Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

July 1, 2020

Buying A Home In The Age Of COVID-19

 

While the U.S. wrestles with social distancing and a disrupted economy, you may not feel it’s the best time to buy a home, but you may be missing a great opportunity. The Chattanooga Market is highly saturated and competitive, which makes now the perfect time to achieve your real estate goals. Many buyers prefer to wait and sit on the bench, giving you more access to homes with less competition.

The real estate industry is still very much in business, but there have been many changes in how homes are being bought and sold. Here’s what you can expect.

Higher credit scores/down payments are required. News outlets are reporting that some banks, such as JP Morgan-Chase, are requiring higher credit scores as well as larger down payments to limit risk as people lose jobs and the economy wobbles. If you are in an essential business, that’s good, but you may need to sign a statement to that effect.

Virtual showings are the new normal. Virtual tours have been around for decades, but how they’re different is that your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional may hold the “camera” themselves, helping you zoom in details, features and concerns as you request them to. They can also conduct open houses, thanks to Zoom or other conference software. You can still see homes in person, but this is a great elimination and selection tool.

Inspections, final walk-throughs and closings are social distanced. To protect appraisers, inspectors, real estate personnel, etc., you may have to stay firmly six feet or more away, wear a medical-grade mask, and use sanitizer or wear gloves.

Posted in Real Estate
June 12, 2020

Color Personality: Blue

After a decade of industrial grey walls, stark white kitchens, and minimalistic décor, it’s time for some color. Blues are a great choice; they can be peaceful and soothing, confident and bold or as refreshing as a dip in the pool.

Here is a range of blues you may like:

Classic blues are elegant and have been used by blue bloods for centuries. Inspired by the royal and sapphire hues found in the Far East, the West adopted these shades into collectible porcelain china such as Delft and Staffordshire and in fabric patterns such as toile. These shades are popular in kitchens and dining rooms, because blues offset the heat of oven fires and cook-tops.

Soothing blues are pale, muted with grey or warmed with undertones of yellow. Pastel blues can be wonderful in bedrooms and baths, or wherever you seek serenity.

Floral and avian blues like bluebonnet, periwinkle, peacock and robin’s egg can be delightful as accents against neutrals. They bring the outdoors inside, perfect for living rooms or dens with large windows and vistas.

Contemporary blues tend to be vivid and intense, such as the iconic Tiffany blue or cobalt. These colors are most effectively used as statements in rooms without a lot of clutter.

Deep water blues are natural in seaside and lakeside homes. From aqua to navy, your home will pay homage to local water-faring activities, like fishing and sailing.

The versatility of blue is unlimited. It complements all other colors, like the sky complements the earth.

Posted in home trends
May 22, 2020

Are You Selling Your Home, or Just Curious About Value?

All homeowners wonder at some point what their home is worth, but there’s a big difference between planning to sell and simply satisfying your curiosity. You can get a ballpark idea of what homes in the neighborhood are fetching by going online, or you could contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional for a comprehensive market analysis, a comparison between your home and other similar homes in your neighborhood. 

If you’re just curious, you can take your estimated sales price, subtract the customary closing costs in your area plus the closing costs on your new home (anywhere from about six to ten percent for both transactions). But then, what have you got? Without a plan of what you want to accomplish with your equity, your home’s worth doesn’t mean anything because it can change at any time. The economy, jobs, buyer preferences, and more can all make a difference.

If you’re really interested in selling your home, run some what-if scenarios. What are your goals? A bigger, nicer home? A home closer to work or family? Are there better programs for your children in a different school district? In short, you want to know how life will improve for each of your household members in a different home or location.  

Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be in a better position to sell your home with confidence. It’s not just about knowing how much your home is worth; it’s about providing quality of life to your household.

Posted in Real Estate
May 14, 2020

Five Ways To Show Courtesy At Showings

A seller’s home is their private sanctum, and that should remain true even when it’s on the market. You’ll enjoy showings or open houses more as well as protect the seller’s home with these five courtesies.

  1. Sign in. Sellers and listing agents need to know who’s been in the home so they can ask for feedback. If you tour builder’s homes or open houses unaccompanied, be sure to include your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional’s contact information so others know you’re already represented.
  1. Wear slip-ons. Especially during inclement weather, park your shoes at the front door to keep from dragging mud or other contaminants into the home.
  1. Establish rules for children. You may prefer to leave the kids at home for first and second viewings, but you’ll want to show them their next home eventually. Tell them to stay by your side, not to touch anything, and to refrain from running or horseplay.
  1. 4 Open closets, cabinets and drawers. Part of what you’re buying is storage and organization, so you have every right to open all closets, built-in cabinets and kitchen drawers. But if a piece of furniture is used instead of a built-in, such as a buffet table or china hutch, you should leave it alone.
  1. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You introduce or take away germs when you enter any home, so make sure your hands are clean before you touch anything as well as after the showing is over.
Posted in Real Estate
April 29, 2020

Which Rooms Should Be Counted?

 

There are certain rules to the marketing of real estate that are designed to prevent buyer confusion and to protect sellers from misrepresenting their properties, but sometimes real estate isn’t so black and white. Here are some areas to question.  

Additions. Added square footage such as a bumped-out first floor master or den should have accompanying building permits that have been signed off by city inspectors. This prevents you from buying a home with shoddy construction. To confirm, tax roll data should include the updates.  

Conversions. Some sellers gain more living area by converting the garage, but not all conversions are properly permitted. You may have more living space, but the loss of a garage should be reflected in the pricing.

Guest houses and garage quarters. Detached guest house or garage quarters aren’t typically aren’t counted in the square footage of the main home but can be counted as “other features.” As a buyer, don’t assume you’re buying an Airbnb goldmine; such rentals may or may not be allowed in your HOA or town.

Basements. Most basements are below ground level and aren’t counted in the square footage of main house features.  One reason for this is that any “room” must have an entrance and exit point, in case of fire, whether it’s finished or unfinished.

From state to state, real estate customs vary. The best rule of thumb is to verify, verify, verify. Cross check listing data with tax records, copies of permits, and seller’s disclosures for accuracy.

April 16, 2020

Emergency Plans For Your Family

Do you know what to do when a disaster strikes? Do your children? By creating and practicing an emergency safety plan, you can protect your family when natural disasters happen. Wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes each require special preparations, including emergency kits with food, water, first aid, medicines, and blankets. The Chattanooga area recently got hit hard by a tornado. It is important that we know the precautions to take during times like these. 

Fires. The National Fire Protection Association advises you to have at least two ways to escape the home in case of fire. Practice fire drills with your children at least twice a year so they can identify safer escape routes from anywhere in the home.

Tornadoes. Tornadoes are fast, unpredictable and destructive. The Red Cross recommends the safest shelter for the family as rooms without windows, such as interior rooms, closets, hallways or a storm shelter/basement, if available.

Hurricanes. The Insurance Information Institute suggests learning where the nearest public shelters and evacuation routes are before hurricane season begins.

Earthquakes. Earthquakes happen without warning and can be followed by powerful aftershocks. Ready.gov says to practice drop, cover and hold-on drills, like getting under a sturdy desk or table, against an interior wall, or in the jamb of a door on a load-bearing wall.

Before disaster strikes, review your homeowner’s insurance and make sure you’re covered for flooding and wind damage. Upload photographs of your home and valuables to the cloud. Keep valuables, important files, priceless photographs in a safety deposit box. Prepare your emergency kit.

You may lose some material objects, but you’ll keep what matters most –- your family.

Posted in Other
March 24, 2020

Colors Of The Year 2020

 

Companies use color trends to boost brand awareness and product sales, but the research behind colors and how they impact consumers is anything but arbitrary. Color trends aim to appeal to emotions caused by world events, history and cultures, the economy, and the human need for change. While we are being encouraged to stay home due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this is a perfect opportunity to add some changes to the walls of your home.

Ever since Pantone Color Institute's first introduction of the Color of the YEAR (COTY) in 2000, a subtle blue called Cerulean, many paint manufacturers are announcing their own COTYs as well as curated “collections” of the year.

Behr's choice for COTY 2020 is a fresh split-pea green called Back to Nature. The Behr 2020 Color Trends palette “was inspired by “natural elements such as sky, earth, water and plant life.” Sherwin-Williams’ 2020 COTY is Naval, a classic ocean blue. The company’s 2020 palette is called Simply Blissful Color Collection. A pale peachy pink called First Light is BenjaminMoore.com’s selection for 2020. Their Color Trends 2020 palette combines “optimism and understatement.”

These color trends all have characteristics in common: they help promote familiarity, serenity, coziness and comfort.

Paint is among the easiest ways to update a home, so trying one of these soothing colors may help you create the serene room(s) you’ve always wanted. 

Posted in home trends
March 5, 2020

Dog Rehoming: How To Do It The Right Way

Image result for adopt a pet

 

You’ve been transferred. You can’t find a rental that allows pets, or the pet deposits are outlandishly high. A close relative passes away and leaves behind a beloved pet. For any number of reasons, you may find yourself facing the sad prospect of rehoming a pet dog or cat. Don’t despair; there are many ways to find a great home that will give your pet the quality of life you want for them.  

First, document your pet’s life. Photos, videos, veterinarian records, registrations and a description of your pet’s personality, likes and dislikes. Make a scrapbook as a gift for your pet’s new owners. This will help showcase your pet to advantage, both online and in person.

Ask family and friends if they’re interested and to help spread the word that your pet will be available. Ask your veterinarian if you can advertise your pet on their bulletin board and website. Finding a new home, yourself allows you to learn about the family that wants your pet.

Adoptapet.com partners with the Petco Foundation to guide you through finding a new home, including helping you create a profile for your pet, evaluate potential homes and providing a contract to finalize the adoption. The SPCA.org has a similar service that allows you to keep your pet at home until you find the right home.

You can always surrender your pet to a reputable rehoming center such as Humanesociety.org , where volunteers will take over to find your pet a new home. There are also local animal shelters in Chattanooga, such as McKamey Animal Center, Trooper's Treasures, and East Ridge Animal Shelter.

Posted in Other
Feb. 18, 2020

Four Things To Do Before Moving In

You’re almost done! All that’s left to do is to pack up and move in to your first real home. Here are a few tips from The Lawrence Team that will make your moving day as a new homeowner easier.

  1. Sort your belongings. Moving can be more expensive when you cart along items you don’t really want or need. A great way to do it is to sort and pack at the same time. Think in terms of three piles – keep, donate, trash. Trash the trash and drop the donations off at the first opportunity. There are several thrift stores all around Chattanooga. Put your “keep” pile into moving boxes labeled by room.
  2. Plan your storage options. Closets, attics and cabinets can fill up quickly, especially if you’re downsizing. Where will the out-of-season sports gear go? What about holiday decorations? How are you setting up your kitchen? What goes in the garage besides tools? Where will you put valuables? 
  3. Plan your car trip. Whether you’re moving across the country or just across town, pack your car or rental with necessities, including first aid, drinks, and snacks. Each family member should choose their favorite items to bring, like blankets, pillows, games, books, and a change of clothes – just in case you don’t have time to unpack those items the first day in your new home.
  4. Meet your neighbors. If possible, introduce yourselves to your neighbors beforehand to let them know you’re moving in. You’ll have a greater sense of familiarity and belonging on moving day.
Jan. 29, 2020

All About City Trash Pickups

In this environmentally‑correct age, you can’t throw an old appliance out with the garbage anymore. Most areas require that you place household and yard waste in separate containers, and that you deliver hazardous items to collection centers. So what are the rules in the city of Chattanooga?

Trash pickup dates. Your city’s website, http://www.chattanooga.gov/public-works/city-wide-services/garbage-collection, will offer a garbage and yard trash schedule for the year for your area, including holidays. Simply input your address, if available, and print and save the schedule in a handy kitchen drawer. You can also order new trash and recycling bins.

Recycling. You’ll need to know how to separate your disposables for pick up and what days those pickups are available. Los Angeles, California offers blue recycling bins for paper, cartons, small glass like spaghetti jars, and metal cans and containers. They offer green bins for yard waste.

Yard waste. Learn your city’s rules for yard waste. Charlotte, North Carolina requires you to place yard waste in open containers on pick up day. Tree limbs and sticks should be unbound while leaves and grass clippings should be sacked in paper. Many communities forbid plastic garbage bags. 

Hazardous waste. Some things can’t be thrown out, but instead must be dropped off to special facilities for hazardous waste. Dallas, Texas offers mobile BOPA (batteries, oil, paint and antifreeze) pickup stations and HHW (household waste) stations to collect old computers, pool chemicals, poisons, etc.

You’ll learn a lot about waste disposal, recycling and doing your part to protect the environment.

Posted in Other