Monthly Archives: August 2015

Life on the Farm: The Urban Farmer

Backyard-Farming

As we get closer to the end of long summer days and begin our courtship with autumn’s harvest moons, it is worth mentioning a new trend appearing in the housing market: the backyard farm. With society becoming more and more health & environmentally conscious, folks are beginning to take matters into their own hands, or yards. Fresh fruits and vegetable gardens are sprouting up, bees are being cultivated and there are even a few instances of livestock where you aren’t used to finding them – the city.

Having a backyard farm is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of work goes into creating this type of backyard. There are rules that need to be followed and making sure it’s all up to code with the city and/or an HOA takes some time and effort. Of course, then there’re always the neighbors. If having things like bees or chickens is something that suits your fancy, making sure it’s good with everyone surrounding you is something that must be done. No one wants to be shocked awake every morning by a rooster or stung by a bee while swimming in their pool on a warm day. Keeping everything kosher may involve some bribery, like a BBQ or some home-brewed beer as a token of appreciation for being so cool with things. But once all of the politics are cleared up, the fun can begin.

But what does that do to the sale of a home? How does a buyer see this built-in responsibility? Is it a perk or a deal-breaker? I suppose, it all depends on the buyer. What you need to do as a realtor is show the upside of having this type of yard. Mention the fantastic condition the soil is in from seasons of use and how much money could be saved by growing their own. Make sure the hives or coops are in good condition so it is seen as a pleasure rather than as a hassle. Stage the home with the fruits from the garden. Create a centerpiece of tomatoes or squash blossoms and make sure to highlight areas where vegetation grows best, like an herb garden windowsill. Features like chicken runs and raised garden beds have not only been cared for, but can also be repurposed to suit the new owner’s needs, for example turned into safe place for a dog to exercise. Those that are into sustainable practices, will be excited that steps were already taken before they have even moved in and those with pets could be excited that there is a designated place for their pet to run without disturbing the overall landscape.

The point is to focus on promoting these landscapes as lifestyle-friendly features that can be easily modified to fit needs of new homeowners. In fact, knowing in depth the rules and regulations that may affect the sale of a property will only benefit your business, as a real estate agent. Having knowledge a client can use when deciding on a new home purchase is a win-win situation. Put tips about seasonal vegetation or an article on how to keep a garden vibrant into your newsletter. Even folks that have a plant or two can benefit from this facet of your real estate repertoire.

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Rebels without a Cause: The FSBOs

rebel-without-a-causeIn the real estate agent game of drumming up new listings, there is one group of folks that are the most difficult nuts to crack. These are the FSBOs, or for sale by owners. For one reason or another, this particular group of sellers believes that a job done right is a job done themselves. And under a lot of circumstances, this may be the case. But in the world of real estate, that is more likely false than not. There are lots of reasons why they believe that they are best suited for the job. So how do you convince them otherwise? Crack the code as to WHY they think they’re best suited for the job.

More times than not, it’s a money thing. In fact, the majority of FSBOs will say that money is the main reason why they do not elicit professional help. It could be that they do not want to lose money by paying a commission. Some don’t mind the commission, but they don’t want to pay a commission to an agent that has given them poor representation. The key is to find out the actual motive. Then present them with information they need to get them on board. Show them what resources you have to represent their home; many times the seller’s range is very limited. Show them what they could actually list the home for; many believe tacking on an additional cost to their listing price will make it impossible to sell. Prove to them that your help is only going to end up beneficial to them selling their home quickly and profitably.

Some sellers would just like to stay hands-on. As you learn more about their reasons why, you will find that many of these sellers end up just being disgruntled by past experiences. Your job is to convince them that you are more than capable of earning their trust, and their business. They need to be assured that you are going to lead them down the correct pathway to closing the sale. This is a very stressful time in a seller’s world. The uncertainty of the market, and the selling process in general, can lead to more problems than they are aware of. Alert them of the risks they face by selling on their own. Make sure they understand some general pitfalls to going FSBO. Sweeten the deal by offering the services of professionals you have relationships with, such as lawyers or lenders, for free. Have a variety of pricing structures for these types of situations, or offer to work without a long-term agreement if it makes them feel more comfortable. The more you show that you are on their side, the more they will be willing to sign with you.

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Don’t Fence Me In

fence.

The famous cowboy song may not want to be fenced in, but there are definitely times when a fence is exactly what we want. When it comes to neighbors, it really is a coin toss…and there’s nothing worse than when it lands the other way. If there are little family members in the household, both human and otherwise, it practically becomes a necessity. Of course it could also be as simple as you wanting to add a little enhancement to your landscape. Big, small, cosmetic, security, wooden or natural, a fence is one housing accessory that has an answer to any, and all, of your needs. And what better time to add “new fence” to your honey-do-list than in the summer? But before you head on over to the nearest home improvement store, there are a few things to consider…

If you plan on lining your property line with this new fence, make sure you know where your property line is located. You really don’t want to peeve the neighbors by going too far over. You can check this line by going over your house location drawing or plat. If you don’t have them, check with your county offices. They generally have a free download on their website for you.

Once you know where you can put your fence, the next step is check with any type of city zoning regulations regarding height and other restrictions. If you have an HOA, finding out their rules will also need to be a priority. There is no sense in taking the time to build a fence you may have to tear down because drivers can’t see around it or learning after the fact that you can’t plant that shrub in your neighborhood or have a synthetic grass upfront.

And if you are planning to add a fence along your property line, here are just a couple of neighborly tips: Give your neighbors the heads up. You don’t have to give them all of the details, but a simple “Hey, I’m thinking about building a fence.” would be a lovely gesture. If you’re going with wooden option, give them the pretty side. It’s actually pretty typical for you to have the crossbars. And finally, maintenance. It’s your fence, it’s your problem. All of the upkeep and repair is your responsibility.

This blog was created as a great addition to your real estate newsletter. Please feel free to share these home improvement tips with your current & prospective clients. Don’t have a newsletter? We can help you with that! We offer a fully customized newsletter to get your name out and into the hands of your community. Contact us today to learn what top producers have been doing!

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It’s Like a Heatwave!

heat_wave

As we begin to wrap up the summer season with our hottest month, it is important to make sure that we all stay extra cool and hydrated. Keeping our body temperatures down is absolutely necessary to ensure that we don’t overheat, which can lead to lots of health issues, both treatable and fatal. And while we are taking extra precautions for our own health, we should also pay special attention to our furry family members. Not only is the heat dangerous, but the humidity can also lead to issues. Taking your pet’s temperature, especially on those extra humid days, will help monitor any health needs.

Like anything, always keep common sense at hand. Don’t leave your pets in a car while you run errands. It doesn’t really matter how long you’re gone. A typical summer day of 85 degrees can raise the temperature inside a car to 102 degrees in 10 MINUTES. Imagine how hot it gets if you leave for a half hour! Just leave your furry buddy at home.

If you’re used to taking your dog out for exercise in the afternoon, you might want to reschedule that fun to a much cooler part of the day. In addition to your typical overheating, pets with white-colored ears are prone to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets have difficulty breathing. So on those extra hot and/or humid days, take them out early in the morning or as the sun begins to set. If they’re just hanging out in the yard, provide them with plenty of shade and water. You can even soak in cold water a vest or mat to lie on.

But who are we kidding? If there’s one thing that will beat the heat, it’s ice cream. And while there are plenty of store brand varieties, there are also tons of DIY recipes you can make at home. You know what flavor your furry buddy likes, why not take a stab at it?

It’s important to take care of ourselves and our loved ones on these extra hot days. Heat stroke is something that affects EVERYBODY and our pets can’t let you know when it’s coming on. So make sure you look after everyone involved. Happy August…be safe!

This blog was created as a great addition to your real estate newsletter. Please feel free to share these summer safety tips with your current & prospective clients. Don’t have a newsletter? We can help you with that! We offer a fully customized newsletter to get your name out and into the hands of your community. Contact us today to learn what top producers have been doing!

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