Questions That I Am Frequently Asked by 1st Time Home Buyers

I frequently am asked a couple of very simple and common questions when someone starts their home search. Buying a home is the single largest purchase that you will probably make in your entire life time, so people can, understandably, be nervous. The first question that I am often asked by buyers is “How much do you charge and when do we have to pay you?”  It is very easy to see why the assumption would be made that you would have to pay for my services to help you buy a home.  More than likely, although I love my job, I am not doing all of that work for nothing.  The truth of the matter is that the seller has, in a way, already committed to pay for all real estate services associated with getting their home sold  —  most of the time.  So, my answer to that question, 99% of the time is, you will have to pay me nothing to be your buyer’s agent and to help you purchase your new home.

Whew, good news, huh!  One less thing that you have to pay for.  So let’s get started looking for your new home.  But wait, there is one more question.  “What if I found a house that is listed with another real estate company that I want to look at?”  Another easy question…I can show you any home that is listed in our mls and most of them that are for sale by owner or in another mls.  In order to facilitate the marketing and showing of homes, most real estate agents in the area belong to our local Fayetteville Associate of Realtors.  That allows us to share information and to show each other’s homes, which is a marketing service to the sellers.  That means that I can show you all or most of the homes on your list.

Again, great news!  So, let’s get started.  Your search will be so much easier if you can choose one real estate agent and allow them to help you throughout the search.  We get to know you and what you are looking for.  I can tailor internet searches to meet your criteria and suggest possible homes that might interest you.  So take advantage of my experience and expertise and let’s get started on the journey to find your new home!

It’s Time To Light the Fireplace

It's Time To Light the Fireplace

It’s that time of year. We are getting ready to get our first frost this week in Fayetteville, NC. It’s time to dust off the fireplace and get it ready. Do you even use a fireplace? I love to see logs burning! It certainly adds a warmth and ambiance to the room. You have a choice now in the type of fireplace that you install in your home. There are still die hard, split the logs, natural wood burning fireplaces. Nothing crackles and smells as good as a real wood burning fireplace. But of course, you have to have a source of real wood, preferably seasoned and from the right kind of tree. So, you either have to cut wood or buy it.

For those that do not want to haul wood in from the outside, you have two other choices. With the click of a remote, you can ignite your gas or electric logs. Gas logs have become very popular with their realistic look and real flames. All you have to buy is the gas. And then, there came the convenience of electric fireplaces. They are becoming popular with builders. Simple to install, simple to operate. Not the realistic look that I prefer. I have to tell you that I am very partial to real wood burning fireplaces. I love to use the poker and rearrange the logs. I love the smell of the wood burning. But, as in so many other things, we have compromised for convenience.

Later this week, when I get up to a light frost, I will light my gas logs and enjoy the flames and the heat for a few minutes. And then I will turn it off and leave the house for the day. But for a few minutes, I will have my fire! What is your preference?

Selling Your Home – To Update or Not To Update

You are ready to sell your home, but there are a number of outdated aspects to your house.  You have wallpaper in the bathrooms and my favorite…brass colored runway lights over the bathroom sink (You know the ones that I am talking about!)  Should you spend the money and effort to upgrade or sell as is?  After all, it is easy enough for the buyer to do those things.  My professional advice is to spend the money and time to upgrade.  I’m not talking about spending millions to renovate your home.  I’m talking about strategically updating your home.  Will you recoup the money that you spend when you sell?  What you will do, is to place your house in a much more competitive position in comparison to others on the market.  You can definitely decrease the days on the market if you update and price correctly.  If you are considering selling, ask a real estate agent for their professional opinion on what needs to be done in your house to prepare it for selling.  And if you are in the Fayetteville, NC  area, sign up at to look at pictures of available homes and see how your home compares.

Wall Rebuild

Wall Rebuild

We are getting ready to start our wall rebuild and window replacement at our house. The top windows have leaked water into the walls and have to be replaced. My brother replaced the bottom windows for me and discovered the damage. As the entire wall replacement was a little more than he wanted to undertake, we have had to hire someone to do it for us. Estimates given, materials delivered, and guess what, it’s going to rain today. Plus the cedar siding that was supposed to be delivered on Friday to finish up the job will not be here until next Wednesday. So we will not officially start until Monday (Labor Day). A few more days of worrying about what we will find inside the walls. But here’s a picture of what it looks like right now. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

What do you mean, fire your real estate agent? This is a person, whether you are buying a home or selling your house, that you are trusting one of the biggest financial transactions of your life with.  You enter into a contract with them.  But what if you are not pleased with your interaction with them or the results after you have signed on the dotted line? I recommend professionally speaking with them first and explain why you feel that they are not meeting your expectations. Give them the opportunity to correct the issues.  If, after a reasonable period of time, you do not see the desired results, you do have the right to terminate your agreement.   I am not advocating for everyone to run out and fire their agent, I am just informing you that you do have options to rectify a bad situation.  Even better, do your research up front and interview agents before you make your choice.  It is a large financial commitment.  Don’t you deserve the best person representing you in that transaction?

USDA Home Loans in the Hope Mills Area

As we live near a  military base, a lot of the mortgage loans that are used here are VA loans.  Another very popular loan is the USDA loan.  USDA loans are popular because they are no down payment loans.  The USDA loan was set up to assist homebuyers in rural areas.  Most of Fayetteville, NC is not eligible for a USDA loan. Currently Hope Mills is a favorite destination for home buyers  to qualify for USDA loans (along with Hoke County).  As of Oct. 1, 2013, that will change.  Hope Mills growth has finally caught up with them and on the first of Oct, most of Hope Mills will become ineligible.  You can go online and research the location of any houses that you might be interested in buying before you consider buying them if you plan to finance with USDA.  Your real estate agent should be aware of this change and should be able to advise you.  It will be a big change for this area.  Make sure you do your homework and get a knowledgeable real estate agent and mortgage lender.

Mellow Mushrooms

Mellow Mushrooms

Your simple craft project for the weekend. I wanted a touch a color in a drab, shady corner of my yard, far away from the water hose. I decided to add these little colorful mushrooms. $3.00 for three plastic bowls from Roses and a dead pruned limb from my brush pile and I have three little mushrooms growing under my tree! It does not have to be elaborate or expensive to be cute!