Don’t Lose Out Again!

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sale-pending-image24498682If you tried buying a home lately, you’ve likely had to compete against another buyer for the same home. And if another offer was selected over yours (especially if it’s happened more than once), you might be left scratching your head wondering what you have to do to get your offer chosen.

There are actually several items that a seller considers when they have to choose from multiple offers. Here are the most common ones and what you need to do to make your offer stand out from the rest!

Price                                                                                                                                            This is the most obvious factor for a seller.  When you are in multiple offer situation is not the time to low-ball to the seller just to see what they’ll do.  Work with your agent to see what comparable properties are selling for in the area and make a fair offer.

Terms                                                                                                                                        What kind of financing are you using? Government loans (FHA and VA) are not as a attractive to a seller as a conventional loan or cash (obviously!) because there are more hoops for everyone to jump through.  If a FHA or VA loan is your only option, just know that you are more likely to lose out over someone with a more attractive looking finance option.  Also, ask your agent what your lender’s reputation is.  If your lender is known in the area for not closing on time, your contract might lose out to another offer with a more reputable lender even if the financing options are the same.

Closing Date                                                                                                                         Here’s where you need to be flexible.  Offer to close as quickly as possible, but be willing to move the closing date back if the seller can’t move in that time frame.

Closing Cost Assistance                                                                                                      Many sellers are still of the old school mindset of “when I bought my home, I didn’t ask anyone to pay my closing costs.”  And while these generally just bump up the sales price so that you can finance them into your loan, many sellers don’t truly understand closing cost and will usually chose the offer not asking for them even if the offers are completely identical.  If need be, put off your purchase for a few months until you can save the money to pay your own closing costs.

Home Warranty                                                                                                                         In the grand scheme of things, this is a tiny monetary item when buying a home.  However, it can make the difference in your contract being chosen or not. It often leave sellers with the feeling that they are being nickled and dimed.  If possible, purchase the home warranty on your own.  They usually run $450 – $1,000, depending on the size of the home.

Inspections                                                                                                                                     I would never recommend someone buy a home without having a professional home inspection completed.  You need to know what you are buying – the good and the bad.  However, if you are competing against someone who has waived the inspection contingency, their offer will more likely than not be chosen over yours.  In that case, your best bet is just to move to the next home.

If you are looking to buy a home, please contact me and I’ll let you in on all the secrets of the trade so you can get the home you’ve always dreamed of!

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101 Things To Do in Memphis #22: The Memphis Zoo

Memphis ZooNamed the #1 Zoo in the US by Tripadvisor.com in 2008, the Memphis Zoo has been a staple of Overton Park for more than 100 years. The Memphis Zoo was opened in April 1906 and is set on 76 acres.

The Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3500 animals representing over 500 species. The animals reside in three zones with 19 exhibits, such as Once Upon a Farm, Dragon’s Lair and China, which is home to giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le.

The Memphis Zoo sponsors a wide variety of special events throughout the year. These include: Horticultural Tours (periodic), Plant Sale (April), Zoo Boo with its Haunted Forest (October), Zoo Lights with over 1 million holiday lights, Santa, live reindeer, and magic show (November/December), Zoo Rendezvous (September), Zoo Snooze (periodic), and many more. There are also a wide assortment of educational activities throughout the year for school-aged children.

The Memphis Zoo has two major projects in their future plans with funding efforts currently underway:

  • Zambezi River Hippo Camp—This exhibit will feature animals common to the Zambezi River basin in eastern Africa—hippos, flamingos, Okapi, and Nile crocodiles. The hippo area will have a below-water viewing deck similar to that in the Northwest Passage Exhibit. This new exhibit will be built where the World of Waterfowl and Meadow Amphitheater are currently located.
  • Chickasaw Bluffs—This low-impact nature trail will wind through 15 acres (6 ha) of the Old Forest Arboretum of Overton Park that are located within the Zoo’s boundaries. Signs located along the trail will allow Zoo visitors to learn about native plants and animals and to gain an appreciation for the forest. Proposed educational messages include the important role that forests play in wildlife habitat, climate, and the cycling of water, oxygen, and carbon.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Zoo

 

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Sorry, We’re Out of Stock

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-hurricane-sandy-image27394337If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, the time to act is NOW not later! Many markets across the country are seeing a very tight housing inventory right now. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the nationwide median days-on-market is just 78 days. Here in Memphis, we are just barely above the national average at an average of 82 days on the market.

Generally speaking, prices are up, but year-over-year sales are down, in part due to the lack of available inventory. Memphis and Shelby county home sales were up 10% in June with 1,590 sales recorded for the month compared to 1,445 recorded last June. Average sales prices were up 3% to $162,409 compared to $158,016 last June. And following the national average, year-to-date home sales in the county are down 2% from the same period last year and average sales prices up 9%.

With low inventory levels, buyers are eager to find their dream home and are willing to pay an increasing price for it.  If I can help you sell your home and find your next home, please give me a call today!

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101 Things To Do In Memphis: The Pink Palace Museum

A repository of Memphis antiquity and cultural and natural history, the Pink Palace Museum is the largest facility of it’s kind in the Southeast. Kids will enjoy the life-size dinosaur, the multitude of animal skeletons, the replica Piggly Wiggly grocery story, and much more, including an IMAX threatre and planetarium.

At the Pink Palace Museum, you can walk through a replica of the first self-service grocery store in the country, Clarence Saunders’ Piggly Wiggly. Explore the cultural and natural history of the Mid-South through exciting exhibits, dioramas, and audio-visuals. Trace Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers through the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics. Learn from the award-winning medical exhibit how health care grew to be Memphis’ largest industry.

You will also see how dinosaurs and fossils dramatically chronicle our ever-changing planet. The Museum also hosts a number of touring exhibits for you to see and experience throughout the year.

Each year hundreds of thousands of people visit the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. Their recent 75th anniversary brought a surge of excitement to the City of Memphis.  More than 5,000 people attended the birthday party.

To learn more about the Pink Palace Museum, including their hours of operation, click here.

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OUT is IN!

Germantown parksIf you’re feeling cramped and like you don’t get to spend enough time outside, you’re not the only one. Nearly three in 10 U.S. adults do not spend time outside on a daily basis and of those who do, almost half spend less than 30 minutes in the fresh air according to a new survey released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). That’s why this July, Germantown Parks and Recreation and NRPA are challenging everyone to get out and visit their community parks and recreation during national Park and Recreation Month. 

This year’s theme, “OUT is IN,” encourages individuals, families, friends and coworkers to do something outside everyday that they would normally do inside. From picnicking in the park instead of sitting inside at a table to sending an email or even holding a meeting outside, there are small ways you can make going OUT part of your daily routine. The parks and facilities run by Germantown Parks and Recreationoffer ample opportunities to go OUTside, get INspired, change your OUTlook and get INvolved. 

“Our parks and programs give everyone – all ages and abilities – a chance to “unplug” for the day, a couple of hours or even a few minutes to take a breath of fresh air and truly enjoy life.” said Pam Beasley, Germantown Parks and Recreation Director. “Our goal is to provide meaningful recreation and leisure programs so that folks can maintain their health, gain an appreciation of our natural resources, experience the value of culture and arts enrichment and have fun.” 

In addition to getting involved in Park and Recreation Month locally, people are encouraged to take the OUT is IN 31-day social media challenge on Twitter and Instagram by posting photos of themselves doing typical inside activities outside with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN. 

For information about Germantown Parks and Recreation events, programs and classes, take a look at the summer FYI newsletter. To learn more about getting OUTside and INvolved during Park and Recreation Month, visit www.nrpa.org/July.

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101 Things To Do in Memphis #20: Mud Island River Park

mudislandThough not literally an island, Mud Island is a small peninsula surround by the Mississippi River and Wolf River Harbor. Mud Island opened to the public in 1982 and features restaurants, a museum, and an amphitheater. You can get to Mud Island either by car, foot, monorail or ferry.

At Mud Island River Park, you can experience the Mighty Mississippi River up close. There’s 5-block long river walk model that you can hike down and see the Mississippi in miniature. Major cities and small towns located on the river are marked in the scale model, and markers explain history and facts about the river. The model empties into a “Gulf of Mexico” replica, which was once a waterpark named Bud Boogie Beach, and on the other side is a small wooden boat named the Maymay, which is no longer open to the public. The park also includes bike trails, pedal boats, and rafts.

Inside the 18-gallery Mississippi River Museum, you can explore two full size boat models you can board. The museum on presents the history of the lower Mississippi river valley, with most of its emphasis on the steamboat. The mission of the museum is to preserve and promote the natural and cultural history of the Lower Mississippi River Valley through excellence in education, interpretation and exhibits. Admission to the museum is $10 for Adults (12-59), $9 for Seniors (60 Plus), $7 for Youths (5 – 11), and Children (4 and under) are FREE.

Mud Island is home to a 5,000 seat outdoor amphitheater, which has been used for a summer concert series for over two decades. The band Dash Rip Rock which has played there several times, recorded a song named Mud Island that can be found on two of their albums. James Taylor performed at the amphitheater during a light rainstorm in 1992, stuck his arm out into the falling water and remarked, “Mud Island… ominous name, eh?” You can see James Taylor perform here again on August 6, 2014. Ticket information here.

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Memphis Real Estate Market Report – July 2014

Memphis and Shelby county home sales were up 10% in June with 1,590 sales recorded for the month compared to 1,445 recorded last June. Average sales prices were up 3% to $162,409 compared to $158,016 last June. Year-to-date home sales in the county are down 2% from the same period last year and average sales prices up 9%.

18 out of 33 zip codes had an increase in total sales activity for the month. 16 zip codes had an increase in average sales prices. 38117 had the most homes sales for the month with 105 recorded.

Home sales over $1 million were down 33% from last June with 4 recorded fro the month compared to 6 last June. If you would like a market report on your specific zip code or another zip code, just let me know.

Also, if you are interested in selling your home or are interested in buying a home; please feel free to contact me at 901-230-2610 or 901-756-8900. You can email me at Melissa@YourKeytoMemphis.com. Be sure to visit www.YourKeytoMemphis.com for all of your real estate needs.

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Most Homebuyers Don’t See This Cost Coming

hand holds a keyBuying a house is expensive. Everybody knows that, but even people who work very hard to prepare for the cost of owning a home are often surprised by how much they end up paying. That’s particularly true among consumers whose loans require private mortgage insurance (PMI). A study released last week by TD Bank showed 65% of homeowners with PMI caused them to pay a higher-than-expected monthly mortgage payment.

A borrower is required to get PMI if the loan exceeds 80% of the property’s value (meaning the borrower provided a down payment less than 20% of the value), according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The purpose of the insurance is to protect the lender against losses in the event of loan delinquency, and it also allows consumers to purchase a home with a smaller down payment. It’s not a permanent expense: Once the homeowner builds up sufficient equity in the home, PMI is canceled (the homeowner can request cancellation at 20% equity, or the lender cancels it automatically at 22%, as dictated by the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998).

Among people who purchased a home in the past two years, 35% said PMI impacted their decision of which house to buy. It’s also pretty common for people to make down payments of less than 20%: 45% of those ages 18 to 34, 37% of homebuyers ages 35 to 54 and 23% of people older than 55 required mortgage insurance on their loans over the past decade, the TD Bank study showed.

PMI costs an average of $100 a month, according to the report, and FHA loans now require mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. (The Federal Housing Administration insures these loans, which can require as little as 3.5% down.) It’s easy to see how PMI can add up and cost consumers more than they anticipated.

Getting a mortgage can be a complicated process, and it can be especially difficult for first-time homebuyers to understand all the costs associated with homeownership. If you’re thinking of buying a house, you definitely want to make sure your credit is in good shape. You can get two of your credit scores for free through Credit.com, and if your scores could use a boost, you’ll see some tips for improving your credit standing. Mortgage approval relies on a lot more than your credit standing, but its importance shouldn’t be overlooked.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/most-homebuyers-dont-see-cost-120004708.html

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101 Things To Do In Memphis #19: Hog & Hominy

Hog and hominyNamed one of the 12 Best Restaurants of 2013 by GQ Magazine, Hog & Hominy is a true Memphis original. Featuring a fusion of Italian and Southern cooking, Hog & Hominy continues to win award after award. With a bright and cheerful interior and bocce court outside, it’s easy to see why they’ve won such a loyal following in such a short period of time.

Menu items are incredibly affordable as they are meant to be ordered and shared with a table of friends or loved ones, which makes it easy to leave with your pants feeling extra tight. Menu favorites include Red Eye Pizza, Poutine, and Shrimp & Grits. And don’t forget to save room from the Peanut Butter Pie, a specialty they are known for!

Finally, don’t forget about their bar. Hog & Hominy has a daily happy hour from 4 – 6 pm that features $1 of draft beers and well drinks as well as free popcorn at the bar. They also feature a different $6 sparkling cocktail each day. Yum!

I can’t do this fabulous restaurant justice with my words. You just need to go and try it out for yourself. But please make reservations ahead of time or else you might have a long wait ahead of you. To take a look at their mouth-watering menu, click here.

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Germantown Wins Regional Contest for Best Tasting Water in Tennessee

fresh lemonade drinkThe Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) recently held the Region Eleven “Best Tasting Water Contest” at the Jackson Energy Authority Training Facility. Germantown Water System was awarded Best Tasting Water in Region 11.

TAUD Region Eleven includes Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Henderson, Madison, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton counties. Those participating in the contest were Collierville Public Utility, Covington Public Works, First Utility District of Tipton County, Germantown Water System, Jackson Energy Authority, Lexington Utilities, Michie Water System and Munford Utilities. The drinking water samples were judged on their clarity, bouquet and taste.

TAUD conducted the Best Tasting Water in Tennessee Contest in each of the eleven regions over the last few months. The winner of each region will participate in the statewide competition at TAUD’s annual conference in Gatlinburg on August 14. The statewide winner will then compete in Washington, D.C., for the Best Tasting Water in America.

The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts serves as the Tennessee chapter of the National Rural Water Association. TAUD is the source of training, technical assistance, and advocacy for over 400 water, wastewater, and natural gas utility members in the state of Tennessee. For more information, visit www.taud.org.

Source: http://www.germantown-tn.gov/Index.aspx?page=30&recordid=2014

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