Nashville-area home sales make big jump in October

Nashville-area home sales posted a big October, following three months in which sales were either flat or down slightly.
The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that there were 3,324 home closings reported in the Nashville area last month, up 9.7 percent compared to October 2015.Local home sales were up 0.8 percent year-over-year in September, and down in August and July, by 0.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.“We are continuing to sell more homes with effectively less inventory every month, and that’s keeping the Nashville market among the hottest in the country,” GNAR President Denise Creswell said in a news release. “We finished 19th on the list of the hottest markets for October according to Realtor.com, and were the only Southern state, not including Texas, to make the list. Even if sales remain flat for November and December, our region is set to finish ahead of 2015 with overall sales.”
Year-to-date, Nashville-area home sales are up 4.5 percent compared to 2015.
The median sales price for a single-family home sold in the Nashville area last month was $261,000, up from $230,000 a year ago. The median sales price for a condo unit was $186,000, up from $171,737.
November sales appear on track to be higher than last year, with 3,309 sales pending at the end of October. A year ago, there were 2,905 pending sales.
We have entered the final quarter of 2016 in the best possible way,” Creswell said. “Our housing market is maintaining the kind of stable growth needed to sustain a healthy market in the last few months of the year. These mild gains in sales are exactly what it takes to build the foundation for a solid housing market in 2017.”

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5 Important factors for success as a Real Estate Agent 

1) Motivation/Entrepreneurial SpiritBeing a real estate agent is essentially running your own business and new agents have to build their business from the ground up. It is not a job where someone will necessarily be told what to do or where exactly to be. As much as our managers can offer guidance and support the drive, determination, and self-discipline, must ultimately come from the agents themselves.

 

2) Communication Skills

Being a real estate agent one needs to be able to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing. Whether it be explaining the tax implications of a pied-a-terre apartment purchase or why in a rental application a landlord requests a W-2 form in addition to a federal tax return. Real estate agents have to explain complicated, nuanced material to their clients in a coherent and easy-to-understand way. Additionally, much of the correspondence in this day and age is via email. So real estate agents also have to be able to communicate the same material through written word. This skill has become so important that we include a writing skills and spelling/grammar section on our interview form.

 

3) Personality/”Likability”

Real estate agents will be spending long periods of time with their clients showing properties. So their clients have to like to be around them! If an agent has a good personality and the “likability” factor it lays the groundwork for the client. This will make the client be comfortable and trust that agent with handling their transaction. The real estate agents that are successful always have a fantastic rapport with their clients and many become life-long friends.

 

4) Professional Appearance

An agent should look and dress the part of a successful businessperson. The clients who meet the real estate agents for the first time will quickly form first impressions about the competence and professionalism of that agent based on their appearance. Rightfully or not so agents have to have the ability to be well groomed and look the part.

 

5) Organizational Skills/Time Management

Much like a juggler in a circus a busy real estate agent will be “spinning many plates”. He/she has to have the ability to be organized and highly efficient with his/her time. As a real estate agent is a commission based position the effort and work that is put in should always be focused and very deliberate. A successful agent will always be on top of their schedule and give the proper focus needed for each one of their “spinning plates”.

The truth about the gender divide in real estate

When it comes to male-dominated industries, one that regularly tops the list is commercial real estate.
The numbers bear that designation out. White men represent more than 58 percent of all professional positions in commercial real estate and more than 77 percent of senior executive positions, according to the 2013 Commercial Real Estate Diversity Report. Women comprise just 35 percent.
On the other hand, residential real estate appears to attract far more women. About 62 percent of all certified Realtors are women, according to the National Association of Realtors.
We took a closer look at the dynamics of the real estate industry and its pronounced gender divide to understand why one segment draws women in droves and the other struggles to diversify.
One potential reason: the difference between fighting for a seat at the table and being at a distinct advantage with clients.
“[In residential real estate], most of the time women make the decisions about wanting to move, what house they want to buy… Men go along for the ride,” said Ellen Klein, an agent with Century 21 Christel Realty in northern New Jersey. “Women can relate to women. The advice that women Realtors give is trusted advice.”
On the commercial side, Tracy Dodson, vice president of brokerage and development at Lincoln Harris in Charlotte, N.C., said being a woman helped her stand out against the suits in the room when she entered the industry.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy to get there.
“In this industry, it’s hard in a lot of ways. You have to have a lot of success to work your way up,” Dodson said. “It’s not just the hours. You’ve got to have successful projects and you’ve got to have successful deals.”

Mortgage Rates Ease From Recent Spike, Closer to Near Record Lows

MCLEAN, VA–(Marketwired – Oct 27, 2016) – Freddie Mac(OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates slipping from last week’s spike and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage easing back to its summertime range below 3.5 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 27, 2016, down 5 basis points from 3.52 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.76 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.78 percent with an average 0.5 point, down slightly from last week when they averaged 2.79 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates continue to be relatively stable and at near record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points week-over-week to 3.47 percent, erasing last week’s increase. At the same time, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week relatively flat — up about 2 basis points.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is the largest source of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

The Best Season to Sell Your Home—and Why

Timing really is everything when it comes to home sales. Getting your asking price, and even attracting multiple buyers, can simply be a factor of the time of year when the home is sold.

Spring and Summer

Spring brings rain and flowers—and possibly extra green in the final sales price of your home. Families like to move during the summer when there’s a break in the school calendar so they don’t have to pull their children from class, and so they are well-settled before the new school year. Plus, it’s often easier to move in the warm spring and summer months than during winter snows.

REALTORS® say 50% of homes are sold during the summer.
Fall and Winter

Maybe your employer notified you of a job relocation in the fall and you missed the peak selling season for your home. Don’t despair. If you are selling your home in the fall, you can stage your open house with the warmth of the turning season to add to the appeal. Accentuating your landscaping with seasonal decorations, such as pumpkins and gourds, will appeal to the potential homebuyers.The winter season isn’t a favorite for homebuyers to view homes, but holiday ornaments add charm and help homes sell during the winter season. Owners who put their home on the market during the winter may be more eager to move, and so might close faster. Prices may also dip compared to the busy summer market, since there’s less demand. And you might find it easier to schedule time with experts, such as home inspectors; or have a faster turnaround on services, such as lawyer reviews, during the slower time of year.
Geography, Geography, Geography
Selling a home quickly may not only be contingent on a season. The geography of your home may be a contributing factor to when the home should be sold. Florida’s large snowbird population makes winter months attractive due to the warm weather. The heat and humidity of Florida summers can make that season less than ideal for selling.
For all of those reasons, evaluate your location and weather before planning to present a new home to the real estate market.
Have a Plan
Sometimes personal situations prevent selling a home during the prime season. A REALTOR® can help you sell a home in any season.

7 Real Estate Agent Must Haves

Real estate agent must havesReal estate is not always an office job. In fact, more often than not, agents find themselves doing business out in the field. Meeting prospective sellers, showing buyers around, organizing marketing and events… a lot of this gets done on the go!
Whether you’re working from your car, a coffee shop, a vacant listing, your vacation destination or somewhere else, here are the seven essentials every real estate agent needs to conduct business from anywhere:
1. Smartphone
Your constant companion, it’s probably by your side when you go to bed at night and when you wake up in the morning. Smartphones are just so darn versatile! Besides helping you call and text clients, your phone enables you to check emails, take photos of listings and even legally sign and deliver documents. How neat is that?
Increase Your Exposure
A mobile-friendly agent website is a must these days. Get your own easy-to-use site in a matter of minutes.

2. Business Cards
In a field where you’re always meeting new people, you’re definitely going to need some business cards. Printed or digital, business cards give contacts a way to remember and get in touch with you. Today’s agents might want to add more than just a name and phone number. How about your Twitter handle? Here are some tips to help you optimize your business cards and stand out from the pack.
3. Mini Office Suite
Find a good old fashioned pencil case and pack the following in your car, laptop case or travel bag: trusty pen, notepad, stapler, white out and tape. You won’t regret it when you are the most prepared agent at any meeting.
All-in-One Office
Manage your websites, leads, drip campaigns and more, all from one spot – a mobile Online Office.

4. Mobile Charger Is anything worse than watching the charge on your phone, laptop or tablet go from 20 to 10 to 5 percent? To prevent a slow and painful technology death from happening at exactly the wrong time, you need a mobile charger. This convenient solar charger is one of our favourites.

5. Change of Shoes
It never fails. If you’re wearing nice shoes, you will be called out to a dusty construction site or asked to look at something in a muddy garden. Keep a pair of tennis shoes in your trunk for exactly these moments so you’re ready for anything.
6. Snacks

Pack some healthy snacks (e.g. fruits, trail mix, protein bars) to stave off hunger on the busiest days. Your clients, coworkers and family will thank you!
7. Paper Towels
When you’re eating in your car, tromping around gardens and showing homes, you’re going to encounter your share of messes. Never underestimate the versatile cleaning power of a roll of paper towels. It’s a genius thing to keep in your car.

Now is time to buy in Nashville’s booming housing market

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Realtors say that more people are relocating to Nashville from expensive cities like New York and California, getting more bang for their buck.They say the time is now to buy because of low interest rates.
A local realtor who is currently hosting tours for million dollar homes in the Annadale Community of Brentwood.
There is no slowing down for Nashville’s housing market anytime soon.
“In an election year, we always pause and say, you know, things will change, taxes may increase or decrease depending on what happens to our government, but really, we see Nashville just prospering and growing and doing so many amazing things !

There is so much commercial business , so many executives coming in, so many high level professionals, so many business opportunities here we see Nashville going strong for quite some time.”
According to a report by Emerging Trends in Real Estate, Nashville ranks among the nation’s top 10 cities for commercial real estate markets.
    

The Importance in Having a Professional Real Estate Agent

Not using a professional real estate agent to save money in your real estate deal may cost you later. Whether you’re buying or selling, you’re negotiating a complex transaction with potential pitfalls that could impact your bottom line. A professional agent can use her knowledge and skills to guide you through the real estate process.

Connections

Real estate agents have connections in the market that benefit buyer and seller. Agents work with many people involved in the real estate transaction process, including loan officers, home inspectors and attorneys. If you have a problem or need a service, your agent has the contacts necessary to help you immediately. For example, if you need a home inspection but can’t find anyone to do the job before the lender’s deadline, your agent may have an inspector she has a relationship with who will help.

Knowledge of Market

Knowledge of the real estate market you’re buying in is invaluable in the home buying or selling process. An agent can give a buyer informed opinions about the home’s future value, the neighborhood amenities and schools and whether the investment is solid. Sellers benefit from an agent’s market knowledge because the agent uses it to market the property to the most interested audience and get the highest price. Proper marketing is crucial. Buyers may be wary of an over-marketed home, while a poorly marketed home may not sell for months.

Negotiation Edge

Buyers and sellers both negotiate the home price. The buyer is looking to get the house at the lowest price, while the seller wants the highest price possible. Agents apply their experience to the price negotiations without actively interfering by providing advice to their party. Your agent can help you evaluate the pros and cons of each offer or counteroffer you receive. An agent helps with the legal paperwork required for offers so your interests remain protected during the negotiations.

Legalities

Buying or selling a home involves a lot of paperwork and is a complex process with different deadlines. Since an agent has experience in real estate transactions, she can use her knowledge to ensure the process goes smoothly and nothing important is missed. If you have any questions about the papers you’re signing, your agent will help you and get the answers if she doesn’t know.

Education and Training

All real estate agents must have a license in the United States. While the exact licensing process varies by state, professional agents must have some specific real estate education and usually have to pass a test to get one. An agent also has knowledge of the specific real estate laws and procedures in the area she’s working in, as some of the required training is location specific.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Property Management Company?

A competent property manager can add significant value to your investment, which is why many seasoned real estate investors will tell you that a good management company is worth their weight in gold. Here are a few ways that a good property manager earns their keep:Higher Quality Tenants
Think of tenant screening as the moat and draw bridge around your castle. It is certainly possible to get a bad tenant out of your home once they are in, but it’s a real hassle and you are so much better off never accepting them in the first place. A thorough screening process results in reliable tenants that:
Pay on time

Rent longer

Put less wear and tear on the unit

Generally cause less problems

An experienced property management company has seen thousands of applications and knows how to quickly dig for the real facts about candidates and analyze that information for warning signs. By allowing a management company to handle the screening, you will also be shielding yourself from rental scams directed at owners, and discrimination lawsuits resulting from an inconsistent screening process. This kind of experience takes time, and insomuch as it means avoiding bad tenants, scams and lawsuits it is arguably one of the most significant benefits a property management company will provide.
Fewer costly and time consuming legal problems

Veteran landlords know it only takes one troublesome tenant to cause significant legal and financial headaches. A good property manager is armed with the knowledge of the latest landlord-tenant laws and will ensure that you are not leaving yourself vulnerable to a potential law suit. Each state and municipality have their own laws, these plus federal law cover a number of areas including but not limited to:
Tenant screening

Safety and property conditions of the property

Evictions

Inspections

Lease addendums

Terminating leases

Handling security deposits

Rent collection

Avoiding a single law suit can more than pay for the property management fees, and spare you time and anguish.
Shorter vacancy cycles

A property manager will help you perform three critical tasks that affect how long it takes to fill your vacancies:
Improve and prepare the property for rent – A property manager will suggest and oversee cosmetic improvements that maximize revenue.

Determine the best rent rate – Too high and you are stuck waiting, to low and you’re losing money every month the tenant is in the unit. Determining the optimal price requires knowledge of the local market, data on recently sold comparables, and access to rental rate tools.

Effectively market your property – An experienced property management company has written hundreds of ads and understands what to say and where advertise in order to get a larger pool of candidates in a shorter period of time. Additionally because of their volume they can usually negotiate cheaper advertising rates both online and offline. Lastly, they are familiar with sales and know how to close when they field calls from prospects and take them on showings.

Better tenant retention

While its easy to see the effects of lost rent, there are other equally serious problems with a high tenant turnover rate. The turnover process involves a thorough cleaning, changing the locks, painting the walls and possibly new carpet or small repairs, not to mention all the effort associated with marketing, showing , screening and settling in a new tenant. This is a time-consuming and expensive process that can often be averted by keeping tenants happy and well cared for.
A good property management company will have a time-tested tenant retention policy that ensures happy tenants with lengthy stays in your properties. These kinds of programs require a consistent, systematic approach, which is where a good property management company will shine.
Tighter rent collection process

The way you handle rent collection and late payments can be the difference between success and failure as a landlord. Collecting rent on time every month is the only way to maintain consistent cash-flow, and your tenants need to understand this is not negotiable. By hiring a property manager, you put a buffer between yourself and the tenant, and allow them to be the bad guy who has to listen to excuses, chase down rent, and when necessary, evict the person living in your property.
If you let them, your tenants will walk all over you. They have to be trained to follow every part of the lease or deal with the consequences. Property managers have an advantage because tenants realize that they, unlike the owner, are only doing their job and are obligated to enforce the lease terms. Many property managers will tell you that it is considerably easier to manage other people’s units rather than their own for this reason.
Regarding evictions, there are strict laws concerning the eviction process, and doing it wrong, or trying to evict a “professional tenant” can be a MAJOR fiasco. A good property management firm knows the law and has a good process for obtaining the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Never having to handle another eviction can be a compelling reason to consider hiring a property management company.
Assistance with taxes

A property management company can help you understand which deductions you can claim, as well as organize the necessary forms and documentation to make those claims. Additionally, the property management fees themselves are also tax deductible.
Lower maintenance and repair costs

Good maintenance and repairs keep tenants happy and preserve the value of your investment which make them a very important part of land-lording. By hiring a management firm you gain access to both their in-house maintenance staff, as well as their network of licensed, bonded and insured contractors who have already been vetted for good pricing and quality work. This can translate into significant savings compared to going through the yellow pages and hiring a handyman yourself. Not only is the firm able to get volume discounts on the work, they also know the contractors and understand maintenance issues such that they are capable of intelligently supervising the work.
Increase the value of the investment

Preventative maintenance is achieved through putting systems in place that catch and deal with maintenance and repair issues early on, before they grow into larger more costly problems. This requires a written maintenance check program, detailed maintenance documentation and regular maintenance visits. The management firm can also offer you suggestions and feedback on upgrades and modifications, both how they will affect the rent you can charge, as well as their impact on maintenance and insurance.
Personal benefits for owners

Less stress – Avoid having to deal with middle of the night emergencies, chasing down rent, evicting people from your property, tenants who wreck your property, rental scams, lousy vendors, piles of paperwork.

More freedom – Live and invest wherever you want with the constraint of needing to be near your properties. Additionally you can live and travel without the requirement of always being available in the event that your tenants have a need you have to tend to. Once you have found a good management company, it doesn’t matter if you live in the same state. Some landlords live in other countries and simply collect their check every month without ever seeing the property.

Free up more of your time – Time is money, and for many investors, their time can be more profitably spent in areas other than servicing their properties. When you focus on asset management you’re working ON your business, when you manage your own properties you work IN it. Additionally you have more time to spend with family or friends doing things you enjoy.

A final thought

Of course, this is an ideal scenario. These results can only be expected if a management company is competent, trustworthy and a good fit for your property. A poor choice of a management company can produce many headaches of its own.

propertymanagement

Brokers Tell All: 6 Ways to Boost House Value

Six ways to Boost House Value
With housing prices increasing, now is the time invest in your home to capitalize on its value. Here’s what veteran real estate professionals from around the country have to say about what home improvement projects pay off, whether you are selling now or in the future.
1. Create Space

Knock out a non-structural wall, or even remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens the space and creates a sense of flow in the house is generating a response from buyers who can afford to be choosy. For the price of a few hundred dollars, you’ll transform the feel of the house. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces.
A kitchen island can be an asset, creating needed storage space. But if the kitchen has enough cabinets, it could pay to haul the island away.Homeowners might want to consider a moveable island. “You can adjust them to you needs.

2. Prune, Limb, and Landscape
Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold, and block a good look at the house.
People forget about their trees more than almost anything, yet landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return. According to a 2007 survey of 2,000 brokers conducted by HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, an investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping, can bring a return of four times that. “It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house.
Overgrown landscaping is a problem at all price points, it hurts with marketing too. People say, “Where’s the house?” If buyers can’t see what they are getting, they just move right on.

“3. Let in the Light
The number one item on HomeGain survey, lighting—everything from a dimmer switch to the increasingly popular sun tubes—noticeably enhances a home’s appeal. “Dimmers allow you to create a mood.” 
He’s a booster of sun tubes, too. Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sunscoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room. With tubular skylights, sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer. Everyone loves the natural light.” 
A few other ways to light things up: Fix broken panes, make sure windows open, and consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off. Remember high wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces. 
Before thinking about a fancy upgrade to the kitchen, address the basics. Insulate the attic, repair plumbing leaks, replace rusty rain gutters, inspect the furnace and the septic system, replace or repair leaky windows, install storm doors, weed the flower beds. 
These kinds of fixes go a long way toward value. Starting with a couple hundred dollars on a few things could increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. People are surprised by that. It’s exciting. People think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big difference and they really don’t.” 
4. Don’t Put Off Care and Maintenance

Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only moneywise; could also be crucial to a sale. Brokers and agents from across the country say the houses that get attention in this buyers market are in tip-top shape. What’s important in this market, houses that sell are in pristine condition and are priced to the market. If your heating or air conditioning systems are old, “new ones are so much better, with savings of up to 30 to 40 percent.

5. What’s Under Your Feet

Don’t undervalue the materials you’re standing on. Ninety-four percent of real estate pros recommend spending some money on floors. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. For an estimated average investment of $600 to $900, brokers report that the return in value comes in at up to $2,000. 

And you can spend even less than that. A few well-placed nails can eliminate distracting squeaks. Other small projects with a big impact include repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards, and tossing out the wall-to-wall carpeting. 
In some cases, however, a new floor is in order!! The “would-be seller’s ” house might’ve sold were it not for a kitchen floor that drew questions from buyers. “The number one problem was the fact that her floor was really personal: blue and green vinyl. It clashed with the other upgrades in the kitchen. Everyone kept saying, ‘That kitchen!'”
If you want a wood floor that holds value, check out  engineered hardwoods. If you like cork, she says floating cork wears better than cork tile which is glued down and can peel. 
6. Easy Bath Upgrades

Brokers, one and all, say spiffing up the kitchen and bath is a sure bet for adding value to your home. Surveyed brokers say these kinds of improvements can get expensive. It may not be economical to do a major renovation if you are trying to spend as little as possible before putting a house up for sale. But some upgrades are cheap, easy, and fast…especially in the bathroom. 

Replace frosted glass for clear glass, clean the grout, remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets, and install a low-flush toilet. Even buying a new toilet seat can make a difference. You can spend $500 on a bathroom, and it’s totally tuned up. 
Think DIY , small $$ investments , BIG $$$ returns. Neat , clean and spiffy !!!