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Home Inspections

Home Inspections

 

Most real estate agents will tell you their least favorite part of the real estate process is the home inspection. Why? To sum it up in a few words- buyers and sellers get too caught up in this part of the transaction.  In my opinion, HGTV has created over expectations. Many contracts fall apart from uncompromising parties about simple repairs or home maintenance items.

  • What is a home inspection and what should I expect?  A home inspection is supposed to be a look at the house to find major structural or mechanical issues with a home. In recent years, this has evolved into more of a battle between the buyer and seller. Buyers want a home in perfect condition whereas sellers have lived with some of the simpler quirks of their home and see no reason to fix the door which doesn’t shut so easily, for example. An inspector tries to look at all the components of a home and usually has to do so in a short time frame. They cannot possibly find everything wrong with a home in one visit. All home inspectors will miss things from time to time and will write up items which are not necessarily defective or broken. They simply note what they find and do not investigate the reason an item is not working. Example – light fixture not working – may only be a bad bulb but the inspector does not have time to check this in the short time they are onsite for the inspection.
  • What will my inspection report look like? When I first began my real estate career, an inspection report was approximately 2-3 pages long and handwritten. Most had estimates of repairs which was very helpful. Now they are 20-150 pages depending on the software program an inspector is using which many times will include pictures of defects found. Keep in mind that these photos are usually magnified to show what was written up and often look worse than they really are. The “Summary” is where the most pertinent information lies and where most requests for repairs should come from.
  • What do I do with this report? It should be used to ask for reasonable repairs not everything noted on the report. If you are buying a home that has already been occupied, there will be items on the inspection report which are valid and some which are not.  Does a seller have to repair them all? No. And usually they don’t. This is where having a realtor is important. As a realtor, we can help to mediate this part of the transaction. Most of the time it is not worth losing a really nice home over a few hundred dollars for repairs!
  • Where should I find my home inspector? NOT ON GOOGLE! I can’t speak for other towns but in the Columbus, Phenix City and Harris County areas, the good inspectors do not have reviews and most do not have web pages. I have asked inspectors repeatedly to ask for reviews and one finally told me that he had more business than he could handle and he did not have time to develop a web page for reviews. In our area, most realtors have a list of inspectors with whom they have had transactions with and can recommend a few for you to choose from.

When buying a home – remember there is no perfect home whether old or new. All homes need maintenance. Things will break after you purchase and move in. A seller does not necessarily try to hide defective parts of their home for you to find after you move in. Most sellers want you to love their homes as much as they did!

Appreciating the Holidays

Poinsettia

Poinsettia

Thankful for Christmas

Oh the busyness and frantic scrambling to get ready for the holiday. Buying gifts, cooking candy and food. Or waking up in the middle of he night to remember that you forgot someone or something that needs to be on your list. Decorating the tree with ornaments that bring back memories of Christmas’s past. Christmas music filling the house. Traditions.

Parties, friends, cocktails, sugary foods, salty foods, snack foods, all things you should not eat. Twinkling lights and the smell of Frazier fir, cedar or pine in your home.

Christmas is almost here!

Christmas Ornaments

Children, wrapping paper, bows, dogs underfoot and in the way. Smiles, laughter, people that you only get to see and enjoy once a year. Friends, family, and Jesus Christ our Savior – the celebration of his birth. Reflecting on loved ones not here and missing their presence…

Slowing down on Christmas Eve, enjoying the candlelight service at St. Paul with precious little children dressed up and excited. It all adds to the splendor and magic of Christmas. A time when the work world stops for a day or two.

Time with family, friends, and loved ones is really what Christmas is about. Relationships are the most important thing we do or build. I love this time of year. Thank you Christ Jesus for allowing us to share and celebrate your birth.

I am thankful. Happy Holidays!

Balconies – Eagle & Phenix Condominiums in Uptown Columbus, GA

 

Balconies at Eagle and Phenix are a big deal. Whether the balcony is one of the small ones or the larger ones – it is a big deal. Why? Because it brings in the outdoors. It gives you a sense of “yard” or outside space right from your unit. Cups of coffee overlooking the river or the well manicured green space are a delightful way to start the morning. Or maybe a glass of wine with a book in the evening?

Electric grills are allowed on balconies which give men their need to “grill or barbecue” depending on what part of the country you are from. I have seen the small balconies equipped with 2 chairs and a grill. I have had friends who had units with both size balconies and have watched how they enjoyed them.

On our last night at E&P we had the good fortune to stay with a dear friend in one of the units with a balcony. The first thing I did after we got up was to have a cup of coffee outside overlooking the rapids from her’s. It was very peaceful and serene helping me to experience first hand how wonderful having a balcony can be.

We did not have a balcony while we lived there and we enjoyed the green space which is kept manicured by the HOA. There are 3 or 4 gas grills, 2 arbors for shade and tables and chairs to enjoy while grilling. Residents enjoy the breeze and white noise of the river at all times of the day. Dogs are allowed on leashes and children occasionally are there playing in the large grass lawn. You do get your need for outside in green space!

I cannot say enough nice things about Eagle and Phenix Condominiums or how much we enjoyed living there. If you would like to know more about this wonderful development, please contact me. I would love to show you around and share how wonderful condo living can be!

 

Moving-UGH!

MOVING WOES– What to do when your house goes under contract and you have nowhere to go? We feel your pain…

Recently our Eagle & Phenix condo went under contract. We knew that we needed to move but we did not have a place to go. So we traveled down the road that all sellers must consider.

If you need to sell your home to buy another one, you have to be prepared for a 30 – 40 day time period to close.  In our area it is customary to be moved out by time of closing. What do you do with such a short time frame to work with??

Your options include:

  • buying a home
  • renting an apartment
  • a corporate rental
  • leasing a house for a year
  • moving in with someone you know for a period of time (Yikes)

Sometimes fate works in your favor and there is a property on the market that you love and you can move from one to the other. if you run into a time gap or back to back closings, you may need to store your furniture overnight on the truck.  Most movers will allow this for a fee of around $150.

Your rental options in our area include many choices in apartments. We have some nice ones that offer 3,6, or 9 month rentals. The rent is roughly $100 more per month than a yearly lease. A corporate rental is a furnished unit that you may rent month to month. The rent is more as one would expect.  There are not as many of these available. With houses in our area a 1 year lease is standard. It is difficult and unlikely to find a owner that will lease for less than a year! I repeat – extremely hard and unlikely! Our rental market is tight on the nicer properties. If you find one – rent it fast!

Moving Options – Hire a local mover to move your things and pack yourself. Average fees are $115 per hour. Having them pack you is considerably more but I am sure it is wonderful! Pods – I think pods are neat.  You can leave them outside, load them at will and have them picked up then moved to storage or your new home. I understand that it is hard to find movers who will load your furniture in a pod but there are a few in town.

Moving is stressful and I don’t know anyone who loves the process. But as the saying goes, “this too shall pass!”

Life at Eagle and Phenix Mills Episode 1

Loft Condo living is a new concept to Columbus, GA! But it is a fun and easy way to live. After living in a house for all of my life, I find that people are fascinated about the idea of downsizing and enjoying the convenience of Uptown Living. I always get questions and some of them were the very same ones which I had.
About 5 years ago I told my friend Kathleen that “I would never live in a loft condominium with an elevator.” But now I do and I love it!   Be sure to check out my episodes about Eagle and Phenix life. Please contact me if you have any questions!

Something Different to See in Columbus, GA

Yesterday my husband, Cham and I were invited to go see a Ranger jump down at Fryar Field. For those who live in Ft. Mitchell this is a common occurrence but  most area residents don’t know anything about it.

U.S. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division parachute after jumping from a C-130 Hercules aircraft over Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 12, 2010. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Rissmiller, U.S. Air Force/Released)

It is really awesome to see all the parachutes opening as they jump out of the C-17 Globemaster aircraft. While almost magical for us to watch the parachutes float to the earth; the process of jumping out of an airplane at almost 150 mph is work and serious business for the Rangers. It was a balmy 97 degrees out and they jumped with all of their combat equipment!   After landing they have to pack up the parachutes, put all the gear on their backs and run to the covered area where they load on buses to return to base for the rest of their day at work – WOW!  Our friend was the Airborne Commander this day and we were proud to see him get to the ground safely.

Ft. Benning is a integral and important part of the Columbus, GA / Phenix City and surrounding areas. While we may hear the booms and blasts that the military makes while training we don’t often get to see what they are doing for our country. The video link below does not do the jump justice, but will offer you a glimpse of just one of the passes that were made yesterday.

We are lucky to have Ft. Benning in our midst and I am very thankful for each enlisted man or woman and their service to our country!

Fryar Field Ranger Jump

 

 

Considering a low ball offer? 

I was talking to a group of Realtors yesterday about the market and the changes we have noticed lately, and the one thing we all agreed on is that  “low ball offers” are not successful these days. The Columbus and Harris County, Georgia area markets are improving.  No -that does not mean that prices have risen to anywhere near pre-2008 numbers, but the local market is stronger and homes are moving faster than the past few years.

Before making a low offer, there are things to consider.

Are you going to insult the seller? It may be a business deal for you but it usually is not for a seller.   This may be where they raised their children or a family home where they were raised. Do they have to sell for reasons unexpected such as job loss,  illness, or a divorce? Sellers often have emotional attachments to their homes and are deeply offended when a low offer is made. Some refuse to respond to the offer at all and will not sell to the offeree at any price!

Is it a one of a kind property? Will it be hard to find a similar property in the future? Can you live without it?

The seller may feel taken advantage of and not as agreeable to future requests or negotiations such as repairs or appointments to get in the property before closing. Items that they would consider leaving that could benefit the buyer are removed whether they need them or not. (swing sets, window treatments, refrigerator, etc)

Do you want your new home to be left clean and orderly when you take possession? Insulted sellers are angry and do not want to do anything extra for the new buyer. Such as having the yard cut one last time or a cleaning service after move out.

Real Estate transactions used to be friendly for all parties. Sellers and buyers walked away from the closing table feeling good about one another and the property in question. It is unfortunate to miss out on a pleasant transaction due to a low offer…

I am not implying that buyers should over pay for an overpriced home but one should always reflect on how they would respond to a low offer before making one!

River Time – Lake Harding

Growing up in Columbus Georgia consisted of many more warm days than cold, so the river and boats were a big part of my life.  When Spring came, it was time to go to the ” backwater”, the “river”, or Lake Harding as it is called now.  We spent many summers riding around in boats and waterskiing.  In the summer, one morphed into a “river rat!”

If you had a cabin or a boat – you never lacked for friends when the temperatures heated up. You certainly would see more of your family during the Spring and Summer months!  Of course it was mostly cabins years ago and certainly not the fine homes that grace the shorelines today.  You rarely saw nice seawalls or lawns.  Simply riverbanks with riprap rock, clay yards, and not so nice dwellings.

Lake Harding now is inhabited by many full-time residents!  It is not just a weekend get away anymore. There are two marinas and the new one on the Georgia side has a restaurant and live music.  A short drive on the Georgia side will take you to some great food with Hunters Pub or Pat’s Backwater.  Columbus, Lagrange, and Pine Mountain are all 15-25 minutes away depending on where you are on the lake.  The Alabama side of the lake is impressive too and is only minutes from Phenix City and Auburn Alabama.

Lake Harding has some beautiful homes and condominiums like the one in these pictures which is located on the Georgia side.  Click on the home to see more information or call me if you would like to set an appointment to see it in person!  You can also call if you would simply like more information about this special Harris County area.

 

Millennial Home buyers and the Georgia Dream Program

Tired of paying high rent? Want to buy a house but you don’t have enough for the down payment?  Don’t want to or can’t ask your parents for help? Then you might want to check out the Georgia Dream Program.

The Georgia Dream program assists first time home buyers with their down payment. The basic requirements are pretty simple.

  • First time home buyers
  • Or buyers who have not owned a home in the past 3 years
  • Buyers in the Columbus, Georgia  and Harris County areas  must have a total annual household income less than:
    • 1 to 2 persons $59,500
    • 3 or more persons $68,500
    • And purchase a home with a sales price of no more than $200,000

Of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, and this program has requirements

  • You must meet the credit requirements
  • You must attend either a homeowner education workshop, individual counseling sessions, or wait the one we love, an online Homebuyer education course through E-home America.
  • You must invest $1000 of your own money.

After checking the Georgia Dream website on March 25, the rates were 3.875% for a 30 year fixed. Not bad right?

I counted over 40 lenders that offer this program in Muscogee and Harris Counties, so there are plenty to choose from.

Here is the link to the Georgia Dream Website.

Check it out and see if you are a possible candidate! I would love to talk to you about this program and how to get started on owning your first home.

I am closing a home with a first time home buyer next week who used this program and so far it has been a great transaction experience!

Uptown Living

 

We moved to Uptown in the Eagle and Phenix Condos just over a year ago and love, love the ease of life and the “neighborhood” feel. Did I say we love living in Uptown Columbus?!

There are so many advantages to condo living especially when it is one within Eagle and Phenix. For instance, residing in one building enables you to truly engage with your neighbors. You actually speak when you get on the elevator with others or pass them daily while walking your dog. We also get together frequently. Sometimes for our “monthly group socials” we might visit one of the excellent local Uptown restaurants or occasionally have a potluck dinner. There is always someone around to walk, bike, dine or to enjoy a cup of coffee with. Because of this new addition to our social life we now find ourselves part of a very active group with ages ranging from 3 weeks to 80 years.

The transition to Eagle and Phenix from living in the country was daunting, and we were unsure if we were going to like living in an urban environment. Having always lived in traditional homes before, we had traditional furniture and did not know how it would look in an industrial setting. This building (Circa 160 years) has variations of unit styles, sizes and views so almost any mix can work. Our home is a good example of this as you can see below where we were honored to be featured in Southern Views. What a wonderful job Southern Views did making our “old stuff “look good! Below is a link to the article which shows their great work.

 

 

I recently listed # 311 and # 507 which are beautiful one and two bedroom units located in Eagle and Phenix. If you would like to know more about either of these homes, the urban lifestyle or any other area of Columbus / Harris County, call me.  I would be happy to show you around!