It must be Sparkly!

You have chosen your agent and they are doing their part to make your home look stunning in advertising. Mr & Ms. Seller, you also have work to do!

Your home must SPARKLE. That is capital letters, make no bones about it, SPARKLE. If two identical homes go up for sale on the same street, I promise you that the home that SPARKLES will sell quicker and for more money than the one that is only every-day clean. When a buyer walks in your door, they will see the dirt that is a part of our everyday life and it will make an impression on them. Sometimes, it can be a negative impression. Perfectly fine hardwood floors with smudge marks, dust and paw prints become floors that need to be refinished. Otherwise beautiful kitchen cabinets will suddenly need replacing because of grime that has accumulated around the pulls and handles. Every ounce of dust transmits to the potential buyer how your home was cared for and in turn, this affects not only whether a buyer decides to make an offer but how that offer is framed in terms of purchase price and repair requests. (I have previously addressed odor so I’m not going there again, but needless to say, your home needs to smell good too!)

I once worked with a buyer that looked for every little defect in a home so they could use this as a reason for the seller to reduce their purchase price. If you live in WNC, you know we have ladybugs every spring and stink bugs every fall. This buyer used the presence of even one bug to justify reducing the price. The kitchen pantry needed a good scrub down (what pantry doesn’t?). To her, this was evidence that the sellers were unclean and that she had work to do to make the home livable – so reduce the price. It was not a fun experience for anyone involved.

It is in every seller’s best interest to give their home a deep cleaning to prepare it for sale. Get rid of the cobwebs. Wash down window sills, screens and get rid of puppy nose marks on the windows. Make sure potential buyers can actually see the outdoors! Scrub down cabinets and appliances. Even the inside of a dishwasher could get looked at so make is SPARKLE. Mop your floors and clean the shower. Dust, dust, dust.  And then………keep it up because we all know it comes back again. I promise you that your efforts will pay off!

you own three dogs and see how easy it is to
keep up with puppy nose!


Can you see the view????
































Do Your Due Diligence

In North Carolina, our contracts are written to give the buyer an Inspection Period. We have labeled this the “Due Diligence Period” as this is your time to do due diligence on the home you are about to purchase.  What does this include? EVERYTHING

Home Inspection – this is a MUST, as in, you are silly to purchase a home without having a mechanic look under the hood (so to speak). They will look at the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, structure and some cosmetics of the home. They may not tell you everything that is wrong (they can’t see behind drywall) but they can alert you to what needs further examination.  For example, one transaction I was involved in had electrical that we thought had been updated but it turns out the entire second floor was still knob & tube wiring. On the home inspectors recommendation, we got a licensed electrician in for a second look and an estimate on repairs. Another time the foundation of a home was bowing in. A structural engineer took a look and told us how to set it right.

Pest Inspection – does the home have active termites? Post Beetles? Now is the time to find out

Radon Inspection – Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is thought to cause lung cancer. North Carolina has a lot of it. It’s everywhere, including the air you breathe as you walk out the door. The EPA has set a limit of 4 pCi/L for the amount of radon that is safe inside of your home.  If it’s over that limit, it’s time to talk to the seller about mitigating.

Well Water – is the water contaminated? Here is your chance to find out

Septic Tanks & City Sewer – Is everything functioning? Septic’s should be pumped and inspected. City lines can be scoped for tree roots that would cause blockage

This is not a finite list. Every house has it’s own little peccadilloes that will require it’s own list of inspections. The more you know about the home you are purchasing, the better you will feel about the purchase. Plus, you may be able to request the seller make some of the repairs and take that burden off of you.

Due Diligence is not just for inspections. In North Carolina, it also includes the time it takes to secure the loan, get an appraisal, do title work, read over restrictions, review (or obtain) surveys and any other item concerning the purchase of the home. The Due Diligence Period is your time to get to know this home and get your ducks in a row for purchasing it. Take advantage of this time.

Funny for the day. This was found in the restrictions for a home built in 1912:


“the cost of which does not equal or exceed $5,000”  –  I’m not sure you can build an outhouse for that!  Of course, the restriction is now expired and the wording is a bit ambiguous. Still pretty funny!

Do you want the work or not?

I think all of my blog posts lately are starting with “I apologize for ignoring my blog. I promise to do better”.  Seriously, I promise to do better. I even marked my calendar to remind me. 🙂

This opener ties in well with today’s post. As a REALTOR, it is my job to help my clients line up vendors for inspections or quotes on repairs.  I also call other vendors for purposes of advertising and other real estate related services. We all do this on a daily basis either for work or for personal needs. How often do we leave messages that are never returned?  Or even worse, you talk to someone about a job that needs to be done, they tell you they will go look at it and give you a price, then you never hear from them again.  It’s infuriating, isn’t it?

Last week I received a phone call from a gentleman who has around 100 acres up in Spillcorn, near Shelton Laurel. A friend of mine describes this area of the county as being in existence to hold the corners of the earth in place. It’s remote. The last time I listed something in Shelton Laurel I had to drive into Tennessee then back track to North Carolina to reach the property.  It took me an hour to get there and I live in the same county! As I said, it’s remote. So when this gentleman called and asked if I could list his property, I was interested but not enthusiastic. My husband asked me not to take it as he doesn’t like me driving alone to remote areas where I don’t have cell coverage. But still, it’s work and I hate turning it down.

I did some research on the property. I pulled the deeds, right of ways, looked for surveys and did a market analysis. I finally decided that I really wasn’t going to be the best person to take on this property. My heart just wasn’t in it and that’s not fair to the seller. At this point, I could have just forgotten about it. He was expecting a call from me but why bother? If I didn’t want the work, why put any more effort into it? Because that’s not the right thing to do. I called this gentleman back and told him what my research showed the property should sell for. I also explained that I felt that I was not a good fit for marketing this property but….. here are two good agents who I know do land, specifically in your area. I think they will be a good fit.  He was happy for the information and very happy that I wasn’t leaving him cold. I gave him two good people to chose from and I know they will treat him well just like I tried to.  Returning phone calls takes such little effort and now he has a good opinion of me instead of a negative one (like I have with the gravel guy who still hasn’t called me back!)

Your funny for the day. This is in the metes and bounds description of the above property:


(a Cucumber is a type of Magnolia Tree. Sorry to ruin your fun!)

A home where everyone is welcome!

(written for the Pet Gazette, Nov-Dec issue 2017)

I heard a sad story yesterday about a couple who had to re-home their beloved dog. They had moved to a new neighborhood and the Home Owners Association did not allow dogs as large as their Siberian Husky.  This could have been prevented by doing a bit of research and turning to a professional for assistance.  If you are in the market to buy a home, it is a smart decision to hire a Buyer’s Agent that is representing you and your best interests. This real estate agent will uncover any covenants and restrictions that might affect your pet owning family. They will make sure that your next purchase fits your needs so that Skippy isn’t out on the street.

Home Owners  Associations are governed by the rules set forth and recorded in the Covenants and Restrictions. These are on file at the courthouse and any real estate agent knows how to dig around and find them.  Not all C&R’s are written the same. They often address fencing, number of pets, type of pets and what you can do with your pets. If you breed dogs (responsibly, of course!) you don’t want to move to a community that prohibits dog breeding. If you run a rescue or you foster pets, a home in a community that limits your number of companions won’t work. And fencing……don’t get me started.

I once had a discussion with a developer who was in the process of writing restrictions for a new development. He told me that these would be luxury homes and he didn’t want fencing. I told him to specify that chaining and tethering was also out because this would then be the option of choice for some people.  He said he preferred underground fencing. That’s fine until one home owner has a thick-headed pooch that ignores the beep beep of the collar and charges the fence to freedom.  It only takes one time to have an escape artist who then goes visiting the neighborhood. Or how about coyotes, bears and other predators that have free access to your back yard? Underground fencing does not keep them out and puts your pets and children in danger. Fences make good neighbors. They keep your pets safe and your worries are minimized. The best solution for a developer is to put the fencing under architectural approval and specify what type of fencing is allowed.  As a home buyer, look at the restrictions carefully and make sure that any fence you put up conforms to the neighborhood rules.

Pet limits are always difficult. Some developments think that restricting the number to two household pets is reasonable. It’s not reasonable when those two pets are a different species. A much better compromise (if you are head of an HOA and you are reading this) is to limit homes to two or three pets per species. One development had a very caring restriction; they limited homes to 3 household pets but if any of those pets were over the age of twelve, they did not count in the total. That developer is concerned for our seniors. Good for them! Be careful also of restrictions on dog breeds. Not every development is happy to welcome bully-breeds into its community.  As dog lovers, we know this is unreasonable but we also know that sadly, not everyone agrees. Watch also for weight limits. Often communities are ok with dogs under a certain weight and no larger. Don’t find yourself in the same position as the Siberian Husky owner.

My best advice has always been to ask for and read any covenants and restrictions carefully BEFORE you make an offer on a home. If you have a hard time locating them, ask your real estate agent. Sometimes we have to dig a bit but these are important documents and it’s worth the time spent looking for these restrictions and any recent amendments that may have been recorded. You are buying a home for the whole family so let’s make sure it works for the whole family!

Pet Gazette Nov 2017

Details, Details, Details

A little rant here. I love details and I prefer to get them right so yes, it’s a pet peeve when another real estate agent gets it so wrong.

I was driving around previewing properties today for one of my clients. He has several pieces of land that he is interested in. One is on a gravel road and the land lays “behind the light yellow modular home”. All fine and good except there are a whole lot of tan homes and none were yellow. I couldn’t find the property. Wasted trip

My husband recently looked at a home that a potential client is buying. It needs extensive remodeling and on the clients wish list is a gas stove. She was disappointed that the house did not have gas which had my husband scratching his head. He was looking at a gas meter on the back of the house. The MLS detail sheet that the listing agent filled out stated the heating system was a heat pump but the Residential Property Disclosure that the home seller filled out said it was a heat pump with a Natural Gas back-up. Luckily this was a happy mistake but one all the same……….

Then there are the little every day details that I run into with real estate. I hate to see crooked photos, dark or over exposed photos, photos of toilet seats that have not been closed or photos of just a chandelier. Really?  You have a 24 photo limit and you are going to use one spot on just the chandelier? Unless it’s some priceless antique, you are wasting your story time. Because that’s what this is, it’s story time. Your verbiage and photos tell a story about a home. Use that information wisely!


Farming Communities in the City

This article explains an interesting concept. We have all seen golfing communites where housing is developed around a golf course. There are also equestrian developments where horse lovers can share a barn, pasture space and have access to riding trails. This is a farm community in the city and suburbs where people can enjoy farm fresh food right out their back door.  What do you think?

Farm Life in the ‘Burbs

21 Highland Cows (5)