First Impressions- Blind Dating for Homes

Ever go in a blind date? Beforehand, aren’t you just praying that they won’t be unattractive. If they are, most of the next hour will be spent thinking of reasons to leave early. Even if they are a wonderful person- you may never find out.

  landscapingbad.jpg      lanscapingbad1.jpg   landscapingbad1.jpg

Home owners are going on a blind date when they come to see your home, or at best it’s like interenet dating. They may have seen some pictures and know a little bit about the home, but once they actually show up- none of that matters anymore. And if your home doesn’t look good outside they may never discover how great it is inside- they may just drive away.                       

If a buyers pulls up and thinks the home looks bad they know all of their friends will think the same when they come over to visit. We all want to have a home that we’ll be proud of.

When selling a home it’s important to present it well and this begins with the home’s curb appeal. You want the outside appearance to draw them in and make them feel comfortable. You want your home to be a place they would be proud to invite people to.

Some tips to make a good first impresson;

 before-after.jpgbefore-after2.jpgbefore-after1.jpg                         

  • Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
  • Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
  • Clean windows and gutters.
  • Pressure wash dirty siding and dingy decks.
  • Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks.
  • Mow the lawn. Get rid of weeds.
  • Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the home’s roof.
  • Make sure your driveway is clean and clear.
  • Spruce it up with some accent lighting.
  • If you can budget it, a fresh paint job does wonders for a dingy house. Drive around your town to find color schemes that are appealing.
  • Install a more attractive front door, maybe something with leaded glass inserts.
  • If you can’t justify the cost of a new door, consider replacing plain doorknob hardware with something more attractive.
  • If new hardware is beyond your budget, repaint or stain the door and polish the hardware?
  •      landscaping.jpg landscaping7.jpg landscaping4.jpg 

    landscaping3.jpg landscaping5.jpg

              

    A Start-up Business Lesson- Beginning with the Beginning in Mind

    Our parents teach us about doing things right and finishing what we start, business coaches teach us how to plan ahead, school teachers teach us how and why things are done and all of these people teach us to begin new jobs “with the end in mind”. We are taught this because they want us to learn the very valuable lessons of completing tasks and planning ahead for the future. And this is good.

    But when starting a new business, one lesson I have learned is that while it is critical to have a solid plan and vision for your company, it is also imperative to think short-term. This is so important because as you are starting out every day seems to be a week crammed into a 24 hour period. There is so much to do every hour and all of these have to be done right now and they have to be done right. And many things need to be in some sort of sequence.

    And if you don’t survive the first few months, and make some money quickly the end may come all too soon. Of course, depending on your financial situation, your time frames will vary. If you have $Millions to burn before you make anything than you’re way ahead of me because I don’t.

    Our team is scrambling to build the systems and support each other, while at the same time make some money to keep us going. Each step takes effort to get us to the next.

    As far as I’m concerned the beginning is the most important part of our company’s success, because right now- it’s all we’ve got…

    How Blogging can Revolutionize Real Estate

    The real estate industry has been in a constant state of reluctant change for over thirty years. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the brokers had all the power. Agents would be told how they would do their business and where to work and even who they could work with. And the public had to go to a broker to get any information and for help selling their homes or finding a home.

    In the nineties the power shifted to the agents. Agents started to go from company to company and brokers were allowed to recruit agents so this created a sort of free agency market for Realtors. Brokers would try to woo the good agents to their company by offering incentives and more agent-friendly policies. The public still needed to contact an agent or a broker to get information, so the agents had the power.

    Today the power has shifted to the client, where it belongs. Todays home buyer and seller are more knowledgeable and educated in the process than ever before. Some buyers and sellers are more educated than many Realtors because many Realtors simply have not learned their profession well. Many agents make as much money as they can by doing as little actual work as possible. And hopefully those agents will be removed from the marketplace.

    The value of a good Realtor today is more facilitatory. They coordinate the home buying or selling process and give area knowledge and expertise to their clients while protecting them and their best interests. The client can get a lot of information, but there is a difference between information and knowledge. A good buyers agent can inform their client of which areas have a better commute time to downtown and which shopping centerhas the freshest produce or what the basic feel of a neighborhood is. They can organize the information and help their client make good decisions.

    A good seller’s agent can help the seller know the market value of their home and what the highest possible sales price most likely is. They assist their clients with showcasing their home or “staging” it so it can sell for top dollar and they market the home to the broadest possible audience.

    And a good agent in either agency relationship will help coordiante inspections, disclosures, appraisals, and all the details- all the way through the settlement and closing.

    Blogging can play a unique role in the evolution (not revolution) of the real estate industry. Companies and agents who stay in touch with the public and keep the pulse of their market’s needs and wants will undoubtedly be the ones to succeed at the highest possible level.

    Blogging is the ultimate form of word of mouth marketing.

    Often a company (not only real estate companies) will think they know what their clients need or want but actually be completely wrong. Usually this is because they have not listened to their clients. Many compnies make a habit of telling their clients what they want and trying to position themselves as the expert in areas that do not matter to the client. By utilizing the realm of bolgging a company can discover what their clients actually do need, and more importantly, want. They can listen. They can peek into their clients conversations and have real dialogue with them, resulting in better communication.

    Blogging is such a valuable tool for any industry, but especially for one that is client-centric, like real estate. One of the key roles blogging will play in this industry will be it’s ability to help weed-out those agents and companies that continue to think that the most important factor in the transaction is the agent. This will allow greater market share for those of us who believe the most important factor is the client.

    Improving Your Credit Score

    Credit scores are more important today than ever. This score plays a large part in what interest rate you’ll pay on loans, and whether you’ll even get the loan, and it also effects your insurance rates among other things. A credit score is basically a summary of your credit report and a numerical measurement that reflects your management of credit.

    Credit scores range from 300-900. A score above 620 is good, above 700 is very good, and above 750 is great. If your score is below 600 you’ll be paying higher interest for your loans. If your credit is low, there are ways to raise it.

    There are three basic principles to follow to raise your credit score.

    First, pay your bills on time (or early if possible). When lenders look at your credit they want to see that you pay your bills as agreed. Having on time payments is one of the biggest factors on your score. Occasionally being late should not affect your ability to get new credit, as long as your late payments aren’t too close together and too frequent. If you have a pattern of paying late you’ll be considered a higher risk.

    Second, don’t declare bankruptcy, have an automobile repossessed, or have your home foreclosed on. These are the BIG ones. One of these and your credit will go right down the drain so be careful to plan your money.

    Third, keep control of how much money you owe, especially on credit cards. It’s good to have credit cards to show a track record, but your score not only looks at if you’re paying your payments on those cards, but if you are “maxed out” on your cards. Lenders like to see that you haven’t spent every dime you don’t have. Plus, if you’re maxed out on cards the chance you’ll pay on time if an emergency comes up is not good. If you have three credit cards and each has a spending limit of $3000 and you only owe $300 on each card, that shows the bank (and is reflected in your credit score) that you can manage your money and you have a safety net if you need it.

    It may not be as bad as you think, at least for buying a home. I’ve had clients who had just gone through bankruptcy and we still got them into a house, they just paid higher interest. Plus, it’s actually easier to buy a house than a car (you can’t drive away with a house). Owning a home and paying your mortgage on time is a great way to raise your score.

    Follow these guidelines and your score will increase. Make sure you keep your credit report accurate. Periodically check your score with the three credit bureaus and be cautious before closing an existing credit card account because that can hurt your score. If you have an account for a long time and it has no balance that is good. Keep it open.

    To get a copy of your credit report, contact the credit bureaus:

    Equifax- 800-685-1111 – www.equifax.com

    Experian- 800-682-7654- www.experian.com

    Trans Union- 800-916-8800- www.tuc.com

    Missing Child Alert- Destiny Norton


    Destiny Norton, a local 5 year old girl from Salt Lake City, has been missing since about 8:30pm Sunday night after walking out of her family’s front door.

    Destiny is described as about 3 feet 6 inches tall, about 45 pounds, with short blond hair that had a green streak in it. She was last seen wearing a black adult-size T-shirt with gray stripes. She has silver caps on her teeth and also goes by the name Annie. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 801-799-4636. Information may also be sent to www.tipsforcash.com

    * The volunteer search headquarters has been set up at an LDS wardhouse at 445 E. Harvard Ave. (1142 South).
    * A Web site – www.finddestiny.net – is up and contains the latest information about the search for the 5-year-old.
    * A fund has been established under the names Rickey and Rachael Norton at Washington Mutual Bank to help defray the costs of the search and assist the family.
    * MeadowGold and The Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation have donated $15,000 as a reward for information leading to Destiny’s recovery.
    * Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 801-799-4636. Tips can also be sent to http://www.tipsforcash.com.

    Freshman class of 2006

    The Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list every year for their faculty to give them a sense of the mindset of that year’s incoming freshmen. The people who are starting college this fall were born in 1984 and here are some of the items that made the list about them;

    They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and do not know he had ever been shot.
    Black Monday, 1987 is as insignificant to them as the Great Depression.

    They were 9 when the Soviet Union broke apart and they don’t remember the Cold War.

    They have never feared a nuclear war.

    Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

    They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.

    The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.

    They have always had an answering machine.

    They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

    Roller-skating has always been in-line.

    Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.

    They have never seen Larry Bird play.

    The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as World War I, World War II or even the Civil War.

    They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.

    They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from.

    They never heard “Where’s the beef,” “I’d walk a mile for a Camel,” or “de plane, de plane!”

    The Titanic was found? They thought we always knew where it was.

    Michael Jackson has always been white.

    Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America and Alabama are places, not groups.

    McDonald’s never came in Styrofoam containers.

    There has always been MTV.

    For us in the real estate industry these people will be potential home buyers in the next few years. Most of these people do not read the newspaper and all of them are online, many have never had to deal with dial-up.

    Where are all the singles?

    Money Magazine has listed it’s Best Places To Live for 2006, and tops on the list is Fort Collins, CO, followed by Naperville, IL and Sugarland, Texas. Interestingly, the top ten are all in different states. Representing Utah in the top 100 best towns/cities to live in were Sandy (23), Orem (38), and Layton (41). I remember a few years ago the Places Rated Almanac rated Salt Lake City as the top city in America overall and listed about a dozen Utah cities in the top 100. Ah, those were the days…

    Highest average income honors go to Greenwich, CT ($112,493), Cupertino, CA ($110,518) and San Ramon, CA ($109,500), while Bloomington, IN has the highest percentage of singles (58.2%) and the skinniest people, based on body mass index, live in Roseville, CA (24.5) and San Francisco (24.8).

    You’ll also find cleanest air, youngest (three Utah cities rank in the top 25), most educated, hottest, and priciest to buy a home among others.