the catch phrases you’ve probably heard is, “There’s pride in homeownership.”

That’s kind of the cover-all reason given as to why more and more people should own their own homes.

You can’t entirely diminish the fact that there is pride and value in owning real estate. There is.

Nor can you entirely diminish the actual benefits of ownership, like building wealth, tax incentives, and not throwing money out the window and building someone else’s wealth.

But there’s certainly an inability for some people to buy real estate. Some people will never achieve homeownership.

And there’s certainly risk and worry involved. Not everyone can handle that.

It’s certainly understandable that lots of people shy away from buying real estate so soon after the real estate bubble burst, and the slow recovery. Some people are still recovering financially. Some people watched their parents struggle and worry, only to lose their home.

But for those who can and do own real estate, there is pride. And there’s appreciation.

Because while not everyone should own real estate…at least now everyone can.

You get to choose, not be chosen to own land

It used to be only a select few who could own land.

Now almost everyone has the right to own property…if they want to and have the ability.

This isn’t the feudal system where there are only a handful of Lords who’ve been granted a piece of land to look after by a King. (Side note: Do you think any Lords ever questioned the value of owning land?)

You can choose to be the lord of some land. You just have to want to, and be financially qualified to.

While you don’t have to be “chosen”…nobody’s giving it to you either.

So, if you can financially afford to, there should be some pride and appreciation in owning a little (or large) piece of this planet, with a “castle” to call your own.

So, when you do decide to buy some real estate, you should enjoy the pride, appreciation, and respect for the right and privilege to do so. You are essentially choosing to be your own land Lord.

There are places in this world you still can’t. So, imagine that. Imagine not having the choice.

Is it worth you recognizing and celebrating?

With all that in mind, is National Homeownership Month more meaningful to you?

Does it put homeownership in an objective light? Is it appealing to you? Does it make you want to own real estate? Does it make you want to own more real estate if you already own some?

Don’t get swept up in the hype of homeownership month, or anyone just trying to persuade you of the benefits of homeownership, no matter what month it is.

The best way to figure out if you should be a homeowner is to speak with a serious, objective real estate agent. One who takes counseling clients more seriously than pushing the pride of homeownership, just so they can make a sale.

Give me a ring if you’re looking for some good, objective counsel. I’d love to be part of that round table.

These Trendy “Stock Tank” Pools are Popping Up In Back Yards Everywhere

How would you like a soaking pool that is big enough to comfortably fit the family, easy to maintain, and costs around $440 to get started?

Whether you live in a place like this…

Or this, you can’t beat a deal like that

Stock tank pools are a new trend quickly rising in popularity. You might be thinking, “I don’t know how I’d feel swimming in a cow trough.” But these pools aren’t just inexpensive. They are highly versatile.

For instance, this “cow trough” has a salt water filter, a waterfall, and quite the setup for day or night soaking

Tractor Company Supply has commented, “More and more, we see our customers turning to this innovative solution as a way to enjoy many of the benefits of a pool without the high cost.”

Keepin' it cool 😎 #farmlife #stocktankpool #tractorsupply #diy

A post shared by Hampton Family (@charlottesfarm) on

Setting one of these pools up is easy too. All you need is a flat surface large enough for the stock tank, and the pump. Then set up the tank, seal it, put the pump on and fill it up.

You can use gravel or sand to help create a flat area

You can also simply sink them into the ground for added insulation and style

Pool is open for business 😉 #stocktank #stocktankpool #coolingpool #cocktailtime

A post shared by justAmom❤ (@justamom5) on

Annie McCreary, the owner of a stock pool, wrote on Instagram wrote, “We use an above ground pool pump/filter.” She also stated, “We do add chlorine as needed, just like a regular pool/spa. I test it daily with the pool strips, [and], I shock it once a week—so easy! If it gets too funky, it’s easy to drain and re-fill.”

You can style your pools any way you like, and not have to spend tens of thousands for it

Or you can decorate using the most versatile DIY material ever, the wood pallet

“Sounds pretty simple, but is it really? How do I make one of these?”

Stacey Maaser, author of Embracing Motherhood put together this detailed stock tank pool DIY to show you how to create one suitable for the whole family.

Bottom line, it’s inexpensive, easy to do, can be turned into any sort of soaking tub paradise you can imagine, and it can fit nearly anywhere. What’s the drawback?

My guess is, never wanting to get out

6 Organizational Hacks For a Clean Streamlined Home

It’s inevitable: the longer you live in your home, the more things you accumulate – and the faster those things get completely disorganized.

It can be a challenge to keep your home organized, but a well-organized home is worth the effort: living in a clean, streamlined home can help lower stress and anxiety, and knowing exactly where everything is in your house can save you time and headaches when you need to find something in a pinch.

But getting your home in shape doesn’t have to be difficult – no matter how much stuff you’re dealing with. Here are 6 organizational hacks for a clean, streamlined home:

1. Repurpose shoeboxes as drawer dividers

If the interior of your dresser looks like a bomb exploded, with stray socks and t-shirts strewn haphazardly, you’ll love this DIY hack.

Cut a variety of shoeboxes by length and width, and then insert the appropriate sizes into drawers to separate sections and better organize your clothing. You can use your homemade shoe dividers to separate your socks and intimates, your sleep shirts for your everyday shirts, or your casual leggings from your exercise leggings.

2. Use kitchen tools to organize your beauty collection

If you’re a person with a large assortment of beauty products, you know they can quickly take over your bathroom or vanity. But you can easily borrow some tools and storage units from the kitchen and use them to organize a variety of beauty products.

Buy stackable Tupperware and use them to store your beauty products; skin care products in one container, facial makeup in another, and lip glosses on top. Grab your favorite colorful coffee mug and use it as storage for your makeup brushes. Fill glass cookie jars with your eyeshadow or nail polish collection – not only does it help you get your products organized, but it makes a fun piece of decor to pull some color into your bathroom or vanity area.

3. Use shower hooks to whip your closet into shape

While the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “shower hooks” is likely to be shower curtain, if you’re using them solely for that purpose, you’re missing out on some serious closet organizational potential.

Shower hooks are the secret ingredient to a streamlined and well-organized closet. Hang them directly on your curtain rod to organize your belts and purses, or add them to the bottom of a hangar to better organize your scarves.

If you have a sports fan in the house, shower hooks are also a great way to keep hats nice and organized – add them to the bottom of a hanger to keep them all in one place.

4. Use shoe organizers for shoes and more

Shoe organizers are a great way to get your shoes off the floor and maximize space in your closet. But who says you have to stop at shoes? Shoe organizers are handy tools for dealing with clutter that happens above the ankles as well. You can use them to store everything from sweaters to jeans – to maximize the space even more, roll your clothing before storing.

5. Use a tension rod to organize your cleaning products

If you have a thousand and one cleaning products underneath your sink – but can never seem to find the right one when you need it – try this organizational hack to bring some order back to your cabinets.

Measure your cabinet and then purchase and install the appropriately sized tension rod. Hang all of your spray-nozzle cleaning products on the tension rod; this will give you easy access to the cleaning products you need and clear up space on the bottom of the cabinet for your non-spray-nozzle products and other essentials.

6. Use CD cases or magazine files to organize your mail

While most things get done via email these days, there’s still plenty of paper mail to deal with. And since it comes every day, if you don’t have a system for organizing it, it can quickly get out of control.

Repurpose that old CD case into a mail organizer by flipping it on its side and labeling each section with the appropriate category, like bills, school papers, and coupons. Or, if you’re dealing with a ton of mail, use one magazine file per category and line them up on your desk.

Organizing your home takes a bit of time and effort, but with these hacks, you’ll have your home feeling cleaner, more streamlined, and more organized before you know it. And that time and effort? Totally worth it for the peace you’ll feel when enjoying your new, organized home.

5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Warmer Weather

Spring is in full swing, and you know what that means: the days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and in just a few short weeks we’ll be heading into the warmer months of summer.

Summer is one of the best times of year; children are out of school, it’s the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, and of course, everyone’s favorite: good ol’ summer vacation.

After the freezing temperatures of winter and the unpredictability of spring, you and your family are probably more than ready for the warm, summer weather. But the question is: is your home?

Here are 5 tips to get your home ready for warmer weather:

1. Get your A/C checked

The summer heat is great for beach days and splashing in the pool. But when you’re done enjoying the sunshine, you’ll want to open the door to a nice, cool interior. But if your air conditioner isn’t working properly, you can quickly find yourself with no escape from the rising temperatures.

The best time to get your air conditioning in working order is before summer hits. Start by changing out the filters. Dirty filters make it harder for your A/C unit to do its job, lower the efficiency of your air conditioning system and waste energy. After you replace the filters, let your air conditioning system run for an hour or so to see how its cooling; a test run will give you insight into any potential problems you need to have serviced.

You should have an HVAC professional service your air conditioning system once a year. Even if you don’t notice any obvious problems, servicing your A/C annually will keep it running better for longer. Spring is the best time of year to get your A/C service; once summer hits, most HVAC companies are booked solid through the summer months, and the last thing you want is to find yourself in the thick of summer with a broken air conditioning system and no relief from the heat.

2. Switch out your gear

Each season required a completely different set of tools, gear, furniture, and decor. To avoid clutter, it’s best to store these items when they’re not in use. If you’re storing your seasonal items, you’ll need to switch everything out as summer approaches so you have everything on hand you need to enjoy the season.

Put your patio furniture out in the backyard so it’s ready for when you entertain guests. Check your grill to make sure it’s in working order and ready for summer BBQs. Switch out those heavy winter comforters with lightweight quilting that’s more appropriate for summer weather.

3. Get your lawn up to speed

One of the best parts of summer is getting to enjoy time outside, often in your own backyard. But if you’re like most people, your lawn could probably use a bit of TLC after the cooler months.

Survey your property for any visible damage caused by winter weather. Check all playground equipment to make sure it’s in good shape before the kids get out of school. Add a few new plants or flowers to add visual interest to the landscape.

Your backyard will play host to many celebrations, playdates, and lazy evenings with your family this summer. In order to enjoy all the fun of summer fully, you want to make sure your lawn is in the best shape possible.

4. Plant a garden

Speaking of the backyard, there’s no better time than summer to plant a garden. The warmer weather is the ideal time for a rainbow of vegetables to flourish, including beets, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. If you’re new to gardening, pick up a few raised garden beds and plant your seeds now. Before summer hits its peak, you’ll be enjoying fresh vegetables straight from your garden – perfect for a refreshing summer salad.

5. Get painting out of the way

If you’ve been thinking about painting the interior of your home, now is the time to do it. Painting only gets more challenging as the temperature rises; since you’ll need to have your windows open while you paint, A/C isn’t an option. Not only will the heat make painting feel more physically demanding, but humid weather can make the paint fumes feel more overwhelming.

If you do decide to paint, consider some seasonally appropriate hues, like gold or sky blue, to bring the feeling of summer indoors.

Summer will be here before you know it. And with these tips, your home will be ready for it.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Home

Spring is coming soon, and with it comes the opportunity to begin remodeling projects! Because there are many things that could go wrong with any remodeling project, it pays to have some help from the pros who have already done what you want to do. This way, you’ll save time, money, and a boatload of frustration at possibly having to redo a project.

Here are seven of the most common mistakes people make when they begin a remodeling project. Once you’re aware of them, you can work to avoid making the same mistakes on your own projects.

Avoid impatience

Don’t rush into any remodeling project. Think it through, decide what your priorities will be for the project, and come up with a good plan that you can follow. Revise this plan until it seems rock solid, and all your goals for the project will be met. Price out the work, and then try like crazy to stick to your plan, and your pricing. Of course, you should always expect the unexpected, but if you have a solid, realistic plan, hopefully that’ll keep the unexpected at a minimum.

Avoid choosing just any contractor

Don’t rush to choose a contractor, or choose the first one you talk to in order to get the work underway. Hey, we understand you’re excited at the prospect of beginning your remodeling project, but you could be making a costly mistake in both time and money if you don’t do your research first when it comes to a contractor. Talk to several contractors, and check each reference. Talk to people in the town you live in that have had remodeling done in the past year or so. Ask for referrals. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if the contractors have complaints (and take these complaints with a grain of salt). Be absolutely certain that the contractor you choose has insurance in place. Choose a contractor that you like as a person, and that you feel comfortable communicating with. And of course, get everything in writing.

Avoid undershooting your budget

Be realistic about the budget you create for the project. Leave yourself quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to dollar amounts allocated for specific parts of the project. Whatever budget you already have in mind – you should increase by 20% in order to give yourself the necessary cushion if something doesn’t go as planned and goes over budget. There are things you just can’t foresee, and those are the things that will break the bank if you don’t anticipate them ahead of time. The last thing you need is to have to skimp on important parts of your remodeling project because something happened that used up funds.

Avoid being too cheap

You are not going to “save” money in a remodeling project, so get it right out of your head. This isn’t the time to nickel and dime your way around spending money. Consider the future appeal of the work to be done and how it might affect the selling price of your home. Consider the enjoyment with which you’ll enjoy the remodel if it’s done properly without trying to penny-pinch. This also comes into play for do-it-yourselfers who think that they can save money by doing the remodeling themselves. If it’s something you are capable of and skilled enough to do correctly, then go for it! But if it’s not, you’ll spend more money fixing it than you would have by simply hiring a professional in the first place.

Avoid breaking the bank on materials

Over-spending on materials is a no-no. Again, this happens largely because of lack of planning, and the homeowner feeling rushed to get the job done. So plan ahead – look for sales at home improvement stores, and definitely keep your eyes peeled at garage sales, moving sales, flea markets, and estate sales for materials you may need. Also look for salvage stores, and call around to different materials companies who may offer you “seconds” that they can’t use or sell at a deep discount. Note that this isn’t the same as the penny-pinching we mentioned in tip number 4. This is simply smart buying of materials that are going to work exactly the same as “brand new” materials would, but at a fraction of the cost.

Avoid being too different

Creating a home that doesn’t harmonize with your neighborhood is always a huge mistake. It’s one thing to be unique, but it’s another thing altogether to lower the neighborhood’s value because you want to be different. Your home’s resale value will be less, as will the resale value of the homes around yours, if your home sticks out like a sore thumb.

Avoid losing sight of your plan

Once you have created your realistic remodeling project plan, stick with that plan. If you begin changing your mind about things, that’s when the price tag starts to go higher and higher. Listen to suggestions from your remodeling team, but always keep your goals for the remodeling project at the forefront of your mind.

Shopping for a Home? Here’s the Best Day to go Looking

It’s Sunday morning.

You’re scheduled to go out and see houses later on with your real estate agent. But it’s nasty outside. It’s beyond pouring. You can’t even imagine walking from the car into a house. You’d rather just cancel the appointment and hang inside, maybe watch some TV.

You can always go see the house next weekend.

But should you wait for next weekend?

Should you even wait to go see houses only during the weekend?

There’s five weekdays you can go see houses. Is there a better day than a Sunday?

What if someone else scoops up the house before you end up getting out to see it? Right?!

Sure. Totally a possibility. And, totally a reason to motivate and go see that house today in the rain.

But that’s not the point of this article. The point is that the best day to see a house is not necessarily Sunday. It’s also not necessarily <em>not </em>Sunday.

<strong>The best day to go see a house is <em>when it’s raining</em>. Even better if it’s raining heavily. And it’s best if it’s been raining for a few days straight.</strong>

Picture this…

It’s the future. You skipped going to see the house in the rain, but you ended up buying it eventually. Of course you had a home inspection done on the house during the process. But that was a sunny day, and it hadn’t rained in some time.

Then, after you’ve lived in the house for a while, you start to notice a drip in the ceiling. Or some dampness in the basement. Or worse, actual water on the basement floor.

You’d probably be pretty upset. You’d feel like the owner should’ve disclosed it. You feel like there’s no way they didn’t know that this was a problem. And you’d probably be right. But good luck proving it.

Then you think one of the real estate agents should have either noticed the issue, or knew about it and hid it. But, there’s a good chance that the agents truly didn’t have knowledge of it. And frankly, unless the real estate agents are told about an issue, they aren’t qualified to assess issues that a qualified home inspector should pick up on.

Ahhhh…the home inspector. The <em>home inspector</em> should pick up on it! <em>That’s</em> who to blame and go after.

Most likely they would pick up on water related issues. There is usually some sort of evidence they can see.

But sometimes these types of problems aren’t all that obvious. Especially if the inspector is looking through the house after it has been dry weather for some time.

It’s easy to try and place fault, blame, and consequences on others when something goes wrong.

The true enemy, though, is water.

So much damage can be done to a house due to water…
<ul>
<li>From the roof.</li>
<li>To the gutters.</li>
<li>To the windows.</li>
<li>The basement.</li>
<li>And even the landscaping and driveway can be affected by water related issues.</li>
</ul>

<strong>It’s best to take advantage of the moments in the buying process where you can face your potential enemy head on…on a rainy day.</strong>

<strong>You can save yourself a lot of time, money, and aggravation by seeing a house in the rain.</strong> If there are problems, they should show up on a day like that. That doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future of course.

That also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the house of your dreams if there are some water related problems. But at least go forward knowing what you’re dealing with, and ideally getting the owner to own up to and fix any issues before you close on the house. Because once you close on the house, those problems are your problems.

<strong>So, if you wake up and see rain on a day that you’re scheduled to go see a house, don’t cancel. Go.</strong>

Obviously you can’t guarantee it will rain every time you go see houses, or on the day you do a home inspection. It would be impossible to find and purchase a house if you <em>only</em> looked and inspected homes on rainy days. So don’t get too hung up on it.

But if the opportunity arises, certainly don’t overlook the benefits of getting out to see houses in the rain.

A rainy day can be the best day to go see a house.