Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Make Your Upgrades Count

Williamson County real estate is a booming business right now. With flocks of people moving here to take advantage of the job opportunities and trendiness of the Nashville, Tenn., area, houses are selling quickly because of relatively low inventory. Low interest rates have also pushed more people into buying mode, so I've talked to many new clients who are ready to take advantage of this prime home-selling time.

Once people get serious about selling, they generally start to ask me a lot of questions about how much they should do to their current house before they list it. Smart sellers want a great return on their investment, but they don't want to spend a lot of liquid assets on making upgrades that don't matter.

Rarely does an upgrade return dollar-for-dollar on the amount that was spent, but there are several ways you can increase the value and likeability of your home if you will focus on the things that count. Your goal should be to make your home look cared for, current, and on par with the rest of your neighborhood if you want to receive a fair offer on your home.

I recommend focusing your upgrades on three areas of your home: the entryway/front exterior, the kitchen, and bathrooms. People have come to expect these three areas to have more of a wow factor, and the great thing is that you don't have to spend a fortune to do that. According to Consumer Reports, you can increase your home's value by almost 7% by focusing on the kitchen and bathroom alone.

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. For many families, a lot of time is spent here, so anything to make it more pleasant is a plus. You can greatly improve the likability of your kitchen by replacing worn-out appliances, adding a fresh coat of paint, updating hardware and light fixtures, and choosing at least one area for a wow factor, such as a small area of tile work.

Bathrooms are another area that can be updated without knocking down walls. Again, adding a fresh coat of paint, updating hardware and light fixtures, and choosing one wow factor can make a huge difference.

When people walk up to your home, you want to have them at hello! If your front door is worn, find a sturdy replacement. If the paint and wood are cracking around the door, windows, or shutters, sand and put on a fresh coat of paint. Find a couple of ways to make people smile as they walk in by adding a fresh pot of flowers, placing chairs with pillows nearby, and adding hardware and lights that make the whole scene welcoming.

Real estate website Trulia offers similar advice about simple upgrades: "If you don't have renovations in your budget, Kristen Kohnstamm, principal broker and co-owner of Dunthorpe Properties, a luxury real estate firm in Portland, OR, recommends fresh paint, a low-hanging opportunity to freshen up your space and potentially lift your asking price. Choose a neutral palette to increase the appeal to as many tastes as possible; buyers need to be able to easily visualize themselves living in the home. But don't invest too much time or personality in things like paint and new carpeting.

"The worst thing you can do is put lots of money into things like carpet, paint, and other aesthetics that a new homeowner will likely want to change," says Kohnstamm.

If you're making upgrades in order to sell, contact me and I'll help you know where to focus your hard-earned money.


Posted on 03/31/2015 11:46 PM by Jarod
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Spring 2015 Events in Williamson County

You can always tell when there's a change in the air in Williamson County, Tennessee, because people come out of the woodwork to be outdoors. We are fortunate to have such an extensive park system to explore, but spring is also a great time for fun events for young, old, and everyone in between.


Williamson County Parks & Recreation Annual Easter Egg Hunts
Franklin Recreation Complex and Fairview Recreation Complex
March 28th @ 10:00 a.m.
FREE for kids 10 and under
50,000 Eggs will cover the soccer fields and there will be pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Bunny Hop
Longview Recreation Center in Spring Hill
March 28th @ 5:30-8:00 p.m.
This event for the whole family will have visits with the Easter Bunny, food, and games.

Easter Bunny Excursion Train
Tennessee Central Railway Museum
March 28th and April 4th @ 8:30 a.m.
Tickets can be purchased online.
Ride with the Easter Bunny to Watertown, Tenn., to participate in egg hunts.

City of Brentwood Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Brentwood Library
April 2nd @ 4:00 p.m.
This popular egg hunt includes activities and pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Easter Celebration
Lucky Ladd Farms
April 3rd & 4th @  11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy the many activities Lucky Ladd has to offer plus the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, prizes and games.

Easter Eggs-stravaganza Featuring "Hop"
Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin
April 4th @ 10 a.m.
Come watch the movie "Hop," but hurry down before it starts for the Easter Bunny, a bunny petting zoo, and lucky egg prizes.

Hot Air Balloon Egg Drop
Gratitude Ranch in Franklin
April 5th @ 3-6 p.m.
Come out to the Gratitude Ranch for the Easter Bunny, hot air balloon egg drop, animals, pony rides, and food trucks. All proceeds go to help S.A.F.E. foster families.



WillPower 5K
The Square in Downtown Franklin
April 11th @ 7:30 a.m.
Come out and run or walk for a good cause!

Spring Market
Franklin High School
April 11th @ 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This one-day shopping event includes tons of vendors and a lot of great unique gifts.

Main Street Festival
The Square in Downtown Franklin
April 25-26th   Sat. 10-10 and Sun. 11-6
This popular annual event includes craft vendors, entertainment, a food court, and a kids' area.

Eat the Street
Bicentennial Park in Franklin
May 8th @ 5-9 p.m.
Food Trucks line the street as people eat, mingle, and listen to music at this new favorite event.

Franklin Rodeo
Ag Expo Park
May 14-16th @ 7 p.m. daily
This rodeo is one of the largest east of the Mississippi and it's been going in Franklin since 1949. The Rodeo parade will be in downtown Franklin on May 9th, and a free rodeo experience with a lot of activities will take place on May 13th.

Battle Scarred
Carnton Plantation
Now through April 26th  Mon.-Sat. 9-5 Sun. 12-5
This special Exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin includes over 100 artifacts on display.



Posted on 03/21/2015 11:44 PM by Jarod
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Spruce Up Your Home Value with Spring Cleaning

As the ice and snow from winter continues to melt and the signs of spring begin to arrive, many people in Middle Tennessee will start preparations to list their homes on the market. As the warmer weather starts to drift this way, use it as an inspiration to do some major spring cleaning, whether you're planning on selling now or not.

Performing regular deep cleaning and purging each year will make the process much less overwhelming when it becomes necessary to prepare a home for listing. In some cases, people who regularly keep up with de-cluttering and cleaning end up spending a lot less money when it becomes necessary to do those tasks at selling time, because the problems are not compounding.

I've been a Realtor for more than 15 years now, so I've walked through more homes than I can remember with my clients. I notice what they notice. I watch their reactions and listen to their comments. I have seen people walk away from a great house simply because they could not look past the clutter and grime. I've also seen people buy very average-looking houses simply because the owners presented a very clean and neutral space that showed buyers they had taken great care of the home.

Here are the three areas I think you should focus on this spring to make your home show-worthy all year. All of these suggestions are inexpensive if you're willing to put in your own elbow grease!

Most people look at this task and become paralyzed because they don't even know where to start. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the big picture, take it one task/space at a time. Make a calendar or chart if you have to in order to keep yourself motivated to keep going. Schedule for cleaning out the garage on a Saturday and the coat closet for the following Sunday afternoon. Be realistic and celebrate with each task crossed off the list!

If you're still bursting at the seams when it comes time to sell, consider renting a pod-type storage unit or asking a friend or family member if you can store some boxes at their place while you show your home. I promise it will be worth it!

Pay Attention to Details
I always say that you should clean as if you have a distinguished guest coming for dinner. You want your home's first impression to be the best impression, because otherwise you probably won't get another chance with potential buyers. Think about things that you notice when you're in another person's home and try to be objective in your own home as you decide what needs attention. Here are some suggestions:

- Clean windows, curtains, and blinds. The more natural light you draw into your space, the better.

- Dust light fixtures and bulbs and replace dim or burned-out bulbs. Again, lighting is important. You might even consider adding extra lamps to darker corners and spaces if needed.

- Clean up and paint up any walls and doors that are grimy and scuffed.

- Scrub your floors and carpets. This is one area where I would recommend a professional if your budget allows for that expense. In my opinion, it's totally worth it.

Beef Up Curb Appeal and Entry Ways
A buyer's first impression actually does not start inside the home … it starts when they pull in the driveway.

- Trim and clear out dried-up, overgrown plants and shrubs.

- Make sure the lawn is freshly mown.

- Rake and sweep all areas near doorways and patio areas.

- Apply fresh paint to doors and doorways to give them a fresh look and smell.

- Add a few colorful plants/planters up the pathway leading to your door.

Need more detailed tips and lists for cleaning? Try these:

15 Tips from Real Simple

Spring Cleaning Chart from I Dream of Clean



Posted on 03/10/2015 11:19 PM by Jarod
Monday, 2 March 2015
Know Your HOA-Part 2

In last week's post about HOA's, I told you the basic premise of what an HOA is and I encouraged you to make sure you understand the fees that are assessed each month or quarter if you buy a home that is governed by an HOA. In this week's post I'd like to explain briefly why it is so important for you to know the specific rules and regulations of your current HOA and/or those governing a neighborhood in which you would like to purchase a home.

For the most part, HOA's are great protection for your home's property value.  Some of the rules might seem unreasonable, but as one reporter for CNN Money says, "While the rules may seem arbitrary, you have to ask yourself, 'What if every resident did the same thing?' said Rathbun. In other words, the fact that your neighbor can't put his car on blocks in the front yard is probably to your benefit."

Your main responsibility as a homeowner in an HOA is to know the rules and regulations and to be a part of the democratic process that governs the HOA in which you live. By reading and knowing the bylaws, you can avoid costly mistakes, and by attending meetings, speaking up, and voting, you can guide what happens within your HOA. Being a part of your HOA will also establish more accountability toward those in leadership positions who make the decisions.

I'm amazed at how many people don't even think to ask for a copy of the bylaws when they buy in an HOA, or they get them and never read them. Just because you don't know the rules doesn't mean they cannot be enforced. I observed a flatbed truck picking up a completely finished outdoor shed one day in a neighborhood, and when I inquired about it, I found out the owner had built it without permission. Because the HOA bylaws of that neighborhood forbid building outdoor structures, the owner was required to pay for the removal of this new building. This very costly mistake could have been avoided if he had just read the rules before he started building.

States vary on the rights of HOA's. In some states an HOA has the right to foreclose on a home when fees have gone unpaid, and in others the unpaid fines simply tie up what should have been a pretty simple closing on a sale, sometimes for several days or weeks. Even in states where an HOA is not able to levy fines against a homeowner, they can file costly lawsuits and seek judgments that allow them to obtain liens against homeowners.

Most HOA's have commonsense rules that protect the homeowner's property, but you need to know what you're getting into before you buy a new property or before you try to change one that you already own. I'll be happy to walk you through what to expect and help you find a neighborhood that suits your needs perfectly!




Posted on 03/02/2015 5:11 PM by Jarod