Life in the Sun – Texas Homeowners

Photo by Bradley Hook on

Downstairs master, playroom, island kitchen, backyard space, high ceilings and, of course, OPEN CONCEPT.  How many times do you hear that term on HGTV?  A list of your preferences is imperative when you consider purchasing a home.  But there’s so much more to it.  Selection criteria should take into consideration where, how and when you use the space, just for a start.

In Texas, morning sun is a fabulous perk!  But when was the last time you noticed every home in a neighborhood was built with the patio facing East-Northeast?  Lots have a ‘premium’ for a reason.  Solutions are available but when you find ‘the perfect house’, it’s easy to get carried away and overlook important points.  Do you have sufficient afternoon shade for entertaining?  Do you garden?  Have outdoor pets?  Want a pool?

silhouette of forest with birds flying above body of water during sunset
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What about new construction?  Is the house on a lake?  (That will require another post!)   How will the house sit on the lot?  Do you enjoy morning coffee or evening wine?  Will the glare through the windows require everyone to don dark glasses at breakfast?  Will guests simmer during dinner?  And, if you’re watching the playoffs, will the glare on the screen make your head pound?

Consider wall space – are there too many doors or windows?  Will the sectional sofa you’ve been considering work when you add a Christmas tree in December?  It’s not important to everyone, but is it important to you?  Will traffic flow smoothly through the kitchen or will the family be trampling each other while getting meals on the table?

Imagine getting groceries from the car to the pantry.  Must they be carted down the hall, across the living room, around the island and through the laundry room?  Again, not important to everyone.  But it’s a deal breaker for others.  The monetary investment required for a home is certainly sufficient to require a few thoughtful notes about your lifestyle. Continue reading Life in the Sun – Texas Homeowners

3 Tips For Timing The Sale Of Your Home


Timing is everything, especially when selling your home!  Should you sell first, then rent something while house hunting?  Are you building another home?  What are your options?

Ideally, you would time the sale and closing of house A (the existing home) to coincide with the sale and closing of house B (the home you’re purchasing to replace said existing home).  Ideally…

But you can’t bank on it. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of timing each sale to your advantage.

  1. Negotiate time to find a home.

Usually, the easiest solution is to sell your home to a buyer who’s willing to agree with your terms in the contract, (maybe a lease-back) to give you a bit of time.  You could try negotiating the sale of your home contingent upon finding and buying the home you’ll move to.  Buyers are more inclined to be flexible if you’re a bit flexible on your price or other terms of the agreement.

Analyze your options.  Frequently a compromise will cost less, decrease your stress level, and make for a smoother transaction all around.  Unless your buyer is also selling their own home and need to time the sale and purchase on their end as well.  The trickle-down effect may require some sensitivity.   If you’re selling to a first-time home buyer, the buyer may be working within the constraints of a lease.  Communication and planning with your agent from the moment you list your home will improve your odds!

  1. A bridge loan.

May take some shopping and research.  Bridge loans aren’t the norm, but you might be able to find a bank who will lend you money without selling your home, or will approve a mortgage provided you have a viable contract on your home.  On occasion, a lender will approve you for both mortgages for a short period of time.

  1. Have a back-up plan.

Most people can’t afford to buy without selling their current home.  If you’re among those lucky few with available cash reserves, temporary housing and storage may be your answer, though it would be an expensive one.  If you have it in your budget, take a local vacation!  Check out VRBO and you might be surprised at your options.

What about family?  They’re usually good for a few weeks.  Probably not a great long-term solution, but would it work for 30-45 days?  Maybe?  Hey, we’re problem solving, here, tossing around possibilities!  It can buy you time to wait a bit for the perfect house, and, take some of the pressure off when you are negotiating.  If you are pressed for time, you may be forced to pay a higher price for the house you are buying.

First things first…

Planning on the front end will cut down on expenses, frustration and fear of the missing a good offer for House A and/or a good price for House B.  You don’t want to feel forced to buy the first house that happens to be available and will line up with your timing.   Failure to be prepared just in case can cost you. Get my book!

Much depends on your local real estate market.  It may be that the house you plan to sell will go quickly and the demand will be such that you can call the shots regarding the terms of the agreement and buy time to find the perfect home.  Who knows…maybe there are plenty of properties in your price range, just sitting there waiting for you, with owners who would be happy to work with you on timing the closings.

No matter what, don’t attempt to just wing it and hope everything works out for the best.  And don’t wait until you have your house under contract and have found one you want to buy, only to discover it will require scheduling two moves (into and out of storage) you aren’t prepared for.

Involve your agent and come up with your game plan beforehand.  Real estate agents deal with these concerns day in and day out.  Yours can help you make the best decision and create a plan that considers your situation and the local market.  Do this before you even start the process.   Look into different lenders and the options they may have for you.  You might be happily surprised – at least you’ll be informed.

Laugh All The Way To The Bank!

From leaving the house for showings and open houses to having to keep the place spotless at all times, having a home on the market can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. Once you’ve made the decision to sell, you want to know that you won’t be in this anxiety-filled limbo forever. You want to hand over those keys, collect your check and move on — literally!

So, without lowering your asking price, what can you do to sell your home in a hurry? Here are 11 strategies that will help your property sell quickly without your wallet taking a heavy hit.

1. Declutter.

Few things detract from the beauty of a home quite like clutter. Though straightening and organizing is rarely the way most homeowners want to spend their days, it makes a huge difference. We’re not just talking about scrapping the junk mail either. Rid your entryways and mud rooms of extra coats, bags, and boots. Keep your countertops clear, and don’t forget to straighten up inside the kitchen and bathroom cabinets!  Yes, buyers look there.

2. Rent a storage unit.

Try removing one third of your items — especially from closets — before putting your home on the market.  This will make your home appear more spacious. Consider renting a storage unit rather than stuffing your basement or attic — because buyers look there as well!

3. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before!

Whether you’ve lived in a home for a few months or a few decades, some stains become invisible to you. While not every visitor will perform the old white glove test, they will notice things like dirty windowsills and dusty shelves. (And that crusty stuff on the bottom of your oven needs to go too.)  Don’t forget the ceiling fans!

4. Up your curb appeal.

If a property looks well-cared for from the outside, chances are it’s been well-maintained on the inside too. Plus, prospective owners look at a lush lawn as one less thing they have to deal with after they move in.

5. Remove personal items.

As hard as it might be to imagine, no one wants to see your Beanie Baby collection.  It’s true. Not only will quirky displays distract would-be buyers, they can turn them off to the property completely. Don’t take that chance.

6. Be your own marketing machine.

While having a great agent in your corner is half the battle, don’t be shy when it comes to spreading the word on your own. You never know who has friends or family looking for new digs!

7. Make sure your photos are perfect & plentiful.

Most buyers will form a first impression of your home based on online listing photos. You definitely don’t want to leave picture-taking to an amateur. An experienced photographer knows how to show off each room to its full advantage. Don’t miss an opportunity to attract buyers by allowing your space to look cramped and dark.  Talk to your agent – me – about the best time of day for natural light to show off your home.

8. Make minor upgrades (that make a major difference).

Fresh coats of paint brighten up rooms and make them appear fresh again. If you don’t have the money to splurge on a major kitchen renovation, consider inexpensive updates like switching out the hardware or light fixtures. If you’re willing to invest a bit more, replace an outdated appliance or two.

Something as simple as cleaning the grout in your bathroom will go a long way toward making the place shine.

9. Keep the pets (and their odor) out.

While you might think of your pet as a furry family member, not everyone is going to be as fond of Fido — or his funk. You may be immune to the scent of your cat or dog, so ask someone you trust to tell you if your home has pet odors.  It’s a major turnoff to buyers.

Once you’ve got the smell under control, make sure your pet is crated or kenneled for any showings. Buyers will feel more comfortable and take the time to explore rather than run back to their car.

10. Adding a closet, adds a bedroom.

If you have a den or home office and believe your place would sell faster if it had another bedroom, adding a closet is easier than you think. If you’re handy, instructions abound, making this a DIY project for any weekend warrior. Rather leave it to the pros? estimates the average cost to build a 6.5 feet wide walk-in closet is around $1,500, which is a small investment compared to how much value another bedroom adds to your home — and its asking price.

If this takes your three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom and that’s what sells fastest in your neighborhood, it’s time to start planning.

11. Take care of anything that will pop up during inspection.

You know that loose handrail you’ve been ignoring? Fix it. Now. If you’re aware of problems that will undoubtedly appear on a home inspector’s report, deal with them as soon as you can so you don’t waste time or lose a potential buyer.  Get your agent’s advice and make a plan.  Front end preparation can prevent a great deal of frustration.

Call anytime I can be of help to you.