You really should know your CC&Rs (and no, we're not talking about the ‘70s rock band)

There are so many details when looking for a home … your needs, wants and MUST HAVES! When I work with clients, I’m extremely careful to thoroughly research the “Rules of the Neighborhood”--the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions - CC&Rs. I take the time to go over the small print with my clients so there aren’t any surprises. 
Sometimes, I encounter client “must haves” that don’t typically fit in with local HOAs. Some clients have ruled out neighborhoods because of a desire to have more flexible use of their land … be allowed to have horses on their property (or chickens!), put up an above ground pool, have a large shed or pole barn in the yard, the ability to park an RV/camper, boat, work trailer, etc.

“What do you mean, I can’t have a pig for a pet??!” (Sus scrofa domesticus)

Click HERE to learn more about CC&Rs/HOAs

What happens when there’s a problem?

There are any number of problems that can come up if you’re not familiar with the CC&Rs/HOA rules. I’ve known homeowners who’ve widened their driveways (and have had to hire someone to remove the cement), installed a fence that’s too high (and paid to lower it), put up a non-compliant shed (that had to be removed), had to remove an above ground pool or take down a basketball hoop installed in cement … and so on. If you violate the CC&Rs, the penalties can include fines, forced compliance or the HOA may file a lawsuit against you.” ~ Legal encyclopedia on Nolo.com

It’s complicated!
My parents always told us Benjamin Franklin’s famous advice, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” When buyers are looking at homes, it’s critical that ALL of their needs, wants and must-haves are thoroughly communicated with an agent. For most home buyers, a careful reading of the CC&Rs is satisfactory to answer specific questions. In some circumstances however, it pays to have a real estate attorney look deeper into the situation. This can avoid costly, time-consuming and highly emotional confrontations over misunderstandings.

I’ve been in this business a long time, and know the most common reasons homeowners have trouble with their HOAs. I work hard to educate my clients about CC&Rs before they spend time looking in neighborhoods that won’t be a good match!

I was asked last year to serve on the condo association board where our son Andrew purchased a condominium in Midtown. He started his career last May after graduating from Purdue and found it to be so much more affordable (and a good investment!) compared with renting. Our oldest daughter, Brittany, who is in Med School at UTHSC, already lived in the same complex since the summer of 2015. So while I served several years as Secretary of our Rosewood Plantation Owners Association, it’s a very new experience for me to serve as a condominium board member! There sure are some interesting situations that come up! If you have a unique story or related information you’d like to share about your HOA, please let me know.

Know someone looking to buy a home (or thinking about listing??!) I have access to and experience with all the CC&Rs in Collierville and am ready to help!

March 2018

Why you need to be skeptical of online (and out-of-state) lenders... I’ve seen oversights by lenders ruin closings--just last week, in fact!!

When asked about mortgage lenders, I’m always cautious and avoid recommending online services and out-of-state brokers because I’ve seen closings fall through at the last minute. For most clients, meeting their timeline and getting to the closing date smoothly is critical.

Just last week, my sellers were supposed to close on Tuesday; however, the buyer used an out-of-state broker who was running behind, then had a problem where he could not finish their loan and get all the paperwork to the closing attorneys. Consequently, our closing was pushed to the end of the week. While only just a few days, my sellers had to reschedule their movers, change the date for the utilities to switch over and a host of other logistics. It truly is a “domino effect”, if one actor doesn’t do their job, the resulting chain reaction makes everyone mad and creates undue stress.

Being able to work with a local mortgage lender and sit down face to face with an expert can avoid so many problems down the road! There’s a reason it takes time to gather ALL the correct information for a lender. The underwriting process is so very detailed, and any hang-ups can cause deal-breaking delays. If you do choose an online lender, please take time to research your options thoroughly. 

Proceed with caution!

“It’s quite common (though illegal) for online lenders to advertise very low rates in order to entice you to fill out an application. Once they get your whole application, run your credit and get the process started, they’ll tell you that introductory rate is no longer available. There’s little you can do to avoid this, except to keep your options open and pay close attention to every step of the process.

Although online lenders tend to approve applicants with lower credit scores that mortgage brokers will turn down, the interest rates tend to be extremely high for borrowers with poor credit. Just because you can get approved for a mortgage doesn’t mean you can afford to buy a home. If you have a low enough credit score that you’ll pay a higher mortgage interest rate, it’s a better idea to continue to rent as you pay off debt, build your savings, and repair your credit rather than buy a home at an above-market rate.” ~ MoneyUnder30 article

Tread lightly with online forms

“If you use an online mortgage lender, be careful with the online forms as well. Since there is no one there to answer your questions (except maybe a 1-800 number with limited hours), it can be easy to misunderstand the questions on the loan application. If you misinterpret the questions or click “enter” and move on to the next page without reading the fine print, it could result in higher fees or a problem with your approval later down the line. And if you’re doing a home purchase, you need good communication from your lender once you’re in escrow.

If you have an issue with the appraisal or the loan funding and the call center is closed for the weekend or holiday, it might kill the whole deal. Therefore, ask plenty of questions about the lender’s availability and response time. After all, what is the point of going to an online lender who offers lower closing costs than your mortgage broker would if they cause you to fall out of escrow and lose your earnest money.” ~ Advice from Moneyunder30.com

Referrals are helpful!

I’ve worked with a number of hard-working lenders who truly care about their customers and can offer a referral list if you’d like to get started with the pre-approval process. Be sure to research your options thoroughly. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make, and it’s smart to rely on expert guidance.

Know someone looking to buy a home (or thinking about listing??!) I’m ready to help!

February 2018

These top 5 mortgage mistakes can be stressful deal-breakers!

Many of my clients are going through the pre-approval process right now, and I always advise them to BE PREPARED! I’ve seen way too many first-time buyers struggle to gather all the paperwork necessary to get a loan or have their hopes dashed if they don’t qualify.

Click HERE to learn what to prepare for a loan application

Top 5 Mortgage Mistakes
The biggest problem I’ve seen with mortgages is having a delay (or loan DERAIL!) in underwriting.

“Problems can also arise during underwriting. In fact, this is where most problems occur because it’s the most intensive part of the screening process. It is the underwriter’s job to proactively look for problems. So it’s only natural that most issues arise during this stage.” Read MORE about this - QualifiedMortgage.com article

I asked Larry Boyd, Senior Vice President of Patriot Bank, to give me his list of “Top 5 Mortgage Mistakes”

  1. Taking too much time in providing information for the lender to process your loan. Once you think about buying a home, you should have your documents organized to give the lender.
  2. Always get a loan estimate in the price range you are looking. Mortgage payments can sometimes be higher than you anticipate because of such things as property taxes and insurance.
  3. Beware of online lenders. Just because they are online does not mean they are cheaper or easier to deal with.
  4. Do not borrow money right before or during the mortgage process.
  5. Rates can change daily. If you are comparing rates between lenders, always do it on the same day.

Need a recommendation?

There are MANY outstanding local mortgage loan officers I’ve worked with who brought my clients to the closing table successfully (and on time!). If you’ve personally worked with a Mid-South mortgage broker you’d like to recommend, please let me know! I’d like to add them to my list of trusted, client-referred mortgage experts! I always keep up-to-date on “word-of-mouth referrals” for everything my clients may need, including contractors and home services. If you have a rave review for any home-related service, I’d love to hear about it

January 2018

Savvy organizing ideas for our busy lives!
When it comes to our busy lives, one thing that constantly plagues me is clutter around the house. I know busy families with young children have it MUCH worse! I remember the days of having three young children at home. I’d clean one room and 10 minutes later, we’d have to start all over again!

Now that David and I are empty nesters, we’re working even harder to “declutter” our home. From going through kids mementos from over the years, to simplifying our closets and making donations, it’s an ongoing (and seemingly, never-ending!) process. I’ve found some helpful organizing ideas and want to share some tips we can all use! 

Get organized for gift wrapping! CLICK HERE for a great plan!

Now’s the perfect time to declutter your Christmas storage space!

“The holidays are a great excuse to reorganize some of your storage space. Rethink what tools could make your holiday experience more enjoyable. It could be more closet space or a designated gift-wrapping area. When you pull your decorations out of storage, inspect them. Toss any broken ornaments and lights. Donate any decorations you no longer use. Declutter your holiday storage and then reorganize it to save space.” ~ Article: Organizing for Great Holidays

Looking for a way to organize your cleaning supplies? Here’s a great idea! Learn more HERE.

Feeling overwhelmed?
If you need the help of a professional organizer, I can offer recommendations. There are local professionals who can help get your storage spaces in order and make the best use of your living spaces. They also offer professional staging for home listings!

If you need help decorating, there are some very talented designers who can decorate your home, your tree and even provide the best shopping suggestions for everyone on your list! 

Organizing helps homes SELL!
Homes with ample storage space and clever organizing are attractive to buyers. Even if you’re not planning to sell your home, it will make you fall in love with your closets when they’re not JAM PACKED with too much clutter. 

Thinking about listing? Inventory is low, and there are buyers looking for new homes right now! December is a great time to list your home! If you’re wondering what your home could list for, let’s talk. Many homeowners wonder what improvements (including home organizing projects!) will interest potential buyers the most. To learn what’s worth fixing up, and what buyers are looking for now, I can come take a look at your home and offer suggestions.  

Call, text or email me your questions about our community and home selling (& buying!) 
Warm regards,
Maureen
901.674.0954
Maureen@Johngreen.com

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Decmeber 2017

Don't miss out on the best Collierville events in December!

If you ask me what makes a Town truly special, I think of all the activities that make MEMORIES! Last week kicked off Christmas in Collierville, and the Tree Lighting Celebration was a big hit!

Families can enjoy so many activities in Collierville, and attending performances at the Harrell Theatre is a big part of that. If you love theater like I do, you can spend time helping the Collierville Arts Council (CAC). The CAC has such a fun, talented team, and I enjoy volunteering with such positive, uplifting people! I encourage anyone with an interest in theater to sign up to volunteer or donate to this wonderful nonprofit organization that brings so much joy to our community! While you may not have the time or talent to be an actor, there are tasks interested helpers can perform to make things run smoothly (working backstage, the lobby, will call, refreshments, taking tickets or handing out programs). Interested volunteers can email: ColliervilleArtsCouncil@gmail.com or call Terry Dean at (901) 457-2780.

Top right photo: Two of our children, Andrew & Abby at the Square when they were little! Santa and Mrs. Claus last week on the square and bottom right image - pictured with Terry Dean, Executive Director, The Collierville Arts Council

“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”

My family LOVED “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when the kids were younger, and the CAC’s adaptation is outstanding! Tickets are on sale now! Click HERE to view showtimes and purchase. The show runs through this weekend. Friday, Dec. 8th and Saturday, Dec. 9th at 7 pm and Sunday, Dec. 10th at 2:30.

Additional Christmas in Collierville events: (CLICK - Full list)

When it comes to Christmas memories for our family, the Collierville Town Square holds a special place in our hearts! This time of year brings back such fond memories for all of us (and reminds us how fast time flies!)

Want to learn more about how you can get involved?

I would love to connect you with local non-profit organizations, community service events or Town of Collierville citizen volunteer opportunities that fit your interests! Whether you want to roll up your sleeves to work a few hours a month (or simply attend some of the special events offered!), I encourage you to find YOUR Collierville favorites!

When the children were young, it was such a beautiful thing to see the wonder of Christmas through their eyes. Now that our kids are grown, it’s rewarding to volunteer with the organizations that make our special events happen.

If you don't live in Collierville and want to enjoy all these wonderful events and be an active part of the community - I can help you! DECEMBER IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY A HOME!!

Call, text or email me your questions about our community and home buying (or selling!)

Warm regards,
Maureen
901.674.0954
Maureen@Johngreen.com

If you enjoyed reading this article, please sign up for my weekly newsletter. Use THIS LINK to sign up or refer a friend!

The ultimate fall checklist every homeowner can use! 
Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of preventative maintenance. My husband, David, and I are working to prepare our home for winter, and I always pass along helpful advice to my clients preparing their homes to list. For those thinking about selling a home in the coming months, these tips are critical to avoid unwanted surprises!

CLICK for checklist & newsletter


Economic Development Talk with John D. Duncan

Want to know what's going on with development in Collierville? 
On October 17th, I attended an excellent presentation by John D. Duncan, Director of Economic Development for the Town of Collierville: "Navigating the Competitive Waters of Economic Development." Topics covered: residential, retail, industrial and office development in our Town (including a discussion about the proposal to bring Amazon to our area!). Read more about new restaurants and businesses coming to Collierville here: 

CLICK to read newsletter



Top 10 mortgage tips for potential buyers

Home buyers need to do a lot of homework! When I work with new buyers, I always suggest they prepare EVERYTHING needed for a mortgage lender, so they can get their pre-approval letter quickly! Learn more HERE in my newsletter! Questions? Let’s talk! 901-674-0954

Real estate is a lot like a major theater production

There are so many players involved! If you’ve attended the theater and seen a play where the lighting is off, or the actors miss their cues or the music is not timed perfectly, it’s just a mess. You cringe watching it all fall apart. Just trying your best and hoping it all works out is not enough in front of a live audience and it’s certainly not enough when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Theater work and real estate both take expert planning, timing and practice to make it all come together perfectly. Consider all the players and action!

Coordinating Possession

Moving Companies

Utilities

Inspectors

Bankers - Loan Officers

Repair and service work

It’s not easy making it LOOK easy, but when it works, there’s nothing more rewarding!  When the curtain falls, and the actors come out to applause and have tears of joy, that’s what I feel like at each closing. My clients and I are in this “big production” together, it’s one of the biggest moments of their lives. We’ve worked so hard on the journey to get to closing and it’s a huge moment! 

In all my experience, one closing stands out as the EPIC CLOSING OF ALL TIME. For me, that involved an amazing and complicated succession of events to make timing work out (4 clients + 4 agents + 4 real estate companies = 1 momentous closing date!)

CLICK to read full newsletter

Maximizing the selling price of your home:

When it comes to listing your home for sale, it's critical to get the MOST out of your investment dollars. The best way to do that is selecting an agent with a high level of experience in negotiating to maximize the value of your home sale. Leveraging an agent's connections, unique knowledge, and track record of success will earn you a successful, smooth closing. The second way to boost your home’s value is by making smart home improvement choices. Whether you plan to list your home next month or next year, it’s wise to map out the best plan for getting it ready for market (and pick the best real estate sherpa for the journey!)

CLICK to read what to consider for realtor "Must Haves" (and where to invest your home improvement dollars for the best return!)

What you need to know about property condition disclosure & home inspections:

If you’re thinking about listing a home or buying a home, disclosure is more complicated and important than you may think. If buyers find unexpected problems, costly lawsuits could haunt a home sale years after closing.
There are so many critical questions you need to answer when listing a home. Have claims been filed? One of the biggest issues is water damage. If there’s been water intrusion and no mention of it in the seller’s disclosure, that’s a big problem!

CLICK to read full newsletter

5 ways to avoid a closing fiasco!

Don’t go shopping for new furniture YET…

Many people think they’re in for smooth sailing once they’ve been approved by a mortgage lender. If you have the pre-approval letter in hand, keep in mind, you still need to focus on smart spending until closing is complete and you have your house key in hand!

Don’t start buying the new furniture for the house before closing! The lender will run ANOTHER credit check just before closing. 

Advice for homebuyers applying for mortgages:

1. Don't be late. 

2. Don't add to any existing credit card balances.

3. Don't apply for any new credit accounts.

4. Don't close unused accounts.

5. Don't dispute anything on your credit report.

CLICK to read full newsletter - How to get to closing smoothly...