Working Out New Options

Good morning to you!  I am still hammering out ways to expand the options for those who enjoy saving thousands of dollars, while selling their home through Martin Properties.  Here are some that I am working on currently…

For those who want/need to save the commission on the sale of their house.
1. FSBO – Credit card, low fee, no listing commission
2. FSBO, Mostly – smaller up-front fee, your show you own house, we do the negotiation & paperwork.
3. FSBO, Financed – even less up front fee.
4. FSBM – no up-front fee at all!
For details, please call or text Don Martin, Martin Properties (615) 973-8970

In 2012, we are going to do things a good bit differently at Martin Properties, a concept I will begin explaining even more in the next week or two.

Thank you for your patience.

Good luck for now! Get to work if you want it to happen. Call me if you want to talk. Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor. Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES 973-8970

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

One Two One Two

Hello, and Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s 1-2-12! And, mirabile dictu, one of my resolutions is to do better on this blog. I would be hard-pressed to do worse.

In 2012, we are going to do things a bit differently at Martin Properties, a concept I will begin explaining in the next day or two.

Thank you for your patience.

Good luck for now! Get to work if you want it to happen. Call me if you want to talk. Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor. Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES 973-8970

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

St. Joseph is in my landscaping.

I work with a lot of people in the course of my week, many of them home-sellers, and in fact, many of them do-it-yourselfers.  They sell their homes For-Sale-By-Owner, and they bring to the table all manner of beliefs.  One of the stranger I have seen is the practice of burying an artifact close to the subject house.  I recently ran across the following explanation by T. Nelson, who works with Trulia.com and Inman News.

Q: Does burying a statue of St. Joseph in your front yard really help in getting your house sold?

A: As I see it, this is one of those Catch-22-type questions. If I tell you that I think the statue-burying rigmarole is ridiculous, and you don’t do it, and your house doesn’t sell, you’ll be upset and always wonder whether it would have sold if you’d just buried the statue.

If I tell you I absolutely believe in this age-old custom, and you do it, and your house still doesn’t sell, you’ll be upset.

Lest others read this and wonder what on earth your question is about, I should point out that many thousands of home sellers and their brokers and agents believe steadfastly that burying a small statue of St. Joseph — Jesus’ father and the Catholic saint of home and family — in the yard of a hard-to-sell property is a surefire strategy for getting the home off the market. (It should be noted, too, that some view the practice as sacrilegious or purely superstitious.)

The burial routine that’s supposed to be followed has a multitude of variations. I’ve heard people say it doesn’t work unless you bury Joseph upside down in the front yard, or precisely 12 inches below the surface, or by the for-sale sign, or facing the house, or facing away from the house.

And while I am a devoutly religious person, myself, I suspect that your best bet, if you’re even thinking about burying a statuette, is to just do it (if for no other reason than to avoid regretting that you didn’t do it) — but not to stop there.

My educated opinion on the matter is that the best practice for using a St. Joseph’s statue to get your home sold is to combine it with a purge of all clutter from your home, a detailed home-staging exercise (including a big effort around creating curb appeal and refreshing the inside — from paint to flooring) and — most important, a list-price reduction, if your home has been on the market for awhile, with no bites.

This is likely not what you really wanted to hear, but I have seen, time and time again, a price reduction (or several) precipitate the end result of a lagging home finally selling — even without burying Joseph in the yard.

I am not a superstitious person, but I do strongly believe that God helps those who help themselves. When it comes to selling homes, I have seen that many sellers, by the time they are motivated or even desperate enough to buy and bury a statue, are also motivated enough to reduce the price, uplevel their home’s aesthetics, and correct the other issues that were keeping buyers from biting.

Some will say that it is these other changes that St. Joseph-burying sellers tend to make at or near the same time as they put the statue in the ground that actually caused the house to move — not the statue itself. But, I say, if you want or need to bury a statue for peace of mind, go for it — it probably can’t hurt. Just don’t neglect what we know works — and that’s staging, primping and price-cutting.

(Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. )

Do any of you have your own peculiar traditions (keeping in mind this is a family site,) or have you heard of any?  If you use a full-service Realtor to sell your house, does it become the Realtor’s responsibility to bury the statue?  I make a living helping people answer some of these esoteric questions, so don’t hold back.

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

Five Renovations that are Cheaper in the Summer

Hello again!

If you are planning to get your home ready to put it on the market this fall, you may be in luck.  There are some projects that will cost you less to have done if you do so in the summer.  Investopedia had this to say recently.  (By Michael Sanibel)

Depending on where you live and the local climate, the summer months can be an ideal time to do home renovations, especially if outdoor work is involved.

There are several reasons to consider summer renovations:

• Contractors often are more willing to work during the summer
• Greater availability of less-expensive labor
• You may be able to negotiate a better deal
• Many other people won’t schedule renovations while kids are out of school
• Many others won’t schedule renovations due to conflicts with vacations and family trips
• Many others schedule renovations in the fall to beat the winter weather and holidays.

Here are ideas for projects that can be completed more efficiently in the summer and may save you time and money along the way:

Driveway paving

If you have an asphalt driveway that’s loaded with patches of grass growing through the cracks, summer is the best season to have it redone. The main reason is that asphalt is much easier to work with in higher temperatures, so you can avoid problems and additional costs by doing it right the first time.

Creating a smooth asphalt surface requires time and high temperatures to prevent the material from prematurely hardening. The lower the temperature dips, the less time the contractor will have to evenly spread the asphalt to form a level surface. Otherwise, you may be left with an irregular surface with bumps and valleys.

Kitchen

If you plan to gut your kitchen and do a complete remodel, you may be faced with eating in restaurants until the work is finished. Since that can get expensive, another alternative is to cook outdoors. If you have a grill and burner, you’ve already got what you need to cook a majority of your meals.

Move your refrigerator to another room or into the garage. Use paper or plastic plates and utensils if you don’t have access to your kitchen sink or dishwasher. If you’ve ever considered adding an outdoor kitchen, this would be the time to do it. It will add to your enjoyment of the outdoors once your inside kitchen is completed.

Prepare for your kitchen remodel early in the year, after the holidays. Once you have a plan, purchase the materials that you will need. Many retailers conduct some of their best sales in January and February to clear out their unsold Christmas inventories. It’s a good time to buy appliances, tile, fixtures, lighting and new cabinetry. If any of your items require special ordering, this will ensure that everything arrives in time for the work to begin on schedule. You’ll also get more attention from design consultants who can help you put your kitchen layout together.

Home addition

Adding a room or an upper floor will require you to open up your home to the elements. Doing this during the summer will likely minimize the exposure and allow the work to be completed more quickly. It will also probably save you money in the process.

Finish the design work and find a contractor several months before the work will start. You don’t want to be held up because materials aren’t available or the permit process hasn’t been completed.

Landscaping

The summer months are also a good time to upgrade your landscaping and home exterior. If you’re thinking about saving time and money maintaining your yard, consider a landscape design that incorporates native plants that don’t require much water or fertilizer. It’s also a good time to install an automatic sprinkler system that is timed to turn on and off at the best times of day.

Start in the spring by creating a design and selecting the types of plants, shrubs and trees you want to include. Incorporate a wide variety of flora that will enhance the look and texture of your landscape. If you enjoy wildlife, consider plants that attract the types of birds and other animals that you’d like to see. You might add some solar-powered lights to accentuate walkways and decks.

You can also save money and add color and diversity by planting your own garden. Initially, you may incur some cost to create the right soil conditions, but the long-term payoff is enjoying your own fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers.

In-ground pool and deck

If you live in a climate where the ground freezes, you have to wait for the thaw before you can do any serious digging in your yard. Start this project during spring and finish it in time to enjoy for most of the summer.

Warmer temperatures are also needed for properly installing and curing the materials used to construct the pool. These include gunite, plaster, cement and certain polymer compounds.

One way to save on a pool is to find one or more neighbors who want to install a pool similar to yours. Since pools are constructed in stages, it’s more efficient and less costly to a contractor to simultaneously build more than one. The savings could be applied to installing a new deck area around the pool. Beyond the enjoyment value, it will add to your home’s resale potential.

The bottom line

Planning can go a long way in helping to save money on home renovations. A firm plan avoids the cost of changes and increases the chances of finishing on schedule. It also gives you the time to research the best deals on materials that will be needed. Perhaps most importantly, you will be able to interview and select the right contractor for your job.

Summer is a good time to get things done outside, when your neighbors are on vacation and some contractors may be looking for work. Accomplish common maintenance items such as caulking windows, applying weather stripping, cleaning gutters, washing windows, repairing fences, treating wooden decks, painting the exterior or adding siding. Do your homework and get multiple estimates before you commit to anything.

I hope you enjoyed Michael’s thoughts.  Do you have any experiences to share?  Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

FTC: Countrywide borrowers to get $108 million in refunds

FTC: Countrywide borrowers to get $108 million in refunds.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Borrowers who were overcharged by Countrywide Financial more than three years ago are finally going to get what’s due to them.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that, as a result of a settlement reached with the mortgage lender more than a year ago, it is sending out checks totalling nearly $108 million to more than 450,000 former Countrywide borrowers.

The compensation was for overcharges made before the failing company was acquired by Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) in 2008.

REFUNDS AND/OR SAVING MONEY IN REAL ESTATE

Getting a refund always makes me happy.  That’s probably why this article caught my eye in the first place.  This series of writings is concerned with saving money on an activity almost every one of us does in our life- sometimes again and again- buying/selling a house!  We will deal with far more topics than we can even list here.  You may be the type to hire the snootiest boutique Realtors, or the type to sell your own house For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) with a Flat-Fee MLS Service.  Either way, after almost thirty years of practice, I hope I can bring some info to the table, and I’ll try to contain my sense of humor so fewer of you will irritated.

I do look forward to your participation.  What do you think about the whole Countrywide situation?  Are you indignant or just jealous?  Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028

I’d rather eat a bug than write a Blog

OK, let’s face it.  The only reason I’m doing this is for the attention.  That’s what my mom always said.  Actually, THIS TIME, it is the case.  It’s all about hits.  And hits are traffic.  And traffic brings recognition and visibility.  All good in my line of work- Real Estate.  Capitalized.  Not everybody knows about my end of the Real Estate Spectrum.

I help people sell their own house.  In a way, that’s like saying I help people dock this ocean liner or land this 747.  There’s a good amount of iceberg under this iceberg.  It IS easy in some ways, but not always simple.  Some people are luckier than others.  But people can save a ton of commission if they are willing to do some the work themselves, and are willing to listen and take some instruction.

Find a good “Graduated Service Realtor” that you like and feel as though you can trust and work with.  Have them familiarize you with the overall picture, as well as the details and paperwork.  Make sure they will be there to help when you come up with questions, and if the Realtor seems OK to you, have them go ahead and put your house in the MLS.    Get your “Plan of Action” from him/her.  Get you checklists and homework assignments, and don’t wait too many days before you start on them.  I will go over a lot of this in much more detail in subsequent posts.

Good luck for now!  Get to work if you want it to happen.  Call me if you want to talk.  Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor.   Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES 973-8970 www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” us at FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Properties/260187704028 Have a great day!

First Day of School – Nashville 2011

Well, today’s the day!

Some thought it would never get here.  Some feel that it’s way too early, and that summer has not really started yet.  Like it or not, it’s here.  Teachers are at school today and the children will be close to follow.  (Then it will be Christmas.)

Many people meant to sell their current house and move this year, but that hasn’t happened yet.  There seems to be a lot of buying and selling activity going on right now, and this may be a good opportunity to do something before the interest rates leap.

Complacency is your biggest enemy and your worst nightmare.  Some people believe that when they put a sign in the yard, people will line up to buy their house.  That is not going to happen.  Likely as not, you will find your house is worth a bit less than you think, and selling it requires a bit more effort than it should.  Some people want to sell their own house, but don’t want to inconvenience themselves while they are saving commission.

Selling your own house is SIMPLE and very cost-effective, but it does require effort on your part.  1)  Be sure you really want to sell and you are willing to make some sacrifices to do it yourself.  I have some “things you need to do” check-lists that I give to my customers.  2)  Get your house in the MLS, Multiple Listing Service, with a FLAT-FEE or GRADUATED SERVICES Realtor, so you can sell it yourself and not have to pledge such a huge commission.  Yes, I do that too.  and 3) put a sign in the yard and do it!

It won’t happen overnight, but if you have a good working knowledge of what to expect, good advice, a good attitude, and help that’s a phone call away, you can save a bundle.  Talk to a graduated service Realtor who knows what they are doing, and is local, as opposed to an 800-number, or somebody on their fifth transaction.   http://www.FSBO-GUY.com is a place you can go, or call me at (615) 973-8970.  Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES

A Day of Great Renewal of Strength and Effort

Well, the 28th of July, “Day of Great Consternation,” has passed.  The 29th of July, “Day of Deep Breaths and Great Relaxation,” is also in the rear-view mirror.  Today we celebrate the “Festival of Great Renewal of Strength and Effort.”  The i-tunes plays Whisperings Piano Solos quietly, “All Creatures of our God and King.”  The rain is finally falling in Nashville, ending the drought conditions, and causing the grass to turn a bit greener almost instantly.

Today we will speak with a number of buyers and sellers of real estate.  We will edit some house listings that are in the MLS right now.  We will advise a handful of sellers.  We will try to  cheer up a few sellers.  We will talk to some buyers about their “perfect-world” scenarios.  We will go over countless checklists to try to insure that things are “on-track” as they should be.  We will attend to our continuing effort and education regarding our “blog”, social media like FaceBook and Twitter, and our old friend, www.FSBO-GUY.com.

We will try to encourage as many as we can to let us assist them whenever the wish to buy or sell a home.

Then late this afternoon we will gather around the grill and cook the ceremonial hamburger.  Life is good.

Last weekday in July!

Well, July 28th is finally past!  The age of enlightenment has begun- the dawning of a new age, as it were…  School starts back soon, and the weather is almost unbearable.

You ask yourself, “What the heck is July 28th?”  That’s a good question.  One that will go unanswered for now, but a good question still.  People who know everything find nothing interesting.