Pre-Home Inspection - Should I Have My Home Inspected Before I Put it On The Market?

What is a Pre-Home Inspection you may ask?  This is a formal inspection of your home by a licensed home inspector.  The process and price of the inspection is not cheaper than an Official Inspection.  It is a full-blown inspection with data on everything inside and outside your home.  Anything that needs attention or a repair, will be noted and you will be given an estimate on what it would cost to correct by a licensed contractor.  


Why is this important?  Being proactive can save you money when you have the Official Home Inspection after you find a buyer for your home.  This knowledge allows you to correct these items yourself... saving money on labor.  However, keep in mind that certain repairs may not be for a "weekend handyman!"   If you are not an electrician and you decide to do your own electrical repair, watch out!  Not only is this a safety issue for you, but it could backfire on you during the Official home Inspection of your home.  


So, sellers...don't wait to be surprised and caught off guard when you receive a list of repairs requested by a buyer after they had the Official Home Inspection of your home.   Call us for a free consultation!   As real estate agents, we have training and knowledge to recognize areas that need attention.  At that point, you can decide to hire a home inspector or general contractor to check things out more fully before putting your home on the market.  




Which Home Improvements Will Benefit Me The Most When I Sell My Home?

Many people ask us this question.   So, here is the answer....Kitchens and Bathrooms get the most return on your money.


Everything else that you may do to improve your home, should be viewed as a way to make your home more pleasant for you and your family while you are living there.  And plenty of home improvements are in the category of general maintenance.  For example, lets say you decide to replace your HVAC system and spend 5,000-10,000.  You will not be able to ever recoop this money or ask for more when you sell it.   On the flipside... if you spend 5,000 and renovate a bathroom or kitchen, this upgrade will increase the value of your home.  


Below is a great link to a renovation specialists which highlights how those improvements can increase your homes value....


Remodeling/Renovation Chart


And as usual, please feel free to contact us if you'd like to have a personal market analysis of your home. 

Staging....Can I do this myself?

Photo by g-stockstudio/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by g-stockstudio/iStock / Getty Images

The answer to this is YES!  In certain instances, we recommend you hire a professional stager.  However, in most cases the homeowners are well qualified to stage their own home.  


Here are just a few highlights that we can recommend...

#1.  Exterior! can you stage the exterior?  Just a few items can make a difference.  Make sure to paint your front door a popular color, replace your welcome mat and put a great potted plant(s) near your door.  Do you have a deck?  Group your decking furniture and buy outdoor pillows to add color.  In addition, remove anything that doesn't belong.  


#2. Interior...there are many categories to stage your home inside as well.  

- Bathrooms - probably the easiest and most fun is to update the hand towels and any other linens like the shower curtain.  Removing everything off the vanity and only put a single item like a plant or picture.  

- Bedrooms - Declutter is the key.  Then add pillows and a comforter that is in season. 


#3. Magic Erasers...these things are super easy to remove scuff marks off of trim or wall surfaces.  If there are too many scuffs to freshen up, then you will need to bring out the paint.  If this step is mandatory, the best color is a neutral beige on the walls with bright glossy trim.  


These are just a few tips from professionals.  If you would like more advice, you could always look on our Pinterest account.  


And as always, please feel free to contact us if you want a more assistance with staging or selling your home.

Where To Eat... Old Town Petersburg Edition

Where To Eat... 
Old Town Petersburg Edition 

I know this is a real estate blog... but because we are a full service team we want to make sure you know everything about the area that you're moving into has to offer.  So, we thought we'd highlight some of OUR favorite food destinations in Old Town Petersburg, VA.

Demolition Coffee
The baristas at Demolition brew locally roasted coffee from Lamplighter in Richmond.  They do anything from a regular cup of coffee to a dirty chai latte.  This is one of our favorite spots for not only coffee but also for amazing food.  They offer a full breakfast/lunch/dinner menu.
215 E Bank St
Petersburg, VA. 23803

Trapezium Brewing Co.
This brewery is new to the area but is already making their presence known in the booming Richmond craft beer market. Their core beers include Lucky 47 White Ale, Lucky 39 IPA, Lucky 27 Session IPA, Lucky 75 Lemon Honey Ginger along with a variety of seasonal offerings.  And if that wasn't enough they have a perfect combo for that amazing beer... Pizza!  They offer a full menu of artisanal pizza made in their beautiful pizza oven right behind the bar.

423 3rd St
Petersburg, VA. 23803

Dixie Diner
This has been a staple since the 1920's. They specialize in traditional southern cuisine.  From their Famous Dixie Dog to their classic Chicken and Dumplings, there is something on the menu for everyone.

250 N. Sycamore St.
Petersburg, VA. 23803

Buttermilk Bake Shop
Finally, we have something for your sweet tooth. This is a "from scratch", classic American bake shop located in the heart of Old Town.  They make the best pastries south of the James in our opinion. Our personal favorite is the apple fritter.  Rest assured if you finish the whole thing by yourself, the workers there won't judge you...!  They also have fresh donuts behind the counter along with other pastries.  And you can order a custom cake for whatever special event you have coming up.
257 E. Bank St.
Petersburg, VA. 23803

Should You Get Into Real Estate

Have you ever watched those TV shows about flipping homes and wonder about whether real estate might be a good career fit for you?

After all, you could get the inside scoop on buying and selling for yourself.  Or maybe you just want to have a side job to generate income for special projects or investments.


Well, here is the process you need to take.  If you are still inclined when you finish reading, give me a call to discuss your next step.


Education:  Most states require that in order to obtain a license to sell real estate, you need to complete an educational course.  These courses can be taken online or in person.  Make sure the course is provided by an approved vendor.  You will learn all the legal and technical parts to be an agent, however, this does not prepare you to actually sell property.  That comes later in the process. 


Testing:  After obtaining your certificate, you can register to "sit" for your exam.  In Virginia, the agency who regulates our licensing is DPOR.  There is a minimal fee and the exam is split into two components...a state and a national exam.  Don't be alarmed if you don't pass both pieces on the same day. This happens a lot.  Just remember that each time you retake the test, you will be charged that fee again.  Once you pass this part, you will be vetted by DPOR with finger printing, etc.  


Making Money:

In order to sell real estate as an agent, you need to select a brokerage.  Select a few, call their office and ask to speak with a broker so that you can explore what they have to offer.  To make this decision, keep in mind what I said previously about education...while you will know the legal and technical pieces of the job, you need to be trained to do your job.  Every office offers a variety of training, but not all offices continue that training for new agents.  Each brokerage has regular monthly fees that are charged to agents.  Some fees include personal office space rental, leads, signs and websites.  Each broker also varies as to their "splits."  Splits are the percentage of the commission that you keep and what the broker keeps.  So, select carefully.  I recommend putting these all down on a spread sheet or paper to compare.  Once you have made your choice, the broker will prepare the paperwork to "hang" your license with them. 

But, wait...that's not all....  


Spending Money:

Before you can actually do your job, there are a variety of upfront fees to be paid so that you can have access to the tools of a realtor.  There are MLS fees, Association fees, and Lockbox access fees.  In addition, you will need to pay these fees on an ongoing basis...the good thing is that some of them are paid quarterly.   Most agents typically budget these costs when they receive their commission checks.  If you want to know a ballpark figure of what to expect, please give me a call.  


Final thoughts:

I've been a Keller Williams Agent for eight years.  There are many reasons I have chosen to continue to work with them.  

Training:  It is so important to a new agent to have the training to make this a successful career.  This is what KW offers.  In addition, every week there are new classes to help improve our education and our skill level to help buyers and sellers.  

Low Fees:  This helps our bottom line.

Atmosphere:  It truly feels like a family environment with all agents and brokers willing to stop what they are doing to help when there is a need!

National:  Yes, Keller Williams has been around for a long time and continues to grow not only nationally, but also internationally.  This brand recognition is important to clients when selecting an agent to help them buy or sell.  In addition, KW has amazing tools to market our listings!


So, what do you think?  If you want to discuss making a new career move, give me a call!




Kim Harkess - Realtor
Keller Williams Midlothian
(804) 380-2683

Let's Talk About Short Sales...

What is a short sale?


Many have heard the term, short sale.  But what does this mean?


Does it mean the sale takes a short time to complete?  Far from it!


Basically, when a seller needs to sell a home and finds out the value of the home won't be enough to cover the existing mortgage...the mortgage company may agree to take a shorter (or lesser) amount!  Thus, the term "Short Sale" applies.    


Note to sellers...

So, what if you are a seller and in this situation?  Turn to a real estate professional who is skilled in this particular type of sale.  Their experience will save you time and effort.  Hopefully, the end result will be a "win-win" for everyone with the successful sale of your home.


Note to buyers...

Now, what if you are looking to buy a home and you decide that you want to purchase a home that is a short sale?  Remember that this is not an ordinary type of will not take a short time.  Initially, the seller will approve your offer without hesitation.  However, each mortgage lender has several steps that need to be met before approving the short sale.  This process could take weeks and sometimes a few months.  But, at the end of the day, you will be buying a home that has been deeply discounted.  


For more information on who to contact for assistance, give us a call!