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. 


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.


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

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


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.


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.


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 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:

This Month in Real Estate - Dec 2018


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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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

Brad Fuqua, Broker
(423) 605-5167

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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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  

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 


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.


This Month in Real Estate - 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!


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

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.





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.


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?


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 >>>

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 



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!


We love referrals!


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. 

Another Home Sold by Fuqua Group!

It was so great helping Derrick & Kourtney Smith sell their home and move on to their next adventure. It's really fun to house hunt with couples who know their style and want something unique. Your new home really is out of this world! We can't wait to see how you make it your own. Congratulations!

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Simple Tips to Take the Stress Out of Moving

From choosing the perfect realtor to finding the ideal home and packing everything you own into cardboard boxes, moving can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you're changing cities and looking to start your life fresh, or you simply want to move up in the world to a bigger home, getting all your important possessions from one place to another can be difficult.

The good news is that if you're worried about the stresses associated with moving, there are a few things you can do to avoid tearing your hair out over the next few months. Here are our simple tips for taking the stress out of the moving process.

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1.     Start Packing as Soon as Possible

Nobody really enjoys packing, but that doesn't mean that you should leave the job until the last minute. Ideally, you'll want to start packing several weeks before you move, so you don't end up rushing around looking for bubble wrap the day before moving day.

The earlier you start packing the easier it will be for you to start purging and removing items you don't want or need to take with you. Instead of hoarding items that you don't really care about anymore, make sure that you're selective with your packing choices.

2.     Make Lists and Labels

Sometimes, the easiest way to ensure an easy move is to be as organized as possible. Labels and lists, either on your smartphone or written out by hand can be a great way to keep track of the things that matter most to you during the move.

Grab a permanent marker while you're filling boxes and remember to label everything with in-depth information that will be useful later. Rather than just writing "bedroom", try something like "bedroom: blankets and cushions."

3.     Ask for Help

Sometimes, asking for help isn't easy - particularly when you know other people in your social circle are busy living their own lives. However, if you're thinking of relocating to a new town, asking for help might be a great way to have a few fun final moments with the people close-by before you go somewhere new.

Spending time together before a big move can be a great way to get some closure, even if you plan to come back and visit friends and family as often as possible.

4.     Say Goodbye

While moving home can be a fast-paced and stressful process in any set of circumstances, it becomes particularly overwhelming when you're moving somewhere new. For instance, if you're thinking of moving to Tennessee, then it might be worth sitting down with friends and family and showing them pictures of where you're going to live.

While you're "saying goodbye", you can also plan ways to visit each other in the future. Look for flights and transportation and make plans on when you're going to meet up again next. This can make the transition feel much less upsetting.

5.     Look After Yourself

Finally, remember that no matter what you do, moving is always going to be one of the most stressful experiences a person can face. With that in mind, it's important to spend time looking after yourself and giving your family the care they need. Get plenty of restful sleep, and make sure that you don't skip meals and live on energy drinks instead.

Thanks so much to Bellhops for guest writing this post.



Home Conditioning Checklist

The flowers are blooming and sky is finally blue! If you're like me, these are my signals for a top to bottom cleaning and organizing session. If you're thinking about selling your home in the coming months - or even if you're not - this checklist can help you get your home clean and ready for the year ahead! 


Trim lawn, shrubs, trees, and around sidewalks
Put away bikes, toys, tools
Clean or paint front door
Place a pot of flowers next to the door
Fix the doorbell
Keep walks clear of ice, snow, leaves
Replace burnt out light bulbs

Throughout the House
Shampoo carpets, wax floors
Wash windows, clean blinds
Create space. Scale down collectibles and family photos
Organize closets and cupboards
Pack and store unused items
Remove bugs and cobwebs from light fixtures and corners of rooms
Wash and touch up paint as needed on doors and walls, particularly knobs and switches

Keep countertops clear
Polish appliances, do not use refrigerator as a bulletin board
Clean the oven and degrease the fan hood
Clean and organize cabinets
Keep the sink and faucet shining

Brighten the walls and floors with paint
Clean the outside of the water heater and furnace, replace furnace filter
Put in bright overhead lights

Make Repairs
Replace washers on leaky faucets
Oil squeaky hinges, nail down squeaky floor boards and steps
Wax sticky drawers
Put sliding doors on track
Replace broken windows
Replace torn screens

Living Areas
Keep drapes and blinds open
Arrange furniture to maximize space and flow of traffic
Hang a mirror where it will reflect outdoor light to add dimension
Remove ashes from the fireplace; set logs in the winter, place green or flowering plant on the hearth in the summer

Polish fixtures and mirrors
Wash the shower curtain
Repair, caulk, and clean grout
Hang towels neatly
Put away cosmetics and hair appliances
Keep the toilet clean and the lid down

Sweep the floor, clean oil stains left from cars
Remove cobwebs
Hang tools or place them on shelves
Replace bulbs, make sure electronic garage door opener works

This Month in Real Estate - October 2017 Details

For residential real estate in 2017, the news has continued to provide a relative sense of calm for both buyers and sellers. The national unemployment rate registered in at 4.1 percent for October 2017, which means that joblessness has not been this low in the U.S. since December 2000. Another positive, mortgage rates have held steady at or near 3.9 percent. Historically, the average rate has been around 6.0 percent. These factors help to keep the pool of potential buyers full, even during the so-called off-season of home sales. Read more here. 


Existing-Home Sales Grow 2.0 Percent in October

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2017) – Existing-home sales increased in October to their strongest pace since earlier this summer, but continual supply shortages led to fewer closings on an annual basis for the second straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors®.


Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity in October picked up for the second straight month, with increases in all four major regions. "Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home," he said. "While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated." 

Added Yun, "The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida. However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms." More.

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