What Questions Should You Ask a Realtor Before Hiring Them?

You shouldn’t just hire the first Realtor you meet off the street. You must take time to interview them and ask them specific questions to get an idea of what your results will look like.

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Most people just hire the first Realtor they talk to. A lot of them don’t take the time to ask important questions that will impact the success of your transaction. Today we wanted to answer the question of “How do I choose a Realtor?” We’ll go over some tips and talk you through some questions that you should be asking before you hire someone. 1. How long have you been in the business? This is an important thing to know because you’d be surprised at how big of a role experience plays. Even after 30 years in the business, there are still situations that pop up that I’ve never seen before. The more experience you have, the better you can negotiate, and the quicker you can get to the closing table. 2. How many homes did you sell last year? If an agent has been in the business their whole life but only sells a few homes per year, they don’t have as much experience as someone who has only been in the business 10 years but works in real estate full-time. Experience is important, but so is the level of activity an agent has in the market on a regular basis. 3. How close are your list prices to your final sale prices? The final sale price is the most important piece of information, but the closer an agent can get you to your initial asking price, the better.

The more experience you have, the better you can negotiate.

There are several other questions you should ask and if you’d like to know what they are, I’d be glad to help out. Just give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Why You Should Buy Your Next Home This Winter

Today we're discussing why, contrary to popular belief, fall and winter is actually a perfect time to buy a home.

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Are the fall and winter months a good time to buy a home? This is a question I get quite often.

You might be surprised to hear that it's actually a perfect time to buy a home. Why? For starters, home prices are normally lower at this time of the year. Stats from RealtyTrac analysis from more than 32 million home sales show that buyers who purchased a home in October paid 2.64% below estimated value. That great deal you're looking for could be out there this time of year.

Additionally, there is less competition on the market since there are fewer homes for sale. Simply put, this means there will be fewer buyers out and about. Also consider that the holidays are right around the corner. Sellers who had their homes on the market during the summer probably want to be out of their house and into their new one before the holidays hit, so they are motivated to sell. You'll have the added bonus of moving into your new home before the holidays, too.

Less competition means you can get a better deal.

Finally, there are year-end tax credits to be taken advantage of. There are credits for buying a house before the end of the year as opposed to waiting for next year.

If you have any other questions about buying in the fall or winter months or you're ready to buy now, give us a call or send us an email. We'd be happy to help!

The Latest Clarksville Market Statistics

Today we're here with the latest numbers for the Clarksville real estate market. The market is starting to shift, though. We'll discuss how the shift will affect both buyers and sellers today.

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We are back again to talk about one of our favorite topics: the latest market statistics. We’ve got the latest numbers for the Clarksville market and we think you may be surprised by some of them.

The biggest thing to note is that right now we only have 1,279 properties on the market for sale. That might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. At this time last year, we had 1,600 to 1,800 homes for sale. As a result, when we head into spring, we’ll have lower inventory at that time. This is just another reason that you should purchase your home now.

Buying now is your best bet.

Here are some more important statistics to take note of:

  • Closed sales are up by 15% over last year, from 2,958 to 3,401
  • The average sales price is up by 13.08% over last year, from $168,600 to $173,800
  • The average days on market has decreased by about 5.4%, from 92 to 87 days

We are slowly shifting toward a seller’s market, so now is the time for buyers to get out there and strike a deal. If you have any questions for us about buying or selling, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

What Are Your Options After a Low Appraisal?

When you get a low appraisal, the transaction isn’t over. There are a number of ways buyers and sellers can work together to resolve the issue.

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Low appraisals aren’t ideal, but they don’t have to kill a transaction. If you get a low appraisal, we have some tips to share on how you should approach it.

The first option is to cancel the deal outright. This typically doesn’t happen, but it can. A lot of times, the seller will decide to challenge the appraisal by submitting additional comparable properties to the appraiser through their agent in order to justify their price. At that point, it’s up to the appraiser to decide whether to increase the home’s value or not.

Sellers typically take one of two courses of action in our market.

We are in a VA market, so sellers typically take two courses of action when they get a low appraisal. Some will just put the home up for rent, while some will actually end up lowering their price to meet the appraisal. Sometimes, they will negotiate closing costs. There are a lot of different options depending on the type of loan you have.

If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!

Why Home Inspections Are So Important

Why are home inspections so important? How do they differ from appraisals? Who pays for it? These are all crucial questions in the home buying process.

Why should you get a home inspection when buying a home in Clarksville? 

This is a question that we get a lot. We also find that people get home inspections and appraisals mixed up. An appraiser may look at a crawlspace for water, for example, but an inspector is actually going to get in the crawl space to thoroughly make sure everything is OK. It's important to understand the difference between the two and what they do.

How do you choose a home inspector? Usually, your Realtor can recommend several, or you can look in the phonebook. You want to make sure they are a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors. 

Who pays for the home inspector? Typically, the buyer pays. It's important for the buyer to be present during the inspection to learn about how to maintain your home and keep it in good shape for resale value.

Make sure they’re a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors.

People also commonly (and mistakenly) think that the inspector is there to point out every little thing wrong with a home. The inspector is really there to look at heating, plumbing, electrical, and structural aspects of the home, like the roof, the doors, the windows, and other things like that. Cosmetic flaws should be addressed in the initial offer before the inspection.

If you have any other questions about home inspections or about the Clarksville market, give us a call or send us an email. We'd be happy to answer them for you!

How We Helped Joan Sayyah by Assisting the Sale While She Was Away in Florida

The results were more than I ever expected. I became a widow. I had to sell a very large and different kind of house. It was a 4 generation house and I knew I didn’t expect it to sell as quickly as it did. We did all the preparation and I had a contract within 10 days. Unfortunately it was a VA loan and they were very picky on every requirement, the things to repair, and things they wanted to see done. Anything that was major was fixed. We had a particular problem with the well. It was put in by a local person. The VA wanted person certified by the state or higher. They didn’t like the license that this person had. What it did was, it held up my moving. I had given Valerie permission to act in my behalf. And every time something came up they would call me up, they would fax me the papers, and I would sign them and fax them back. I guess the bottom line is I was moving my family to Florida and I couldn’t be in both places at one time, nor did I have the money to run back and forth, and they just made it more comfortable for me and they got it done. I think they went above and beyond for me. The whole team. It was different people that took care of different parts of it.

 Joan Sayyah - Home Seller

How We Helped Kim Santiago by Using Our Experience to Set up Her Home for a Successful Sale

I got personal attention. In my personal attention they figured out what I needed, what I wanted, and they were there for me. Sometimes when you are looking buy or sell you kind of get too much at one time, but they always kept me focused. And I really appreciated that and working with Valerie is just awesome. She came to the house before we even had it on the market and told me all the things that we needed to do to make it sellable. And I think a lot of her experience in selling homes really pointed us in the area that we needed to work on. It’s unbelievable how quickly our house sold. I really treat it all to coming in, setting up what we needed to do for the painting that we needed to do and not just the pretty things, but the main things that we needed to do to sell the house. I think that’s the reason we sold the house so quickly.

 Kim Santiago - Home Seller

How's The Clarksville Market Doing?

The Clarksville market is still heating up and it's still busy. For a better idea about how our market is doing, let's take a look at stats from last year compared to this year.

Year over year, the number of closed sales and the closing price are both up. Closed properties increased 15.9% from 1,999 to 2,316 and the average listing price increased from $170,000 to $174,100. You can list a home at whatever price you want, but what are these homes actually closing at?

Well, sales are up and market prices are up, too. The average sale price in Clarksville rose by $6,000 from $167,000 to $173,000, or a 3.5% increase. After having a relatively flat market for three years before this, that 3.5% increase is great. 

The other very important stat in this market is the sales-to-list price ratio. This is the percentage of the asking price that homes are selling for. Last year in our market, homes were selling at 98.23% of list price, and this year, homes are selling at 99.37% of list price. Sellers are getting close to full asking price!

Sales and market prices both rose since last year in Clarksville.
Buyers who see a home out there they want need to make their best offer because there is not much room for negotiation! We just listed a house that had seven showings and two offers in one day. The market is hot.

It's a great market for buyers if you work with an agent who can help you compete. It's a great market for sellers because of the market values.

If you have any questions about our market, feel free to give me a call or send me an email anytime. I'd love to hear from you!

How Can I Make My Home Attract Millennial Buyers?

Millennials are becoming an important segment of the home buying market. What can you do make your home more attractive to these buyers? Here are four things that Millennials are looking for in a home: 

1. Rooms with modern functionality. Millennials are not looking for generic rooms, but rather media rooms as opposed to living rooms, spas instead of bathrooms, and studios in place of garages. Closet space and open floor plans are also a must.

2. High-efficiency, low-maintenance landscaping. Millennials aren’t interested in things like elaborate gardens that require a lot of outside work, but fun landscaping embellishments like hammocks could potentially catch a Millennial’s eye.

3. Storage options. In our area, big storage spaces are an absolute must for Millennials as well as military buyers.

4. Walkability. Though it’s a bit difficult to come by in our area, Millennials enjoy convenience and being close to communities with nearby stores, restaurants, and bike paths. Clarksville is working on expanding our downtown area, which will allow more access to these kinds of amenities for potential buyers.
Open floor plans are a must!
If you have any other questions about how to improve your home to appeal to Millennials based on these suggestions, please give me a call or send me an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

How We Helped David Bryant by Giving Him the Right Insight to Upgrade His Home

Very Professional and very knowledgeable. They had a great team from start to finish with all of the different individuals whether it be the ones that were prepping you, or showing the house, or helping you make arrangements and suggestions for upgrades. It was an all-around great experience on how they treat the customer and how they give you the right direction for when you are trying to sell your home because it was my first time selling a home so it was all new to me. And they made the process easy to understand. They helped me be able to take all of my upgrades that I was paying a lot out of pocket for and incorporate those in a final closing cost and be able to be reimbursed for the upgrades I had to pay out of pocket initially upfront. Everything they suggested, as far as upgrading whether it be the lighting fixture or hardware or flooring, helped the house tremendously become more visible. There were several showings and once I made all of their suggestions that they talked about complete, the house sold rather quickly.

 David Bryant - Home Seller

Don't Show Your Hand When Selling Your Home

As a seller, there are certain things you should never say when selling your home.

For starters, I always encourage my sellers to leave their home when a buyer is coming to see it. I do caution, not to leave until the buyer arrives, because sometimes they don't show up. When I was selling my house, for example, when a buyer showed up for a viewing, they'd come in one door and I'd leave out another.

If you happen to be there, you have to be cautious as a seller. Most of the questions they'll ask are public information, but they're also there with an agent, who will also be asking questions. If you answer certain questions, you may not realize you're giving away information. They may ask about sales price, and how long the home has been for sale. That's public information, but you don't need to give that out. A seller might say "It's been on the market for sale for X amount of time and I really wish this house would sell," giving the agent leverage.

The standard answer should be, "You need to talk to my Realtor."

Don't say anything that
gives away your position.

It's the same with questions about your motivation to sell. It might be a divorce, or job transfer, or anything really - the agent is fishing for information. They'll take these things into consideration when writing their offer. Another common question agents will ask is if you're considering any price reductions. Can you believe they even ask this? You'd be surprised what buyers ask. Again, your standard answer should be, "You need to talk to my Realtor." Remember, they're working for their buyer.

You may also be asked how many offers you've received. You don't want to give your position away, because we want to get the highest possible price for your home.

Those are just a few things to avoid saying when you sell your home. There are many more things that could jeopardize your sale. For a full rundown of ways to protect yourself when listing a home, give us a call. We'd love to talk to you about the rest of our tips.

How the Air Assault Team made selling my first house a great experience.

"Very professional, very knowledgeable, a great team from start to finish with all the different individuals. Whether it be the ones that are prepping you or showing the house or helping you make arrangements or suggestions for up-grades, just all around a great experience on how they treat their customers. And, on how they give you the right direction for when you are trying to sell your house. Because it was my first time selling a house, so it was all kind of new to me. It made the process very easy to understand. They helped me be able to take all of my up-grades that I was paying a lot out of pocket for and be able to incorporate those in the final closing costs and kinda be able to be reimbursed for paying for the up-grades that I had payed out of pocket for initially up front. And everything they said yes, whether it was the light-fixtures or hardwood flooring, everything helped the house tremendously become more visible and there were actually several showings. And once I made all the suggestions that they talked about complete, the house sold rather quickly"

-David Bryant

4 Tips to Make Your Home Look Larger

How do you make a small home look bigger? If you bought a small home and are looking to sell, there are a few things you can do to make it look larger than it actually is to entice buyers:

  1. Use mirrors. Mirrors make any room look larger. They’re inexpensive and you can use various types for bathrooms, kitchens, and family room areas. Just remember not to get too ornate.
  2. Don’t set out large furniture. If you have large furniture and you’re ready to sell, you need to move some of it out. That will open up the interior space and make it look clean.

    Decluttering and removing
    large furniture will open up
    the interior space.

  3. Declutter. Clutter closes your spaces off and makes your rooms look smaller.
  4. Hang curtains higher on the wall. If you have curtains in a small room, move those curtains all the way up to the ceiling. High ceilings are something buyers look for, and moving your curtains up will make yours seem taller.

To get more detailed information, or if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, shoot us an email or give us a call. We’d love to talk to you.

Helping Baby Boomers Find a New Home

The Air Assault Team deals with many clients in the type of market affected by an increasingly familiar trend: baby boomers looking to downsize or relocate to a different area.

Unfortunately, this is not always an easy thing. The process requires a special insight augmented by the type of valuable experience Valerie Kelly-Hunter and The Air Assault Team offers.

One person who knows this very well is former client, Perceita Beasley. As a lifelong resident of Clarksville, her decision to move to Orlando, Florida didn’t come easy. It took her about a year to make up her mind.

With most people of her age group, the decision is difficult before they’re even ready to sell. You have to choose things like where, and how far you’re willing relocate. Then you have to make sure the house is in the right condition to be sold.

The home sold before
it was even listed!

By the time she was motivated to sell, we had a plan in place to complete the rest of the process. Combining this with Beasley’s own due diligence, the home sold before it was even listed! When asked what was the best thing that was done for her, Beasley couldn’t just single out one thing. She explained how easy the process was with the team’s support.

Her experience was the simple effect of having a streamlined staff in place that understands the needs and wants of its clients and creates a kind, caring atmosphere out of what would’ve otherwise been a stressful situation. She highly recommends our services as a result!

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the surrounding area, give me a call or send me an email! I’d be happy to answer your questions about this topic or more.

How the Air Assault Team sold our house quickly despite some difficulties that came up.

"They were awesome. They actually got our house sold in six days. Now, I know it’s not all because of their effort, but a combination of a lot of efforts, but they did a really great job and went way out of what you would expect a real estate company would do to get it sold. We actually, there were a lot of things on our replacement report once the house was inspect and they worked tirelessly to get all of those things resolved and actually volunteered to hold money for like, six weeks in escrow at their company for, who purchased our house to get these repairs done. So, even after we closed on the property, they were still really involved in trying to get closure for everyone concerned."
-Christina Jablonske

What Is an Acceptable Offering Price for a Clarksville Home?

People are always wondering what a fair price for a home would be in Clarksville, especially in such a busy market. There is a very fine line between offering too little or too much when you put an offer in on a home.

So, how should you price your offers? I recommend that you look at the list-to-sale price ratio of homes in your neighborhood. The list price is what the sellers initially asked, and the sale price is the final price of a home. Our current list-to-sale price ratio is 98%, so you can get away with offering just a touch below the market value.

You can get away with offering
just below the list price.

However, this strategy will not work everywhere. It depends on what market you’re in and how competitive it is. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about this. 

Stay tuned for more market updates and excellent information about the Clarksville real estate market!

How Do I Buy and Sell Simultaneously in Clarksville?

Lately, many sellers have asked me, “Can I buy a home and sell my current home at the same time?” The answer is yes. It seems incredibly overwhelming, but it certainly can be done with the right real estate agent.

It’s not as scary to us, since we see this quite often. A common concern is that if you don’t sell your home in time for closing your new one, you will have two house payments. Another scenario is that you might have to rent a place before finding a home.

Certain situations call for
contract contingencies.

However, these situations call for contingencies in contracts. The kick-out clause allows a home to be listed for sale, but you will have time and the first right of refusal if you have a contract on a home already. It’s a little complicated, yes, but that’s what we’re here for. We want to help this process be a smooth transition for you.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the surrounding area, reach me by phone or email. I’d be happy to help answer any questions you have about real estate or more!

Clarksville Real Estate Market Update

The real estate market statistics are in for Clarksville. We track market statistics every week, and it’s exciting to see the market change week to week. Today, we wanted to give you a market update for the first quarter of 2016!

In 2015, 941 homes closed. This year, 1,120 houses sold. That’s a 19% increase in home sales! This data proves that the market is incredibly active right now. If you’re a buyer, you need to put your best offer forward. 

The average list price hovered around $161,900. This year, the average list price is $166,300. That’s a 2.7% increase in list price. However, the average price a home closed for is what truly reveals market appreciation.

In 2015 the average price a home closed for was $159,500. In 2016, the average closing price is $163,900. That’s a $4,400 difference, and a 2.75% increase in appreciation. That might not seem like much, but since we’ve had a flat market for the last five years, that’s great news. Also, it’s important to understand that the appreciation rate is going up a quarter-percent each month. 

Finally, the average days on market has gone up slightly this year. In 2015, the average days on market was 91, and this year, the average is 99.  Houses are staying on the market just a little bit longer, but sellers are getting more money. 

What does this mean to you?  As a buyer, if you want your dream house, don’t bother with a lowball offer. Make a full-price offer, because you are going to be competing against other buyers. Sellers, now is a great time for you to capitalize on your home sale. 

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

What Do Recent Clarksville Market Trends Mean for Home Values?

Today, I want to take a look at market data for 2014, 2015, and 2016 in order to get a better idea of where our market might be heading. Taking a step back and looking at trends is a great way to anticipate what’s to come in our area. 

In 2014, we had 371 closed properties. In 2015, the number fell slightly to 361. However, this year, we’ve already closed a whopping 423 homes for an increase of 17%! 

In 2014, the average listing price was at $154,700. It rose in 2015 to $162,000 before rising just a bit this year to $163,100. It’s a small rise in price, but we think that home values are only going to continue appreciating throughout the year. 

For the average sales price, we saw a substantial increase between 2014 and 2015, from $151,600 to $160,300. This year, the average sales prices have only risen a bit, to $160,500. What these statistics tell me is that the market is growing at a slower, but more sustainable, rate -- which is great news for area homeowners.

The average days on market has been holding pretty steady over the last few years, bouncing from 92 days in 2014 to 89 days  2015 back up to 98 days in 2016. The average list-to-sale-price ratio has also been pretty steady. In 2014 it was hovering around 98%, and is currently at 98.4%. In other words, sellers are getting  what they ask for their home which is indicative of a healthy market. 

These numbers are a good sign for the Clarksville area real estate market, and we only expect them to improve. If you have any questions about conditions in your neighborhood, or if you need real estate assistance of any kind, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!

Where Are Interest Rates Going to Be Heading?

Today we are very excited to be joined by Yolanda Stewart, a Mortgage Loan Officer from F&M Bank with over 17 years of experience. She’s a retired military officer, and is here today to answer some of the most common questions we’ve been getting about loans and interest rates. Let’s start off with the big question we’ve been getting, what are the current interest rates?

Rates are dynamic, and always subject to change. They are also based on a buyer’s individual case. However, Yolanda currently offers rates as low as 3.25% for a 30-year fixed VA or FHA mortgage, and rates as low as 3.75% on conventional 30-year fixed loans.

Rates have held steady as of late, and have even dipped down in the last few weeks. Even people with fairly decent credit scores can take advantage of these low rates. We can get someone with a credit score of 600 or above that same 3.25% interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Yolanda works with some of the top mortgage banks in the country, and it allows her to compete with anyone out there for the lowest price. She is a correspondent lender, meaning that she has met the criteria to function as an extension of the big banks, and offer rates even lower than they can.

There are many factors that affect interest rates, including things you can and can’t control. Inflation is one of those things you can’t control. If it’s high, rates will be high too. The same goes with home demand. When home demand picks up, so do interest rates.

There are, however, factors you can control. You should shop around for a rate, and don’t be afraid of doing so. When banks compete, you win. Protecting your credit and being mindful of your activity and credit card balances is also important. If you can keep them under 50% of the limit, it will keep your score low.

Although she doesn’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, Yolanda predicts that based on the most recent data and indicators, rates will hold steady at these historically low levels for the foreseeable future.

If you have any questions for us about this topic, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!

What Makes Clarksville Such an Affordable Place to Own a Home?

To rent or to buy? That is the question for many people in the Clarksville area. There are a few things to consider.

As you know, we’re in a military market. If you’re military and have been renting, the military pays a portion of your rent. What most people don’t know, however, is that you could be using that money to purchase a home and probably spend less than what you’re spending now! Your allowance for quarters will, in many cases, cover your mortgage payment!

Even if you’re not military, it’s still beneficial to buy instead of rent. Interest rates are still incredibly low and, because rates are so high here, monthly mortgage payments are often less than the cost of rent!

If you have VA eligibility, which a lot of people do here, there is no down payment involved when buying a home! If you’re not eligible, there are still many great mortgage packages available for you! We work with some of the best lenders in the business, so we would love to help you find a financing option that works best for you.

Closing costs can sometimes come out to be as much as 4% of the sales price of the house. Here in Clarksville, being a military town, depending on what your offer is, sellers will actually pay those closing costs for you! This reinforces the fact that you can often purchase a home for much cheaper than it is to rent!

If you want to find out more about whether you’re eligible to purchase a home, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to hear from you!