March 26, 2016

Name Those Basic Home Components

With so many home components and trends, it can be tricky to keep up with them all.  Working with home buyers, I get to talk with a lot of people searching for homes and/or visiting open houses and I'm always happy to answer any question no matter how complicated or how basic it may be.  I thought I would point out a few that are commonly discussed as people shop for homes.  They may not be complicated, but it may simply be what to call the feature, so here's a short collection of them.

March 23, 2016

Septic Sytem Basics For Home Buyers

You're out scouting homes and you see that some of them are listed as being on a septic system.  You've heard of that in the past and may have had some friends with one once, but you may not really know much about them or really how they work.  Well, let's run over a few of the basics so you'll have a little more knowledge about them going into your search.

Now, my disclaimer is that septic systems and the codes relating to them may vary with area, so always research your area for specifics.  Also, if you're considering an older home with a septic system, it's my recommendation to have that inspected.  Okay, on to the basics.

Here's a lightning round of a summary on septic:

  • Waste travels from the home to a tank buried underground somewhere on your lot
  • After the bacteria do their job at breaking everything down, the waste waster travels from the tank to a set of parallel lines buried elsewhere on your lot
  • The water then exits the pipes into the dirt and the dirt absorbs the water
  • Periodically, the tank requires pumping for anything that has accumulated.  This time varies with tank size, family size, and the use of a disposal.  Opinions vary on how often it should be done, but every few years is common.

Other septic info:

  • The term "Perc" is often found on land and lot listings, but also carries with existing homes.  This is a measurement that specifies the absorption ability of the soil and how that relates to the number of bedrooms a home built on the property may have.
  • Can you build a home with more bedrooms than the stated "Perc"?  Possibly.  This will require a new review of the land and possible exploration of additional areas to accommodate the increased capacity.  This will be on a per-case basis.  Exceeding the perc limit is not permitted without a reassessment and soil study.
  • "Perc" is based on bedrooms - not bathrooms.  People determine the output from a home, not bathrooms, so the number of bedrooms is used to estimate the number of people who will most likely live in the home. 
  • Septic is normally found in areas that are outside the denser and more populated areas of the city.  Once the area grows outward, the city or county may eventually offer (occasionally require) that a home hook up to the sewer system.
  • In our area, lots are required to have an A septic field and a B septic field that serves as a back-up in case A fails.  You cannot build or dig in the B field as it needs to remain in usable condition in the event it's required for septic.
  • In some cases where a the land is sloped and the septic field is higher than the home, waster water may need to be pumped to the septic field.
  • Do all lots perc?  No, some lots may be full of rock or clay soil that will not absorb water efficiently.  In this case, one can attempt to get an easement for a septic field, or the lot may remain unqualified for construction using a septic system.  Alternative processing systems may need to be explored.

Well, there you go - a few basics on septic systems.  If you are unsure about a system as you consider homes, be sure to check with an inspector.  If I may assist you with any of your home selling/buying needs, please don't hesitate to contact me with any question - big or small.

Posted in Buyers
March 19, 2016

When Can Buyers Move In?

Move In Time

You searched and searched to find just the right home.  You survived negotiations, and your offer transformed into a contract on the property.  Woohooo!  The inspection wasn't too bad and the seller was great at helping solve any issues.  Your lender has been fabulous and the appraisal went great too!  You are rockin' along and now closing day is here.  Question for you:  What day of the week is it?  Why do I ask... well, let's talk about that.

Most people probably think their closing is complete as soon as they are done signing their paperwork.  Well... that part of it is, but if a buyer is using financing, their loan still needs to be funded for a closing to be complete.  Therefore, it is a seller's right not to allow access to a property (or provide keys) until the closing has been completed... which includes funding of the loan.  Most times a closing on a business day is funded the same day if the paperwork is done early enough.  BUT... if for some reason the closing paperwork is done after any cut-off times for the financial institution, funding may not occur until the following day.  Guess what happens if this occurs on Friday.  Yep, funding may not occur until Monday. 

In scenarios where funding does not occur relatively quickly, a seller may rightfully deny access to the property until funding is included.  If this occurs on a Friday and a buyer has a moving van full of their furnishings waiting to unload, there may be a multiple day delay.  While it may be a buyer's reaction to be upset at the seller, they are acting within their rights to deny access, so a buyer should plan accordingly.

  • If possibly, it may be wise to plan your closing to occur earlier in the week so the following days are business days which should help prevent delays.
  • If for some reason your closing must be done on a Friday, try to schedule it early AND plan for a contingency plan in case you and your belongings are delayed until Monday (or more).

Contracts often have a variety of access/delivery dates for the property.  Most common is on the day of closing, but you can investigate options for early access or extended occupancy.  Another suggestion is to be specific about actual times and not just dates.  While access may may mean 9am to one party, it may mean 6pm for the other and that could mean a costly day of a moving van sitting at the curb.  Help make your transaction a smooth one and make sure both parties are on the same page.

For additional information or assistance with your home shopping and/or selling, please contact me and we'll get your plan designed for efficiency.

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 22, 2016

Writing a Letter to the Seller

Letters To Home Sellers

In the process of buying and selling homes, things can get pretty hectic and stressful trying to get the deal done, so the personal aspect of the transaction can sometimes be pushed aside and it's easy to get focused on the numbers.  Well, in a market that is hot and inventory is low, bringing the personal touch back into the equation may just set you apart and make you the victor against competing buyers.  Here's what I mean.  When inventory gets low and there is high demand, the home sales process can quickly include multiple-offer situations (the seller has several offers from different parties from which they may choose to select a buyer).  Many times the market becomes so intense that buyers will submit offers without even viewing the property in person.  It's then, that you need each and every edge you can get to have your offer be the one accepted by the seller.

What is the purpose of a letter to the seller?

Although this can vary with geographical location, in our area the buyer and seller usually do not meet, and it's common for each side of the transaction to close at a separate location.  This contributes to nearly - if not a total - separation of the parties, so offers from buyers to sellers are all about the technical aspects of the offer to purchase.  This can be a good thing sometimes, but when competition heats up and you're on the buying side sometimes there can be a benefit to connect the two parties, and this is the purpose of the letter.

What should the letter contain?

Because the purpose of the letter is to make a connection between buyer and seller, including common points of interest might be something to consider.  How do you know what you have in common?  Well, when you viewed the home, you may have seen a boat on the property.  Maybe bikes in the garage, or sports equipment.  Those can be interests that you share and may make for common ground on which you can connect in your letter.  Other ways are to have me inquire on your behalf (as your agent), and if you need more you can always check to see if they're on social media and may have shared some of their interests.

Include a connection with the home

While your letter may include content to connect with the family on a personal level, you also want to share with the seller why you feel buying their home is right for you.  For most people, a home is something special.  It's where they create memories and therefore they get attached to it.  Deep down, they want someone to take care of it and love it the way they did, and this will be more likely if the seller has lived there a long time.  Are all sellers this way?  No, some are cut and dry about it and it's simply a structure, but most have some sort of emotional attachment to their home.  Sharing with them how you imagine your family there and making memories builds confidence with the seller that their home is in good hands.

 

Does a letter guarantee that you'll be the winner in a multiple-offer situation.  No, nothing can guarantee that, but with the right seller, making a connection with them and providing confidence that you love the home and will cherish it can sometimes make your offer the one they select.  

If you need assistance drafting a letter when and if that time comes, no worry... I'm here to help you with all aspects of your home buying.  If you have questions before then, I'm always here for you so please contact me with questions big or small.

 

Posted in Buyers
Feb. 20, 2016

Tips For Buying A Larger Home

Buying a larger home

Tips On Buying A Larger Home

Most of us start out with a relatively small home and then gradually and eventually need more space, so we start evaluating when is the right time to search for a new home.  That time is different for everyone.  Some of the most popular reasons for needing a larger home are:

  • Family size increases
  • Need more space for entertaining
  • Accumulation of things
  • A reward to oneself and/or an indicator of success
  • Activities or interests require more space

Whatever the reason is, you certainly know when the time comes.  Some people hold out as long as they can before moving while others rather enjoy moving so they move up (and around) often.  No matter which camp you're in, here are some tips that make your move up in home a more logical one.

Why is your current home not meeting your needs?

Perform a quick review of why you've decided now is the time to sell your home and move up.  Evaluate which parts of your home are the ones you're lacking enough space in.  If your family is expanding, you may be considering more and/or larger bedrooms.  If you entertain a lot, then perhaps an open floor plan with adjoining family room and kitchen is something you're looking for.  If you're running out of bathroom space, then consider Jack & Jill bathrooms, or if you're square footage allows it you can go with full baths on all your bedrooms.  How are things in the garage?  Have several cars, lots of child toys, or maybe some sport vehicles like skis or boats.  If so, consider your garage size carefully.  Not all garages are equal even though they list the same capacity.  Measure the garage to see if it's deep enough for your needs.

Existing homes vs new construction

As long as it's time to upgrade your home, consider new construction.  If you have the luxury of time and new construction sites are available in your preferred area, building a new home may be the way to get your new home just the way you want it.  Admittedly even brand new homes custom built can leave you later with the feeling of "oh, we should have included this" (we all can't think of everything), it's still a fabulous route to go when trying to make a home suited to your personal needs and tastes.

Plan your home upgrade timing

With many families having children, the summer months remain popular for transition while children are out of school.  If this doesn't affect your scenario or if you're moving within the same school zone or utilize private schooling, then extended breaks in the spring or fall are great times to make your move within weather temps that may provide a better moving experience than the heat of summer or cold of winter.

Consult with others for input on a new home

As part of your planning, consult with others about what you're thinking.  This not only includes real estate professionals, but also friends who may already own homes like you are considering.  Their input about their homes can be a great education on things you may want to avoid or improve upon.  Inquire about home quality, size, comfort, as well as operational costs.  All of those will help with the decision to purchase a larger home.

While you're deciding how and when to proceed, search home listings to see what the market is offering.  I always encourage you to contact me with any questions and I'll be happy to share my insight.  In my profession, I get to see a lot of homes of all sizes, so I invite you to let me share that info with you as part of your preparation.  When it comes time to move forward, we can tour homes to confirm your decision.

 

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Feb. 20, 2016

5 Helpful Downsizing Tips

Downsizing Tips

Downsizing Tips for Homeowners

The time has come when you're considering a smaller home than you have now.  You may be in the early stages, but have probably considered it for a while now.  Some of the top reasons people downsize homes are:

  • Family has changed in size (some may now have their own homes) which requires less space
  • Financial reasons including affordability and shifting investments elsewhere
  • Less maintenance

Many times, all of those are combined into the decision to downsize.  So, how should you go about it?  Well, I've compiled some information and tips here that will help you with your downsizing adventure.

Commit to the project

If you have been in the same home for a long time, it is easy to slip back into your comfort zone anytime you think about change.  Change can be refreshing, so focus on why you want to downsize and commit to a plan to implement it.

Analyze your interior needs

During this stage, take a good hard look at how you live now in your current home.  Think about which rooms and parts of your home you use the most and spend the most time in.  Do you cook a lot?  Do you entertain in the family room a lot?  How about those secondary bedrooms?  The rooms and areas you answer "yes" to will be the focus of your next home.  Those that receive a "no" might allow for some compromise when it comes time to your next home layout.  Most homes have the core rooms that are virtually required in most homes, but seeing where your focus is will allow you to determine how large or small the rooms need to be.  After all... downsizing means something will be eliminated or made smaller.

Let's talk about outdoors

When you're not enjoying the inside of your home and you're outside.  What are you doing and where are you doing it?  Do you need a large yard for playing, or do you go to parks?  Do you need a patio, porch, and fireplace outside, or do you go to the club for those activities?  These types of outdoor activities can help refine the exterior spaces you may need in your next home.

Start looking at your "stuff"

Most people have stocked their current home pretty well with furnishings, decor, and yes... even some junk.  The reality is that much of that will not fit into your downsized home, so yes, that means it's time to start sorting and reducing what has possibly filled your current home.  Start now and it will seem more logical (and sometimes refreshing) than if you wait until it's moving time.  If you wait, it'll seem like a daunting task.  Staring now can even create enthusiasm for the entire adventure.

Recruit objectivity

We have all developed our own perspective across our lifetime, so occasionally we need an outside voice to help us with some objectivity.  When it comes to choosing an area, selecting your next home, and downsizing your belongings, don't be shy about asking for opinions from others who will include real estate professionals, family, and friends.  Ultimately, the decision is yours, but others can help provide insight to help ensure a successful move.

 

Downsizing can be a refreshing change that brings with it an excitement of a new adventure.  If I may assist with helping your prepare you existing home for the market and advising you on the areas that have homes matching your new criteria, please contact me and we'll map out your preliminary steps so you'll be ready when the time comes.

Posted in Buyers, Sellers
April 8, 2014

Mill Creek Elementary School Zoning Proposal

Williamson County Schools Policy Committee met Monday (April 7, 2014) evening with the full Board of Education to discuss zoning for the county’s newest schools planned for York Road: Mill Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Middle and Nolensville High. Superintendent of Schools Mike Looney provided renderings of the zoning boundaries, projected enrollment numbers and affected neighborhoods during the special-called work session.

  • Subdivisions north of Rocky Fork Road will remain zoned for Nolensville Elementary.
  • Mill Creek Elementary is expected to open in fall 2016 with a projected 459 students, with 589 in Nolensville Elementary and 636 in Sunset Elementary. Mill Creek’s capacity is about 800 students.
  • An expected 131 students will be moved from Sunset Elementary into Nolensville Elementary from Concord Forest, Catalina and Brittain Downs subdivisions. All students from the three neighborhoods will be rezoned; the neighborhoods are not split.
  • Calculations for elementary, middle and high school levels do not account for future growth or grandfathering.
  • There are no subdivisions split by the proposed zoning plans. However, future residential development may not take into account the zoning boundaries.


The zoning proposal to go before the school board for a vote on April 21 affects only those families impacted by the new Nolensville schools. The rezoning is not district-wide nor does it take into account any “domino affect” from moving students.

Looney will discuss rezoning in two public meetings on Thursday. The first will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nolensville Town Hall. The second will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Sunset Middle cafeteria.

Mill Creek Elementary School Zoning Proposal

Mill Creek Elementary School Zoning Proposal

April 8, 2014

Mill Creek Middle School Zoning Proposal

Williamson County Schools Policy Committee met Monday (April 7, 2014) evening with the full Board of Education to discuss zoning for the county’s newest schools planned for York Road: Mill Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Middle and Nolensville High. Superintendent of Schools Mike Looney provided renderings of the zoning boundaries, projected enrollment numbers and affected neighborhoods during the special-called work session.

  • A projected 171 students will be rezoned from Sunset Middle to Mill Creek Middle, which shares a campus with Mill Creek Elementary.
  • Sunset Middle is proposed as a split middle feeder with approximately 65 percent zoned for Ravenwood and 35 percent to Nolensville High.
  • Mill Creek Middle will open with an expected 494 students, leaving 339 in Sunset Middle. Mill Creek’s capacity will be approximately 800 students.
  • Calculations for elementary, middle and high school levels do not account for future growth or grandfathering.
  • There are no subdivisions split by the proposed zoning plans. However, future residential development may not take into account the zoning boundaries.


The zoning proposal to go before the school board for a vote on April 21 affects only those families impacted by the new Nolensville schools. The rezoning is not district-wide nor does it take into account any “domino affect” from moving students.

Looney will discuss rezoning in two public meetings on Thursday. The first will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nolensville Town Hall. The second will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Sunset Middle cafeteria.

Mill Creek Middle School Zoning Proposal

Mill Creek Middle School Zoning Proposal

Mill Creek Middle School Zoning Proposal

April 8, 2014

Nolensville High School Zoning Proposal

Williamson County Schools Policy Committee met Monday (April 7, 2014) evening with the full Board of Education to discuss zoning for the county’s newest schools planned for York Road: Mill Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Middle and Nolensville High. Superintendent of Schools Mike Looney provided renderings of the zoning boundaries, projected enrollment numbers and affected neighborhoods during the special-called work session.

  • Ravenwood High enrollment is expected to decrease from 2,044 to 1,545 students the first year of Nolensville High’s opening in fall 2016.
  • Nolensville High will open with freshmen and sophomore classes only and a total of 404 students. The junior class will be added in fall 2017 with an expected 611 students.
  • The new high school’s first year with all four classes will have an expected 801 students. Nolensville High’s capacity will be about 1,800 students.
  • Neighborhoods zoned for Ravenwood High are Taramore and Tuscany Hills as well as future developments Glen Abbey and Morgan Farms.
  • Neighborhoods zoned for Nolensville High are Benington, Bent Creek, Brittain Downs, Burkitt Place and Village, Catalina and Silver Stream Farms as well as future developments Cromwell, Sherwood Green and Summerlyn.
  • Brookfield subdivision remains in the RHS zone, as does Southern Woods, Inglehame Farms and Sonoma. Breezeway and Chardonnay near Clovercroft Elementary are also not impacted by the rezoning.

Calculations for elementary, middle and high school levels do not account for future growth or grandfathering.
There are no subdivisions split by the proposed zoning plans. However, future residential development may not take into account the zoning boundaries.

The zoning proposal to go before the school board for a vote on April 21 affects only those families impacted by the new Nolensville schools. The rezoning is not district-wide nor does it take into account any “domino affect” from moving students.

Looney will discuss rezoning in two public meetings on Thursday. The first will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nolensville Town Hall. The second will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Sunset Middle cafeteria

Nolensville High School Zoning Proposal

Nolensville High School Zoning Proposal

Nolensville High School Zoning Proposal

 

 

 

March 19, 2014

Best Real Estate Agency in Williamson County

Bob Parks Realty Wins Sizzle Award

 

Bob Parks Realty Wins 2014 Sizzle Awards

Well, the votes are in and Bob Parks Realty is the winner of the 2014 Sizzle Award for "Best Real Estate Agency in Williamson County"!  These awards are sponsored by The Williamson Herald, FranklinIs.com, and Southern Exposure Magazine.

I'm thrilled to be a member of the Bob Parks Realty family and am proud that our agency continues to shine in the eyes of the residents of Williamson County!