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The Real Estate Section
2
Take The Tour of "Reflections" - The Cutler Mansion in Brentwood, TN
Located on Concord Road in beautiful Brentwood, Tennessee, this incredible home stands out with the magnificence that is rightly due its stature. This mansion's name is "Reflections". And certainly does reflect the skillful crafting of its owners. The name is derived from the poetic statement: "If the eyes are the window to one's soul, then the home is certainly the soul's reflection."
The owners state: "Discriminating buyers know that they have many choices in today's market for high end homes. Motivated and discerning sellers recognize that fact and must be prepared to offer more home value than the competition. Therefore, we are proud to present Reflections, a 'dare to compare' timeless estate. Let the video tour whet your appetite, then if you are that discriminating buyer, shop around and then contact us HERE."
How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer- Upper House
(Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com)
By: G. M. Filisko

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house? Follow these seven steps, and you'll know how much you can afford, how much to offer, and whether a fixer-upper house is right for you.

1. Decide what you can do yourself
TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don't know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won't increase the value of your fixer-upper house.
•Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.
•Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer
•Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he's going to do.
•If you're doing the work yourself, price the supplies. •Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

3. Check permit costs
•Ask local officials if the work you're going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it'll cause problems when you resell your home.
•Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.
•Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work
If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you've uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems. Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues. Don't purchase a home that needs major structural work unless: •You're getting it at a steep discount
•You're sure you've uncovered the extent of the problem
•You know the problem can be fixed
•You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

5. Check the cost of financing
Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings. If you're planning to fund the repairs with a home equity (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/consider-home-equity-line-of-credit/) or home improvement loan:
•Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.
•Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you're not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.
•Consider the Federal Housing Administration's Section 203(k) program (http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/203k/203kmenu.cfm), which lets qualified purchasers wrap up to $35,000 into their mortgages to upgrade their home before they move in.

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer
Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs. For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.
Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement. The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000. Ask your real estate agent if it's a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer
Don't rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:
•Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.
•Radon, mold, lead-based paint •Septic and well •Pest
Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don't want to deal with.
If that happens, this isn't the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

More from HouseLogic What you need to know about foundation repairs (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/what-you-need-know-about-foundation- repairs/) Budgeting for a home remodel (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/budget- for-remodel/)
Tips on hiring a contractor (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/five- essential-questions-ask-before-hiring-contractor/) Other web resources
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.This Old House remodeling cost estimates (http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/estimated-remodeling-and- repair-costs.shtml) Check the average return on different remodeling projects (http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/national) G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose parents bought and renovated a fixer-upper when she was a teen. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Pet Odor Can Chase Away Buyers
Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com
By: G. M. Filisko Published: October 15, 2010


Don't let pet odors derail your home sale.

Having pet odors inside your home can turn off potential home buyers and keep your home from selling. Ask your real estate agent for an honest opinion about whether your home has a pet smell.

If your agent holds her nose, here's how to get rid of the smell:
Air your house out. While you're cleaning, throw open all the windows in your home to allow fresh air to circulate and sweep out unpleasant scents.
Once your house is free of pet odors, do what you can to keep the smells from returning. Crate your dog when you're out or keep it outdoors. Limit the cat to one floor or room, if possible. Remove or replace pet bedding.

Scrub thoroughly. Scrub bare floors and walls soiled by pets with vinegar, wood floor cleaner, or an odor-neutralizing product, which you can purchase at a pet supply store for $10 to $25. Try a 1:9 bleach-to-water solution on surfaces it won't damage, like cement floors or walls.

Got a stubborn pet odors covering a large area? You may have to spend several hundred dollars to hire a service that specializes in hard-to-clean stains.
Wash your drapes and upholstery. Pet odors seep into fabrics. Launder, steam clean, or dry clean all your fabric window coverings. Steam clean upholstered furniture.

Either buy a steam cleaner designed to remove pet hair for around $200 and do the job yourself, or pay a pro. You'll spend about $40 for an upholsteredchair, $100 for a sofa, and $7 for each dining room chair if a pro does your cleaning.

Clean your carpets. Shampoo your carpets and rugs, or have professionals do the job for $25 to $50 per room, depending on their size and the level of filth embedded in them. The cleaner will try to sell you deodorizing treatments. You'll know if you need to spend the extra money on those after the carpet dries and you have a friend perform a sniff test.

If deodorizing doesn't remove the pet odor from your home, the carpets and padding will have to go. Once you tear them out, scrub the subfloor with vinegar or an odor-removing product, and install new padding and carpeting. Unless the smell is in the subfloor, in which case that goes next.
Paint, replace, or seal walls. When heavy-duty cleaners haven't eradicated smells in drywall, plaster, or woodwork, add a fresh coat of paint or stain, or replace the drywall or wood altogether.

On brick and cement, apply a sealant appropriate for the surface for $25 to $100. That may smother and seal in the odor, keeping it from reemerging.
Place potpourri or scented candles in strategic locations. Put a bow on your deep clean with potpourri and scented candles. Don't go overboard and turn off buyers sensitive to perfumes. Simply place a bowl of mild potpourri in your foyer to create a warm first impression, and add other mild scents to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Control ongoing urine smells. If your dog uses indoor pee pads, put down a new pad each time the dog goes. Throw them away outside in a trash can with a tight lid. Remove even clean pads from view before each showing.

Replace kitty litter daily, rather than scooping used litter clumps, and sweep up around the litter box. Hide the litter box before each showing.
Relocate pets. If your dog or cat has a best friend it can stay with while you're selling your home (and you can stand to be separated from your pet), consider sending your pet on a temporary vacation. If pets have to stay, remove them from the house for showings and put away their dishes, towels, and toys.

More from HouseLogic
Preparing your home for sale (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/5- tips-prepare-your-home-sale/)
Staging your home for sale (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/7-tips- staging-your-home/)
Spring cleaning guide (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/spring-cleaning- guide/)Other web resources: More tips on eliminating odors (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/removing_pet) G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose former mutt Marley no doubt created a wet-dog aroma in her condo that still remains. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

To Buy or Rent

Recently, the blogosphere has been active with debates centered around the value of owning a home ver- sus choosing to rent in the current economy.
Regardless of which side the debaters take, the dialogue itself reveals how personal our ideas about homeownership can be and how significantly it factors in our lives.

As these online discussions reveal, life stages, financial situations, and lifestyle preferences are all fac- tors that people consider when deciding to rather to rent or own.

People who may be moving within a few years may want to consider renting as an option, until they’re ready to settle down in a specific community. However, as individuals take steps toward raising families and growing a nest egg, homeownership tends to be the first rung on the ladder toward the goal of build- ing long-term wealth.

When Mortgages Pay

One of the benefits many homeowners enjoy is the mortgage interest deduction (MID). This tax deducti- bility of interest paid on mortgages has been an incentive for homeownership since 1913. Individuals can deduct interest paid on mortgage debt of up to $1million.

The deduction is available for interest on mortgages for a principal residence and one additional resi- dence. Sixty-three percent of families who claim the MID earn between $50,000 and $200,000 per year.

While the MID is a great benefit, people usually don’t buy homes only because of the deduction. They buy homes to satisfy social, family and personal goals. However, an NAR survey of home buyers found that both first-time buyers and repeat buyers ranked the desire for tax incentives as an important reason to buy.

Home Is Where the Community Is

A new NAR research report demonstrates a correlation between homeownership and social benefits for both families and the community at large. According to the research detailed in the report, The Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing, homeownership boosts the educational performance of children, encourages higher participation in civic and volunteering activity, improves health care out- comes, lowers crime rates and reduces welfare dependency.

The research also revealed that most American households still aspire to homeownership, which helps families to accumulate wealth as well as social status.

To read the full report, visit www.realtor.org/research/ research/homeownershipbenefits

 

 



See our new Equine Real Estate pages.
Video Tour of The Home Reflections.
View Looking Out Front Foyer.
One of Six Fireplaces - The Great Hall.
Gold Accented Dining Room.
Beautifully Apportioned Wood Library.
Gorgeous Multi-Wood Kitchen.
The Juliet Balcony over-looking Great Hall.
Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer on Your Home
Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com
By: Marcie Geffner


Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.

You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You're excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counteroffer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.

Check your emotions

A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that's a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer.

Counter the purchase offer

Unless you've received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms you're willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think that's customary, they're afraid they'll overpay, or they want to test your limits.

A counteroffer signals that you're willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that you'd like to take with you.

Consider the terms

Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but it's not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.

Review your comps

Ask your REALTOR® whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as "comps") have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell.

Consider the buyer's comps

Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counteroffer information about those homes and your own comps that justify your asking price.

If the buyers don't include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyers' agent for those comps.

Get the agents together

If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you don't have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyer's agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyer's agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If that's the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer.

Don't signal desperation

Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your home's listing describes you as a "motivated" seller, you're signaling you're open to a low offer.

If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that you're motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking.

More from HouseLogic
6 Tips for Choosing the Best Purchase Offer for Your Home (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/6-tips-choosing-best-offer-your- home/)
6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/6-Reasons-To-Reduce-Your- Home-Price/)
Marcie Geffner is a freelance reporter who has been writing about real estate, homeownership and mortgages for 20 years. She owns a ranch-style house built in 1941 and updated in the 1990s, in Los Angeles.
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Should You Move or Remodel?
Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com
By: Dona DeZube


When your house no longer suits you, you can move or remodel. Find out which big change is the right investment of your housing dollars.

Deciding whether you should move or remodel? The most important things you need to consider are the four things you can't change: your home's value compared to the rest of the neighborhood, how much you love your neighborhood, the size of your lot, and the cost to move your stuff to a new house.

Just about everything else-remodeling costs, the hassle of living in a construction zone, or the ability to live happily without one more bathroom-- is a personal preference. After all, your home isn't just your largest investment; it's also the place where your family lives.
1. Will remodeling make your home better than everyone else's?
To make the right move-or-remodel decision, you have to know:
•Your home's value. Easy. Just ask a REALTOR® to estimate it and tell you how it compares with the value of the other homes in your immediate neighborhood. Ask her what she thinks your house will be worth after the improvements, too.
•Your neighbors' home value. Hit some open houses. Seeing the inside of area homes will inspire you; help you make good choices about finishes, room sizes, and how much to spend; and, admit it, entertain you.
•Your remodeling costs. Once you've got your renovation vision, get a quote from a home improvement contractor or, if you're remodeling it yourself, tally the costs of the items on your supplies shopping list.

Then add the remodeling costs to the value of your home. If the number you get is more than 10% above the average value of homes in your neighborhood, you're over improving and probably won't be able to sell for what you put into the remodel.

Here's why: No one wants to buy the most expensive home on the block (your home) if they can spend the same money to get a similar home on a block of higher-priced homes. Would you pay $200,000 to live on a block where all the other homes are valued at $100,000? We hope not.

Make home improvements that are typical for the neighborhood. Don't put granite countertops in a trailer, and don't put laminate countertops in a Trump Tower condo. Your tour of open houses gives you a chance to verify that your planned remodel isn't an over- or under-improvement for the neighborhood.

2. Do you love where you live?
Want to keep your kids in the same school district, but can't find or afford a bigger, better house? Love the neighbors? Have an easy commute to work? Stay put. If you've soured on the traffic, the neighborhood's crime rate, or the nosy neighbors, move on.

3. Do you have room to expand?
If your remodeling plans include increasing the overall size of your home, the size of your lot may be the deciding factor in whether to move or remodel. If you live in a 1,500 sq. ft. ranch on a 3,000 sq. ft. lot, you might be able to add a second story to turn it into a 3,000 sq. ft. two-story, but you're not likely to add 1,500 sq. ft. at ground level. And if you have a septic tank and well, the location of those will limit how and where you add onto your home (or cost you a bundle to move).

4. Can you afford to move?
Consider these moving costs: sale costs for your existing home, shipping your household goods, buying window treatments and possibly furniture for the new house, costs to fix up your existing home before sale, higher utility costs (if your next house is bigger), insurance cost differences, and property taxes.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. More from HouseLogic
Q&A: Author Sarah Susanka Talks Budget-Smart Remodeling (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/QA-author-sarah-susanka-talks-budget- smart-remodeling/)
Should You Move or Improve? (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/should- you-move-or-improve/) Other web resources
Find your local remodelers (http://www.nahb.org)
Average project cost (http://remodeling.hw.net)
Dona DeZube, HouseLogic's news editor, moved across the same street twice when she remodeled two houses in Columbia, Maryland, before she moved to a house in Clarksville, Maryland. She remodeled that house and then moved back to the same street in Columbia. She despises moving, but her husband loves remodeling.
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.