This Month in Real Estate - July 2019

CHATTANOOGA HOME SALES - JULY 2019

Chattanooga (August 14, 2019) - In July, the U.S. economic expansion that began in June 2009 became the longest in the nation's history, marking 121 straight months of gross domestic product growth and surpassing the 120-month expansion from 1991 to 2001. The average rate of growth during this expansion has been a milder 2.3 percent per year compared to 3.6 percent during the 1990s. Although the economy should continue to perform well for the rest of 2019, most economists see a mild recession on the horizon. MORE.

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NATIONAL HOME SALES - JULY 2019 | Existing-Home Sales Climb 2.5 Percent in July

WASHINGTON (August 23, 2019) – Existing-home sales strengthened in July, a positive reversal after total sales were down slightly in the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Although Northeast transactions declined, the other three major U.S. regions recorded sales increases, including vast growth in the West last month.

“Falling mortgage rates are improving housing affordability and nudging buyers into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. However, he added that the supply of affordable housing is severely low. “The shortage of lower-priced homes have markedly pushed up home prices.” MORE >>>>

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This Month in Real Estate - June 2019

Chattanooga Home Sales

Chattanooga (July 18, 2019) - As was widely expected, the Federal Reserve did not change the target range for the federal funds rate – currently set at 2.25 to 2.5 percent – during their June meeting. Although the economy is still performing well due to factors such as low unemployment and solid retail sales, uncertainty remains regarding trade tensions, slowed manufacturing and meek business investments. More >>>>

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National Home Sales

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2019) – Existing-home sales weakened in June, as total sales saw a small decline after a previous month of gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. While two of the four major U.S. regions recorded minor sales jumps, the other two – the South and the West – experienced greater declines last month.

“Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels – even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Yun says the nation is in the midst of a housing shortage and much more inventory is needed. “Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” he said. More >>>>

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Interested in the homes currently on the market? For a full listing search, click here. To learn more about Cheryl or Brad, check out our bio page. To schedule a consultation for buying or selling, call (423) 505-4880.

Pet Owners: Smart Staging Helps Sell Your Home Fast

While most pet owners think of their animals as part of the family, potential home buyers see those same pets as problematic.  Instead of letting your finned, furry or feathered friend hinder your home sale, make your pet disappear with smart staging.  Here are some tips to help prepare your property for a quick, easy sale.

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But my pet lives here!  
Even if your pet is clean and well-behaved, there are many reasons home buyers prefer animal-free houses.  They may have allergies; afraid of your animal, or they may envision the worst of messes an animal could create in a house.  As The Balance points out, a buyer’s imagination can run wild with visions of vomiting, fleas, and all sorts of bad behavior. 

Moving your pet to another location is your best bet.  It makes staging easier, prevents your animal slipping out, and you don’t need to manage removing your pet and its belongings for every showing.  And note the housing market is competitive.  Research properties in your area to have a better feel for housing trends and to understand what you’re up against.  For instance, the median listing price in Chattanooga is $345,000.  If you want to maximize your sale price, focus on great home staging.  Think in terms of making your pet disappear so buyers never even notice you housed one.

Temporary housing.  
One of the best helps to pet owners during the home selling process is to find another place to keep your pet for the time being.  Experts cited by the Seattle Times explain that with your pet’s safely out of the picture, you can prepare your property and arrange listings more freely.  It allows your pet and you to experience a less stressful process by not having to pull your pet in and out of the house regularly.  See if your animal can stay with a good friend, family member or boarding facility (boarding a dog can cost $25 - $85 a night).   

If you elect to keep your pet at home for the duration of your listing, the next best thing you can do is to remove your pet and all your pet-related items prior to all showings.  This includes litter boxes, puppy pads, aquariums, leashes, bowls and toys.

Deep clean.  
Evidence of your pet extends beyond your animal’s belongings.  Any sort of pet odor is a major turnoff to potential home buyers.  Not only do you need to remove bedding and indoor potty items, but also you should eliminate lingering odors throughout your home.  That means deep cleaning carpet, upholstery and window coverings.  You should start the process early, since some odors can be quite stubborn.  Since you live with your pet, chances are you are so used to the scents you don’t notice them and may not be able to tell if they are thoroughly removed.

One suggestion is to ask a neighbor or friend to drop by after you clean and keep cleaning until offending odors are removed.  If you have stains or odors that won’t lift, some professionals recommend replacing your flooring.  Even after you effectively eradicate odors, ensure you keep up with the good job you did by vacuuming daily and routinely deodorizing. 

Make repairs.  
Another aspect often overlooked is pet-related damage to a home.  After all, when you live with something awhile you tend to stop “seeing” it.  One recommendation is to thoroughly evaluate your home, looking for scratched woodwork, stained floors and clawed window screens.  And don’t forget your yard!  If your dog dug in the garden, patch the holes.  If your cat leaves hunting trophies, remove them.  Clean up any potty areas and repair damaged grass. 

Pet-free and ready to sell.  
By making your pet disappear during your listing, you set yourself up for a successful experience.  Remove your pet’s belongings, deodorize your home, repair damage and prepare your property to look pet-free.  Great staging can mean a quick offer at a good price for pet owners!

**Article courtesy of Cindy Aldridge at Ourdogfriends.org

This Month in Real Estate - May 2019

CHATTANOOGA HOME SALES - MAY 2019

Chattanooga (June 18, 2019) - At this point in the year, we are getting a good sense for how the housing market is likely to perform for the foreseeable future. And although it is not a particularly exciting forecast, it is a desirable one. Markets across the country are regulating toward a middle ground between buyers and sellers. While it remains true that sales price s are running higher and that inventory options are relatively low, buyers are beginning to find wiggle room at some price points and geographies. MORE >>>

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NATIONAL HOME SALES - MAY 2019: Existing-Home Sales Ascend 2.5 Percent in May

Existing-home sales rebounded in May, recording an increase in sales for the first time in two months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major U.S. regions saw a growth in sales, with the Northeast experiencing the biggest surge last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said the 2.5% jump shows that consumers are eager to take advantage of the favorable conditions. “The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding.” MORE >>>

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How to Relocate: A Step-by-Step Guide to Moving to Chattanooga

Even the thought of relocating to a new city can be overwhelming. I know, because my family moved to Chattanooga more than 25 years ago from a small town in eastern Kentucky called Ashland. When you’re moving to a new place, the best scenario is visiting several times before you move to get a sense of the schools, community, neighborhoods and environment where you want to put down roots. But thanks to technology and internet research, you can still learn a lot about a city – even if you can’t make repeated trips before you move.

To help you through this process – not to mention saving you time and money – we recommend this process to help you with relocating to Chattanooga or one of its surrounding communities.

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 Step 1 | Start with Research

 If you’re relocating to Chattanooga because of your job, the research on neighborhood options is less overwhelming. You’ll likely want to be within a specific driving distance from your employer. This is different for everyone – some people don’t mind a commute and others consider a long drive time a deal breaker, no matter how much they love a certain home or neighborhood. If you work from home, or are relocating to Chattanooga for retirement, your choices are much greater. Either way, we can help you home in on the right area.

 To get you started, visit our Chattanooga neighborhood guides that provide a high-level overview of the surrounding communities.

 If you have children, picking the right school is a big part of this decision. Click here for links to many of the region’s educational options.

Learn more about Chattanooga with our Government Resources page.

Chattanooga and neighborhood crime data can be found on City Insider. This website is a great way to stay in the know about what’s happening in local neighborhoods. 

 Even more information is available on our About Chattanooga page.

Step 2 | Connect with a Chattanooga Realtor

 When you’re learning about a new city, it’s important to find a realtor who knows the real estate market, the best and up and coming neighborhoods, and helps match your wants and needs to the right community. Even if you’re months (or even a year) from relocating to Chattanooga, connecting with someone you trust early helps streamline the process. You might not be ready to buy, but the right realtor can help direct your search based on your wants and needs.

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It’s good to remember that working with The Fuqua Group costs buyers nothing – it’s the sellers who pay realtor fees. By learning your price range and what type of home you’d like to ultimately buy, we can send properties your way that might work for you. And if you’re not ready to buy, this process will give you more information about the amount of home you can get in your price range.

If you’re interested to learn more about Chattanooga and the process of relocating, we’d like to hear from you. We’d be honored to work with you and learn more about your possible relocation. Call or text Cheryl Fuqua (423) 505-4880 or Brad Fuqua (423) 605-5167. You can also email us at Cheryl@cherylfuqua.com or Brad@bradleyfuqua.com.

Step 3 | Get Pre-Approved

It’s easy to miss this step in the relocation process. Talking with a mortgage broker early in the home buying or relocating process can help you determine the loan that’s right for you and your financial situation. There are also some important things you need to do (and a few you don’t!) that will help make the mortgage process go more smoothly.

We have relationships with several mortgage lenders we trust, and we’d be happy to connect you. Simply email us at cheryl@cherylfuqua.com or call or text (423) 505-4880, and we’ll gladly share their contact information.

Step 4 | Create a List of Your Needs, Wants and Extras

 Do you know what you want to find in a home in Chattanooga? Do school zones matter? Do you need to be closer to your job? Can you afford the same type of home in Chattanooga as in your previous city? Do you like living in a more rural or more metropolitan area? What’s great about Chattanooga is there are so many options – you’re sure to find the right home to suit your needs. Buy creating a list of must-haves, wants and extras, this helps your realtor uncover the home that really is right for you. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, we can help with that too!

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Step 5 | Make a Visit to Chattanooga

Once you’ve done your research on neighborhoods and home values, it’s time to see them for yourself! On your first trip to Chattanooga, our goal is to rule in and rule out the right community for you – not necessarily find the exact home for you. It’s when you’re seeing the communities with your own eyes that you can really determine the location that best fits your family. Taking time to scout out the area will be invaluable and give you greater peace of mind when you do decide to buy a home.

 During this visit, don’t forget to make time for exploring. Chattanooga is a wonderful city – with lots to see and do. Plan your trip with downtime included – catch a concert on the river, go for a hike or take one of our famous tourist attractions like Rock City or Ruby Falls. You can even catch a Lookouts game if you’re visiting in the summer. Once you get a taste of Chattanooga, you’ll see why we love it here so much!

 Chattanoogafun.com is a great start for finding interesting - and fun - activities for the whole family. We can also help with personal recommendations!

Step 6 | Find a Home – and Make the Move

Once you’ve seen the city for yourself, we can put you on a customized home search – that will only send you properties that are in the neighborhoods you love and meet your needs. When you do find the one that’s just right, we’ll guide you every step of the way through the negotiation and closing.

Nothing about that sounds easy, right? We understand that relocating to any new city sounds daunting. But take comfort that we’ve done this before and helped many families through the process of relocating to Chattanooga. We’d be thrilled to help you too!

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If you’re considering a move to Chattanooga, we’d love to talk. When you’re ready to reach out, call us at (423) 505-4880 to schedule a phone consultation. No matter how early you are in the process, we’re here when you need us!

Cheryl Fuqua, ABR, CRS | The Fuqua Group | KW Really

Don't Ruin a Sale with these 6 Buyer Turnoffs

Potential buyers are much more likely to return to a home that impresses them at first glance, while homes that appear disorderly or poorly maintained seldom sustain buyer interest. Check out these six problems your home may have that can instantly turn buyers off.

1.    Home Odors.  Because homeowners become desensitized to the odors in their homes, they rarely realize how obvious odors can be to visitors.  This is particularly true of pet owners and smokers. 

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2.    Carpet and Flooring.  One of the most visible areas of your home is your flooring.  If your carpet is worn or dirty, get it replaced or cleaned.  If you have vinyl flooring with corners coming up, get it glued down.  Special note:  Replacing flooring in smaller areas, such as kitchens, with high quality flooring can bring in premiums in price.

3.    Paint and Walls.  Paint is one of the least expensive ways to “spruce-up” your home.  Consider painting outside trim and interior walls and doors. 

4.    Clutter.  Excess clutter is a big buyer turn-off.  You have to move anyway, so you might as well pack away items that make your home feel good to you, but turn off buyers.  This includes nick-knacks, furniture, pictures, wall hangings, plants, etc.

5.    Signs of Pests.  If you have any sign of mice, rats, roaches, spiders, or bees, you should immediately contact a local pest control company and have them eliminated.  There’s no better way to show your home is filthy than by infestations.  Remove all spider webs with a broom.

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6.    Landscaping.  If your landscaping is messy, overgrown, or looks cluttered in any way, you need to fix it.  Buyers make positive or negative conclusions about your home within the first five minutes.  Don’t lose the battle before you’ve even begun.

 

Before you think of selling, give these areas a once over. The time spent will pay you back in $$$$. Are you interested to know what your home is worth in today’s market? If so, we’d like to offer a FREE right price assessment of your home - no strings, no obligations. If we can help you in any way, please let us know!

— Cheryl

(423) 505-4880
cheryl@cherylfuqua.com



44 Moneymaking Tips For Preparing Your Home To Sell

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Each year thousands of homeowners unnecessarily lose money when they sell their homes.  They don’t lose money because someone took advantage of them.  And they don’t lose money because it wasn’t “marketed” well. Even seasoned homeowners lose thousands of dollars because they didn’t know about the important factors that Influence the value of their homes. If you desire to sell your home for top dollar, and in your time frame, you need to do two things: 

1) Get control of your personal emotions about your home, and

2) Place yourself in the shoes of potential buyers.  Look at your home the way they would, and make it appealing in the right areas. 

I know that putting your “homeowner emotions” aside may be tough to do.  But doing so will help you to position your home to sell for top dollar, and in your time frame. After all, selling your home is very different from any other financial transaction.  Your house isn’t just a “thing.”  It’s your HOME!

It’s the place where you raised your children.  The place where you hold countless family memories…Thanksgiving dinners, family reunions, birthdays, anniversaries and more.  It’s the place where you solved problems over the kitchen table late at night. So it’s no surprise that selling your home may involve a bit of sadness, fear…or even excitement for the next move in your life.

Try not to let these emotions get in the way of a prudent sale. And there’s no doubt about it: first impressions count with buyers.  That’s why I prepared this list of 44 simple, quick, and inexpensive things you can do to prepare your home for sale. 

Exterior Of Your Home

Overall, buyers are looking for a home that looks clean, neat, and well-maintained.  By addressing exterior issues, you immediately give your buyers a positive “first impression.” 

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  • Tip #1: See your home through a buyer’s eyes. Get into your car and drive away from your home.  Drive towards your home the way a potential buyer would. Notice your first impressions of your home. Is the landscaping well groomed?  How about the driveway and curb?  Can you easily see the architecture of the home, or is it blocked by trees and bushes.  Notice your roof.  Is it in good condition?  Make a list of items that need attention.

  • Tip #2: Paint your front door and mailbox.  Polish your door and entry hardware.

  • Tip #3: Make sure your doorbell is functional.

  • Tip #4: Wash or thoroughly clean wood, aluminum, and vinyl sided homes. You can hire a contractor to pressure wash an entire house for about $200. Pressure washing can remove dirt, grime, peeling paint, and mildew.

  • Tip #5: Rake leaves, trim shrubbery and trees, cut the lawn, and plant a few new, fresh flowers.  Put down fresh mulch or peat moss around shrubs and flower beds.

  • Tip #6: Sweep and hose off the walkways and driveways. Pressure wash if necessary.

  • Tip #7: Clean the gutters and extend downspouts to prevent flooding or basement water seepage.

  • Tip #8: Organize the garage. Get rid of clutter by either putting it in boxes, or pack ahead of time and rent a storage locker for your garage belongings. Make sure you wash your car.

  • Tip #9: Check the locks of your home at the entry, back entry, and garage. Locks can give a first impression of a home that needs maintenance. And they’re the first thing a buyer sees.  A small dab of graphite will make them work like new.

  • Tip #10: Clean oil stains from your driveway and garage. This is best achieved by using poultice with Portland cement.  Scrub with a detergent and rinse. Clean rust stains beneath rails.

  • Tip #11: Clean up any litter in the yard or walkways. Remove any leaves or debris in the yard or walkways. 

  • Tip #12: Touch-up the paint on the exterior of the home if necessary. In some cases, it pays to repaint the entire exterior if it hasn’t received a coat of paint in years. Hardwood trim on the exterior of the home can make or break its appearance. Make sure it looks clean.

  • Tip #13: Look for any cracks in exterior plaster, and make sure they’re fixed and repainted to match exterior paint.

Interior of Your Home

There’s a little known secret about home buyers that you need to know.  People buy homes based on the emotional FEELINGS they get from the home.  They fall in love, for example, with the kitchen or the master bedroom.  Or perhaps the roaring fire in the family room fireplace touched off an old memory.

 And while they’re viewing your home, they’re visualizing in their mind’s eye what it would be like to live there – the backyard barbecues they’ll host…Sunday dinners with family…college graduation celebrations of their children.  Or simply relaxing in the backyard hammock. It’s all about emotions.  And if your home doesn’t feel right, you will quickly lose interest from buyers.

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 So remember this: Purchase decisions are EMOTIONAL.  Once a decision to buy is made, we usually justify our purchase with logical reasons. By dressing the interior of your home right, you’ll encourage your buyers to stay.  People buy with their eyes, ears and noses, and the longer they stay in your home, the greater the likelihood of an offer.

Here are 18 interior tips to help you “dress” the interior of your house so it feels like home to your buyers.

  •  Tip #14: The entry way sets first impressions. So make sure it’s in great condition with fresh paint and clean floors.  If the entry tile floor has build-up, consider using a commercial stripper and re-waxing.

  • Tip #15: Clear out about one-third to one-half of your furniture. You want your home to look uncluttered and the rooms to feel open and bright. The average home has too much furniture for showing, and you need to move anyhow.  So you might as well pack away any furniture that clutters any rooms in the home.

  • Tip #16: Put away nick-knacks and items that make the home look overly personal to YOU. You do not want your buyer feeling that they would never fit in the home because it has so many of your personal items in it. Put away cluttered photos and other objects that will detract away from the home.

  • Tip #17: Do a thorough interior maintenance review.  Oil squeaky doors, tighten doorknobs, clean and repair ALL windows, and repair leaking taps and toilets.  Look for chipped paint and cracked plaster or drywall that needs repairing.

  • Tip #18: It is a good idea to have all windows professionally washed.  And clean all window shades and blinds. 

  • Tip #19: Replace all burned-out light bulbs and clean lighting fixtures.

  • Tip #20: GIVE YOUR HOME A SPACIOUS LOOK.  If you’ve ever toured a model home, you’ve noticed that the home is spacious and bright.  Make your home look the same by: 1) Clear out stairs and halls of clutter and excess furniture, 2) Clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, and 3) Make closets and storage areas neat and tidy.

  • Tip #21: Make sure your home is clean by doing the following:  1) Shampoo carpets, 2) Clean washer, dryer, and laundry tubs, 3) Clean the furnace, 4) Clean the refrigerator and stove, 5) Clean and freshen the bathrooms.  Hire a professional cleaning service if needed.  The money you spend on these areas will come back to you in purchase price.

  • Tip #22: Wax or polish floors, and glue down any seams if you have vinyl flooring.

  • Tip #23: Make sure windows and doors operate properly and lubricate closet door tracks with a silicon spray.

  • Tip #24:  Glue loose wallpaper seams and remove soiled wallpaper.

  • Tip #25: Clean around fireplaces and remove ashes.

  • Tip #26: Organize all closets, pack up unnecessary items for storage, and put all toys away.

  • Tip #27Make sure all beds are made, bedrooms are neat and clean, and laundry is clean and folded.

  • Tip #28:  Consider holding a yard sale BEFORE you place your home on the market to get rid of excess items that can make your home look cluttered or small.

Bathrooms and kitchen are some of the most influential areas of a home.  Spending a small amount of money in these areas frequently nets owners many times their investment.  Here are a few suggestions for each.

  •  Tip #29:  Your Bathrooms.  Repair loose tiles.  Remove loose grout using a grout file, and apply new grout.  Faded tile colors can be improved using an epoxy spray.  Remove old tub and tile caulking with a hooked scraper, install new white silicone tub, and tile caulk.  Concentrate on areas such as counter corners, shower corners, and base of toilet.  Clean mildewed caulk.  Old tubs can often be sprayed with an epoxy coating.  Remove all soap scum and dirt build-up.  Clean glass doors with vinegar, and replace badly soiled shower curtains.  Don’t forget to vacuum exhaust fans.

  • Tip #30: Your Kitchen.  Clean ovens thoroughly.  Clean cook tops and exhaust fans.  Remember to clean behind your appliances.  Double-check all burners to make sure they’re working.  Defrost freezers, and thoroughly clean the interior of your refrigerator.  Remove mold from refrigerator gaskets.  Empty the water collection tray under the refrigerator.  Neatly arrange soaps and cleaning accessories.  Thoroughly wash fronts of cabinets.  Cover counter burns with ceramic tile or heat resistant glass.  Make sure all handles are securely in place.  Install new shelf and drawer liners.

  • Tip # 31: Save your receipts.  If you need to make substantial repairs to your home, save the receipts in a manila envelope.  This will show what has been updated in the home.

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How To Show Your Home For Maximum Profit

 There’s a right way to show a home…and a wrong way. Many homeowners lose money or turn-off buyers because they simply didn’t know how to handle a home showing. Here are 13 tips that will help you show your home for maximum profit:

  • Tip #32:  Save those receipts. If you completed any substantial work on your home, save the receipts and ONLY take them out if someone questions the value of the work performed (in the negotiating process). Many times extra work will increase the value of your home beyond your costs.  So only use the receipts if you need support to justify the work.

  • Tip #33: Save those utility bills.  Buyers frequently have questions about utility costs of owning a home.  If you have past utility bills, you will greatly increase your credibility and help provide precise answers to important questions.  Save electric, gas, water, oil, sewage, and waste management bills. 

  • Tip #34:  Go away during organized showings.  Three’s a crowd when your home is being shown.  The only exception to this rule is if you have specific knowledge about features of the home a Realtor cannot answer.  But in most cases, don’t stay.

  • Tip #35:  Turn on ALL lights.  Illumination is like a welcome sign. 

  • Tip #36: Open all drapery and bring in as much natural light as possible.  Buyers hate dark homes.  Anything you can do to brighten your home will help.

  • Tip #37:  Turn off any radios and TV’s.  Turn off the football game.  Tell the kids that the loud music will need a reprieve while the home is being shown.  Occasionally very soft, background music can enhance a showing.  But generally, no music at all is your best bet. 

  • Tip #38: Plan a pleasant aroma.  Cinnamon sticks or vanilla boiled in a pot of water on the stove emit pleasant aromas and make a home smell inviting.  Apple and cherry wood smoldering in a fireplace do the same.  And who can resist the smell of apple pie or fresh bread baking in the kitchen.  Often, these pleasant smells can override other odors your home may have.

  • Tip #39: Keep pets out of the home during showings.  It’s best to keep them out of the home for an entire day before an open house.

  • Tip #40:  Do NOT volunteer conversation.  Be courteous but don’t force conversation with a potential buyer.  They want to inspect your home, not make a social call.

  • Tip #41:  Stay positive:  Never apologize for the appearance of your home.  Let the showing Realtor answer any objections – they’re trained to know how.

  • Tip #42:  DO NOT Tag Along.  It makes buyers fearful and uncomfortable.  The showing Realtor knows the buyer’s requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home.  They will call you if needed.

  • Tip #43:  Never negotiate during a showing.  Let your Realtor discuss price, terms, possessions, and other items with any potential buyers.  If any negotiations arise prior to an offer, politely request the buyer to submit an offer and you can consider it.

  • Tip #44:  Protect  Your Largest Investment by getting REALTOR® Representation

 

Is there anything here I missed? What other areas of your home might need attention? I’d love to know in the comments. And if you have questions, please call or text. We’d love to talk with you.

—Cheryl (423) 505-4880 or Brad (423) 605-5167

 

A Stress-Free Move: Making Moving Day Go Smoothly for Your Dog

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Relocating to a new home is always a stressful experience. In all the chaos and anxiety of preparing for a move, pet owners are apt to forget that being uprooted and moved to unfamiliar surroundings is also stressful for dogs. All the objects, sights, and smells of home gradually give way to confusion and fear. Dogs also sense and reflect their owner’s uneasiness and may react in unpredictable ways if an owner is agitated, which can make moving day even more stressful.

Bear in mind that taking care of your dog on moving day is not only good for your pet, but for you and your family as well. It gives everyone one less thing to worry about and one less uncertainty. The last thing you want on moving day is to worry about your dog getting upset and running away. Besides, your dog is a member of the family and, as such, deserves emotional support just like anyone else. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help make moving day go smoothly for you and your furry friend.

Keep it normal

One of the biggest favors you can do for your pooch is to keep everything as normal as possible leading up to moving day. Don’t change his feeding schedule or forget to take him for a walk at the usual time. Dogs can sense when things are out of whack, especially when their surroundings are gradually altered one piece of furniture at a time. If your dog has a space or room that’s his, keep his water and food dish in place as well as his toys, blanket, and other familiar objects. The key is to keep things as close to normal as possible.

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Take time out for your dog

Moving means you’ll be busy with all kinds of responsibilities like packing, decluttering, and taking care of details like switching your kids’ schools, changing your address, hiring movers, and much more. In all the hubbub and upset of moving, it can be easy to overlook your pet’s needs. Take time out for a walk or play fetch or tug of war. Your dog needs your attention from time to time, especially when you’re busy. Don’t neglect him.

Let the movers know

Some movers have rules about allowing dogs to be on the premises while they’re trying to move your belongings. If you’re hiring professional movers, make sure they know if a dog will be around while they’re loading your belongings. Also, make sure they know that you’ll keep your dog out of the way while they’re doing their work. One very good way to keep things from getting out of hand on moving day is to board your dog or turn him over to a dog walker. Your pet will get excellent care and the opportunity to play with other dogs while your belongings are being loaded and moved. Doggy day care is an increasingly popular option for dog owners who have to be away at work during the week and want their pooches entertained and taken care of every day. It’s also a great way to keep your pup happy on moving day.

Don’t forget about you

Although you want to take very good care of your pet during this stressful time, it’s also important to remember to take good care of yourself. After all, you can’t look after your pooch if you’re too stressed to provide plenty of love and attention. One way to keep your anxiety and stress under control is to get your home move-in ready before you get settled in. Take some time to clean the home — really deep clean those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies — and make any slight modifications before unpacking. Also, to help prevent pet hair and dander from taking over your new space, consider picking up an air filter that addresses these pet-related issues. There are many on the market these days, so take a moment to check out what’s good and what’s not.

Acclimating

Be patient with your dog once you’re all moved in. Just like you and your family, he’ll need some time to get used to his surroundings. If possible, keep his favorite toys and eating area in the same general place as before (such as the laundry room). Make sure his tags are up to date and, if possible, have him microchipped just in case he runs away. After the movers are done unloading your belongings, go for a walk around the perimeter of your new property so your dog can get familiar with his new home.

Don’t overlook your dog’s needs when moving day arrives. He’ll need your presence and assurance as his living environment is radically altered overnight. A little tender care can go a long way toward making the move less disruptive and frightening.

Thank you to Cindy Aldridge of Ourdogfriends.org for submitting this blog post. Photos courtesy of Pexels.

The Ultimate Guide to Buying & Selling Homes - Now Available for Purchase!

We have a very exciting announcement!

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Brad and I have co-authored a new book called “The Ultimate Guide to Buying and Selling Homes!” The publisher of this book reached out to experienced real estate professionals across the country, bringing together some of the most effective and innovative strategies for buying and selling in specific markets. We are thrilled and honored to be part of this unique venture, and we owe so much gratitude to our friends, family, clients and colleagues who have helped us build our business. We don’t take lightly the opportunity to serve you. A special thanks also goes to Kevin Blair with The BlairSmiles Team-Element Funding who helped make this project possible.

The eBook edition has just been published and there’s a special launch price of only $.99 through Tuesday, February 12th. After Tuesday, the price will go up to $7.99 for the digital version. The paperback edition is also coming soon! And if you feel led to do so, please share with your family and friends!

You can learn more about the book here: http://bit.ly/TheUltimateGuidetoBuyingandSellingHomes

This Month in Real Estate - Dec 2018

CHATTANOOGA HOME SALES

Chattanooga (January 20, 2019) - Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced levels compared to recent years. High demand for few homes for sale fueled price increases, but evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019. This may apply some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers. A fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to close out the year. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019 will be halved, which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer. More >>>>

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NATIONAL HOME SALES

Existing-Home Sales See 6.4 Percent Drop in December

WASHINGTON (January 22, 2019)– After two consecutive months of increases, existing-home sales declined in the month of December, according to the National Association of Realtors®. None of the four major U.S. regions saw a gain in sales activity last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says current housing numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018. “The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates. Softer sales in December reflected consumer search processes and contract signing activity in previous months when mortgage rates were higher than today. Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring.” More >>>>

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If you’re interested in buying or selling a home or development property, we’d love to help. Please reach out for any questions or to learn more about the process. We’re here as a resource for you!

Cheryl Fuqua, ABR, CRS
(423) 505-4880
Cheryl@cherylfuqua.com

Brad Fuqua, Broker
(423) 605-5167
Brad@bradleyfuqua.com

This Month in Real Estate - October 2018

Chattanooga (November 21, 2018) - If the last few months are an indication of the temperature of housing markets across the country, a period of relative calm can be expected during the last three months of the year. A trend of market balance is emerging as we approach the end of 2018. Prices are still rising in most areas, and the number of homes for sale is still low, but there is a general shrinking of year-over-year percentage change gaps in sales, inventory and prices. More.

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NATIONAL HOME SALES - OCTOBER 2018

Existing-Home Sales Increase for the First Time in Six Months
WASHINGTON (November 21 19, 2018) – Existing-home sales increased in October after six straight months of decreases, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of four major U.S. regions saw gains in sales activity last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says increasing housing inventory has brought more buyers to the market. “After six consecutive months of decline, buyers are finally stepping back into the housing market,” he said. “Gains in the Northeast, South and West – a reversal from last month’s steep decline or plateau in all regions – helped overall sales activity rise for the first time since March 2018.” Click here for Fuqua Group’s National Housing Statistics Report for October 2018.

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Looking to buy or sell a home in the Chattanooga or north Georgia area? We can help. Call today for more information on the home buying process or for a free right-price analysis of your home. No obligations. We’d love to hear from you.

Cheryl Fuqua, ABR, CRS
(423) 505-4880

Brad Fuqua, Broker
(423) 605-5167

Christmas Lights In Chattanooga

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It’s Christmas time in Chattanooga! There are so many ways to share the love and celebrate the season. If you’re looking to see some beautiful twinkling nights, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list (and map!) of the best places to see the sights!

Rock City Garden of Lights  

NOVEMBER 16 – DECEMBER 31
5 – 9pm (last ticket sold 9pm)
Closed Christmas Eve Night

Weekend Prices: Adults $24.95; Children (ages 3-12) $12.95 
Weekday Prices: Adults $21.95 Children (ages 3-12) $11.95 

Ruby Falls Christmas Underground  

DECEMBER 1 – 9 (Thursdays to Sundays)
DECEMBER 13 – 23 – Daily

Noon – 8pm

Adults $16.95 per person; (2 & Under) FREE

Ticket price includes all Christmas Underground activities, digital photo with Santa, a keepsake geode, and special surprises! 

Hilltop Christmas 

EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 22 | 6:30 – 10:30pm

Adults $15; Children (4-9) $8; Children (3 and under) FREE

Ice on the Landing @ The Choo Choo 

EVERY DAY FROM NOVEMBER 16-JANUARY 21 | 6:30 – 10:30pm

Adults $10; Children 12-under $8 
Admission price includes skate rental

Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo

DECEMBER 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22
 | 5:30 – 8pm


Adults: $12; Children: $8; Children (2 and under) FREE

Chattanooga Zoo members receive 50% off purchase of admission.


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This Month in Real Estate - September 2018

CHATTANOOGA HOME SALES - SEPTEMBER 2018

Chattanooga (October 17, 2018) - Some economy observers are pointing to 2018 as the final period in a long string of sentences touting several happy years of buyer demand and sales excitement for the housing industry. Although residential real estate should continue along a mostly positive line for the rest of the year, rising prices and interest rates coupled with salary stagnation and a generational trend toward home purchase delay or even disinterest could create an environment of declining sales. More.

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NATIONAL HOME SALES - September 2018

Existing-Home Sales Decline Across the Country in September
WASHINGTON (October 19, 2018) – Existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions of the country. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.” More in-depth details here.

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If you’re looking for a home, check out our FEATURED PROPERTIES. Have a great week!

—Cheryl

Making a Move - Without Losing Your Mind

Moving. Everybody hates doing it. And they often forget how bad it is from one time to the next! But I’ve learned a few tips through the years to help people make the most of their move – and not lose their minds in the process. Some of these are overall guidelines, and some are practical tips. I hope something here will make the act of moving a little faster and a little better so you can get on to enjoying your new home!

These are my best moving tips to help you streamline the process!

Break it down into manageable tasks. 
Create a list of every task that must be done before the move. Check off items as they’re completed, and pack room by room. Crossing items off your list and packing one room at a time can make the feat seem manageable.

Declutter as you go.
That shirt you haven’t worn in two years? Gone. The nail polish that’s a little thick but you might wear it again? Gone. Old sheets and ragged towels? Gone. Remember that space in your attic or basement that you haven’t been into for months (or years)? You can pack these items first because they’ll likely not be missed for a few weeks.

 The more you declutter before you move – or better yet, when you put your house on the market to sell – the easier it will be put everything into its new place. A garage sale or trip to Goodwill can also make a move much easier. If your family has a hard time deciding what stays, have each person choose a certain number of items that must be left behind. You’ll thank yourself when you’re starting fresh and trying to get organized.  

Prep a survival kit.
Put your essentials into a small suitcase to get you from point A to point B – including cleaning supplies, box cutters, first aid kit, toilet paper – anything you want to keep on hand. This is also a good place to keep valuables like laptops, jewelry and important paperwork. Because it’s hard on kids during a move, have them pack a small bag with their favorite toys and books.

Pack the right way.
How you load the truck can impact how quickly you can get things set up and working properly. Begin by writing the contents of each box on the side, not the top. This will make it easier to identify where boxes need to go. Load the truck in this order: furniture other than beds, boxes heaviest to lightest, kitchen items, mattresses and bed rails.

Set up the bed first.
You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to crash after a long day. Then focus on your kitchen – the hub of activity and normalcy for most families. After that, work from room to room instead doing everything at once. This will keep the chaos contained to a few areas.  

Don’t expect it to be stress free!
Uprooting your life and touching every belonging you have is going to bring up some feelings, some good and some bad. That’s why it’s important to keep your sleep routine going, keep healthy snacks for the family on hand, and ask your friends and family to help pitch in during the move. You can return the favor when you’re settled in your new place. And remember, some of the best family memories come when you all work together to get a job done. Happy moving!

For the best places to buy moving supplies, visit realsimple.com/moving.

If you’re thinking about a move, would you consider letting us help you? We work hard for our clients, and we will work hard for you. Please let us know if there’s any way we can help you.

 

Cheryl

 

 

Downsizing is Actually Rightsizing!

There comes a time when most everyone re-evaluates their lifestyle. This can be for several reasons, but cost, up keep and health care-related issues are usually at the top of the list. And for many people, the big house with the pool or one that requires a lot of lawn maintenance isn’t as important – or as needed – as it once was. What’s more, the costs of owning and keeping a property can add up to thousands of dollars each year.

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Even still, the thought of moving out of the family home can be difficult for homeowners and grown children, too. But downsizing doesn’t have to be about losing things – it’s about freedom and independence.

When you think about downsizing to condo living, independent living communities or assisted living communities, it can mean breaking free of financial burdens often associated with things or services that aren’t serving you well anymore. Imagine cutting these costs and keeping that extra cash in the bank! You could even put that money toward services to make your life easier – like laundry, housekeeping or eating out more frequently with friends.  

When it’s time to move to a smaller and more customized space, I encourage my clients think about the positive – fewer bills, less responsibility and reduced liability. When you ‘rightsize’ you have more options – and more cash.  

If you’re thinking that your large family home – that once suited your family’s needs perfectly – is no longer meeting your needs, we’re here to help you consider the options, not fear them. There are many ways of downsizing that don’t include selling everything you hold dear to fit into a one-bedroom apartment.

It’s been a privilege for me to work with families – sometimes for several years – as they go through the process of deciding to move, finding the best new place, and then selling their existing home. It can be emotional, but it’s also really rewarding.

Are you thinking about making a change? If so, we’re here to help you find affordable options that fit your life now, create savings in fees, taxes, upkeep and liability, and provide peace of mind. What could be more relaxing than that?

Cheryl

This Month in Real Estate - April 2018

Chattanooga Home Sales

Chattanooga (May 18, 2018) - Many sellers and builders are in a good position for financial gains, as the economy continues to favor putting existing homes on the market and building new homes for sale. We are finally beginning to see some upward movement in new listings after at least two years of a positive outlook. There may not be massive increases in inventory from week to week, but a longer-term trend toward more new listings would be a good sign. Low inventory should continue to create a competitive situation for buyers, causing price increases over the next several months. Learn more >>>>

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WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) – After moving upward for two straight months, existing-home sales retreated in April on both a monthly and annualized basis, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity last month.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says this spring’s staggeringly low inventory levels caused existing sales to slump in April. “The root cause of the under performing sales activity in much of the country so far this year continues to be the utter lack of available listings on the market to meet the strong demand for buying a home,” he said. “Realtors® say the healthy economy and job market are keeping buyers in the market for now even as they face rising mortgage rates. However, inventory shortages are even worse than in recent years, and home prices keep climbing above what many home shoppers are able to afford.” More >>>>

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If you're interested in buying or selling (or what your home may be worth in this market), please give us a call to scheduled a no-obligation meeting at (423) 505-4880. We're glad to answer any questions or provide information you can use to make the best real estate decisions. 

-- Cheryl 

This Month in Real Estate - March 2018

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Chattanooga Home Sales 

Chattanooga (April 20, 2018) - New residential real estate activity has been relatively slow in the first quarter of 2018, yet housing is proving its resiliency in a consistently improving economy. Some markets have had increases in signed contracts, but the vast majority of the nation continues to experience fewer closed sales and lower inventory compared to last year at this time. Despite there being fewer homes for sale, buyer demand has remained strong enough to keep prices on the rise, which should continue for the foreseeable future. More >>>

NATIONAL HOME SALES
Existing-Home Sales Climb 1.1 Percent in March

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Existing-home sales grew for the second consecutive month in March, but lagging inventory levels and affordability constraints kept sales activity below year ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings in March eked forward despite challenging market conditions in most of the country. "Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million," said Yun. "The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford." More >>>

Do you have any questions about the ever-changing real estate market in Chattanooga or the surrounding area? I'd be glad to connect with you. Call, text or email at (423) 505-4880 or Cheryl@cherylfuqua.com. 

Cheryl  

CHATTANOOGA HOME SALES - February 2018

Chattanooga (March 16, 2018) - The three most prominent national market trends for residential real estate are the ongoing lack of abundant inventory, the steadily upward movement of home prices and year-over-year declines in home sales. Sales declines are a natural result of there being fewer homes for sale, but higher prices often indicate higher demand leading to competitive bidding. Markets are poised for increased supply, so there is hope that more sellers will take advantage of what appears to be a ready and willing buyer base. MORE> 

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National Home Sales - Existing Home Sales Rebound 3% in February 

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2018) – Despite consistently low inventory levels and faster price growth, existing-home sales bounced back in February after two straight months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sizeable sales increases in the South and West offset declines in the Northeast and Midwest.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales were uneven across the country in February but did increase nicely overall. “A big jump in existing sales in the South and West last month helped the housing market recover from a two-month sales slump,” he said. “The very healthy U.S. economy and labor market are creating a sizable interest in buying a home in early 2018. However, even as seasonal inventory gains helped boost sales last month, home prices – especially in the West – shot up considerably. Affordability continues to be a pressing issue because new and existing housing supply is still severely subpar.” MORE >

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It's more than selling houses.

Every once in a while, there's a transaction and closing that make us realize why we do what we do. Real estate can be hard and be challenging at times, but then, there is this one. Eva and her husband custom built their beautiful home a few years ago and intended to stay there forever. He passed away and after a while, she knew it was time to live closer to her family. 

Tim had been looking for the perfect home for almost two years so he could live close to his family, and it was the perfect fit! So our closing was filled with joy and sadness, but Eva can rest well knowing her home will be loved and cared for just like she and her husband did!  Tim will retire in a month or so and make his life here in Chattanooga. I'm so grateful for opportunities like this that remind me of how doing real estate is so much more than selling houses. 

Can we help you? It would be our pleasure!

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We love referrals!

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It was such a pleasure helping Leslie with the sale of her home. She is a strong, resourceful lady and I truly admire her. I wish her well as she heads back home to St. Louis to join her family there. 

Sweet Boomer was nervous about staying in the packed car during closing, so our great friends at Title Guaranty and Trust welcomed him right in!   We love how they take care of Brad and I and our clients.

Thanks to Teresa Clegg for bringing such a great buyer, and thanks to Jody Sauls for the referral. I love referrals and can't thank you enough.