Ten steps to help sell your home.

1. Make the most of the first impression. The fewer obstacles between the buyers and the true appeal of your home the better.

2. Invest a few hours for future dividends. Clean, clean, clean. A little paint, touch up, and cleaning can go a long way. A buyer would rather see how great your home looks than hear how great it could look “with a little work.”

3. Check Faucets and Bulbs Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks, and burned bulbs suggest faulty or worn out issues. Take away any potential turnoffs.

4. Don’t shut out a sale. If cabinet doors stick, be sure this is something a buyer will catch. A little effort can go a long way toward a closing.

5. Think safety Make your residence as non perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.

6. Make room for space. Make sure your attic, basements, and closets are clean to show the buyer all the available storage.

7. Make your bathroom sparkle. Check and repair all damed or unsightly caulking.

8. Open in the daylight. Let the sun shine in during the day for showings

9. Lighten up at Night. Turn on all the excitement by turning on all your lights. Lights add warmth and make potential buyers feel welcome.10. Watch your pets. Dogs and Cats are great companions, but not when your are showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. Also, some potential buyers might be allergenic it is best remove all pets and put up their bowls.

In today’s market there are many financing options available. Below are a synopsis of the major programs available.

Fixed-Rate Loans

The fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular mortgage program in use today. Fixed-rate loans offer the borrow a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, typically 15 to 30 years. Borrowers have peace of mind knowing that their monthly payment will not change over time. Conventional fixed-rate mortgages have underwriting requirements established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and require certain down-payment and debt-to-equity ratios to qualify. Fixed-rate loans are especially attractive to buyers who plan to stay in their home for more than a few years.

Adjustable Rate Loans

With an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), the interest rate changes periodically, and payments up or down accordingly. Rates are tied to an index that reflects the cost of money at any given point in time. Generally speaking, lenders charge a lower initial interest rate for the ARM than for the fixed rate mortgage. If you are expecting interest rates to decrease in the future, or if you are trying to maximize your purchase power today knowing your income will rise in the future, then this loan may be right for you. Adjustable rate loans are attractive for buyers who expect to be in the home for a short period of time.

FHA and VA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), offers loans for low-to-moderate-income home buyers. FHA loans have lower down payments, and have relatively easier requirements than conventional fixed-rate mortgages. FHA mortgages have no income restrictions and even those with lower credit scores may be considered. Past bankruptcy does not necessarily disqualify borrowers from using this program!

In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a zero-down mortgage program. To take advantage of this program, borrowers need to be among those listed as veterans and service personnel in the U.S. military. One of the biggest benefits of this program is that it eliminates the need for private mortgage insurance!

Local Homebuying Program

The Chattanooga market has several programs that are available for buyers. USDA, THDA, CNE, and Georgia Dream, are just some of the local programs available here in the Greater Chattanooga area.

Have you been surfing the web looking for the perfect house to make a home for you? I bet you have been looking for several weeks now and if you're like me when I bought my first home you may even feel that real estate agents are scum. My opinion was largely based off my experience with salespeople period. My father had never used a real estate agent, no one I ever knew had used a real estate agent and I never met a real estate outside of the Internet. So I associated real estate agents, Realtors, as pushy salespeople who could not be trusted. I was 20 and looking to purchase my first home.  I knew enough to know that I need a fixed rate mortgage, not to have a bunch of people pull my credit and to shop around the rate and fees. But knowing the importance of a Realtor was nowhere on my list. I searched for homes on my own not knowing the value of being a client of a Realtor. I found my first home online and called the listing agent who in turn showed it to me, but never once asked explained to me the process or what they could do for me. So in turn when I closed and bought the house thirty days later, I found out about the importance of a home inspection, that you could negotiate the seller to pay closing cost, the importance of knowing the seller’s why, the fact you could even get items fixed, and know where you house stands in relation to flood zones. In the end it was a big learning experience, one that I vowed would not be repeated with my buyers if at all possible. 

Here are ten reasons why being a buyer’s agent client not customer is important.

1. As a client the agent can tell you all about the sellers. 

2. The agent you sign can only tell information you allow. They have to keep your confidence if that is what you wish.

3. The agent educates the buyer 

4. As a client it is okay to give advice with facts

5. Attempt to solve problems with the buyer's best interest at heart, not the sellers

6. Negotiate on behalf of the buyer and their interest

7. Provide price counseling

8. Do a comparison on competing properties

9. Promote the buyer’s search. not just the one property of the sellers

10. Recommend financing options that promote the best interest of the buyer, such as the seller paying closing cost

Well, what exactly is a rent to own home?  A rent to own home is where the seller is going to let a buyer move into the home with a down payment (that is usually non-refundable if the property does not close), and make monthly payments until such a date that the buyer obtains their own financing or pays off the home. In some cases the buyer is essentially a glorified renter, because the buyer's name is not on the deed and the current owner still has their name on the title. The current owner/seller can sometimes still have a loan on the property, thus making it impossible for them to transfer the deed. Before the buyer moves into the home a price is negotiated and terms accepted so that there is a set time that the buyer has to have the financing to buy the home. The terms cannot change unless the buyer does not close on the home in the set time. Because the seller sometimes still has a loan on the property if they do not make the payments on the home, the home can be foreclosed on the buyer can be left with nothing. 

So knowing what a rent to own home is can help you determine if it is the right option for you. If you are looking to buy a home and have credit issues that will take less than a year, Rent to own may be a great option. This would allow you to get in a home and start making it yours, building equity, fixing your credit, and allow you to purchase in the next two years. If you are new to an area, or not sure if you want to own, you may just want to do a straight rent and then decided to purchase. 

Before you consider doing a rent to own home, talk with a local lender/loan officer, you may be able to get a loan and purchase the home immediately without putting a deposit on a home. A loan officer can also guide you in the right direction to help “fix” your credit and get you on the track to purchase a home. A local REALTOR can also guide you in the right direction for rent to own homes, rentals, and homes.

Recently, I received an email asking for help in getting their credit scores.

Hi Brandi. My husband and I are needing help with a home first time buyer the only situation we come across is our credit both under 500 and have 6 kids we own a convenience store for 4 1/2 months now but credit not getting better. We are asking for your help on the first time home buyers with poor credit. We are in need soon like by the being of the year. Please contacts us if you can help us we have plenty of people that give us the run around, so if you can help please call immediately. Thanks for listing

First of all I would recommend anyone who has credit in the 500′s to pull their credit and review it to see if there is anything in the file that shouldn’t be there. You may be able to dispute the items with the credit bureaus yourself. Secondly, go and find a local lender that can review your credit and do a what if scenario. This will allow you to see if items are removed and/or paid off what will happen with your score (will it raise the score and by how much). If the local lender cannot help, they will in most cases send you to a local credit repair guy to help settle items on your credit. The whole process can be as short as a 30 days and can usually be completed in twelve months. If you need some local lenders that work with credit repair guys please feel free to contact me.

I want to buy a home…should I just look at homes first?

This is a very common question that I am asked. Here are the first steps I would recommend to anyone who is wanting to buy a home.

1. Ask around to get recommendations for a REALTOR.

A great resource for this would be Zillow, friends, asking on your social media sites, and googling local REALTORS in your area. The reason I would start with finding a good REALTOR that fits with your personality is because the REALTOR can guide you through the rest of the steps and make the home buying process more enjoyable.

2. Set up a consultation with the REALTOR.

A buyer’s consultation is a great way to learn about the process and get information on financing options. Also, a good REALTOR can recommend several lenders that have done a good job of getting loans closed. This is critical if you plan on financing your home purchase and a good local lender is a critical component in the home buying process. After, the consultation you should feel more confident, and your expectations should be have been set by the REALTOR you can also find out if your personality is going to work with the agent.

3. Set up a consultation with a good local lender.

After, taking the recommendations from your REALTOR, friends and family. Call and set up a time that the lender can pre-approve you. I would recommend getting pre-approved. The lender will ask to pull your credit, fill out an application, and in some causes ask you to bring in documentation regarding your job, savings, checking etc.. This step is critical because not only will you know for sure if you can purchase a home, but is you will also know how much you can either qualify or afford per the bank. Once, you have been pre-approved the bank can issue you a letter. This letter is needed if you decided to purchase any homes, especially bank-owned homes. Banks want a letter submitted with the offer.

Once you have completed these three steps, you have put yourself in the driver's seat of the home buying process. You are now ready to either purchase a home now or have been given the steps needed to put you in the driver’s seat by your local lender and REALTOR. You have given yourself a great support system and are now ready to go house hunting.

You have picked your agent, signed the paperwork, the sign is in the yard and the house has been on the market for a month, but you have had no showings. Your home is not on the market for fun. The goal is to get it sold! Here are the top ten reasons your home hasn’t been shown.




Yes, it’s that important. Price sets the tone for the property, where the property is going to marketed and the client who is going to buy your home.

4. Condition

5. Location

6. Bad Photography/No Photos

7. Marketing

8. Curb appeal

9. Listing agent

10. Incorrect/incomplete MLS information

The top five items are things that you as a homeowner control. Yes, your agent does advise you of these items, but ultimately these times are your control.

The last five are the control of your agent. This highlights the importance of choosing an aggressive agent who is going to give you the truth on price, and condition, advertise your property correctly and work with other agents in your market place to get your home sold!