Angela Sells DFW

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Archive for the tag “ft. worth”

Flipping Grandview: Week 4 & 5

A new week, a new unexpected expense.  Upon further inspection, the water heater that we thought serviced the whole home did not.  The one that does is in need of repair.  Instead of waiting for it to flag on the future buyer’s inspection report, we will go ahead and replace it to ensure it’s up to code before construction is complete.  That will be an additional $1,000 bringing our unexpected total up to $1,500.

Our contractor did see some other unusual items and is going to get them repaired within the original bid which is great!  We are already over budget since we purchased all of the appliances, fixtures, lights, faucets, etc.  We know we will have some electrical work to do once the renovation is done as well so we are really trying to limit our costs.  The holding costs definitely add up quickly, too.  We are getting ready to make our first mortgage payment.

This week, we got the colors right and additional coats of paint on went on.  The progress is visible and that’s exciting.  The contractors believe they will be done around March 23 so our plan is to have the home on the market by the end of the month!

 

How to Eliminate Smoke Odor

Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is getting more and more rare, we do still see homes that homeowners or tenants have smoked indoors for a period of time.  As much as some home buyers may love the home, they are concerned about whether or not to take on such a lofty project.  I can guarantee you that if they choose to do so, they will not pay full price for the home for the risk involved.

Whether you’re a home owner getting your home ready to sell or a home buyer contemplating the risk of purchasing a “smoky” home, here are some great tips for getting rid of the odor.  I have used some of these on a listing that I had once and I will tell you that my favorite are the charcoal, citrus peels and ammonia based cleaners.  Luckily in my case, there was minimal carpet in the house so that wasn’t as big of an issue.  If you have a lot of carpet in a “smoky” house then your best bet is to replace both the padding and the carpet.  Please note that you cannot just paint over nicotine stained walls.  Your paint will yellow and the contaminants still leech through.  You must clean the wall with an ammonia based cleaner and get an odor locking primer to put on prior to painting.

Of course, one of the best ways to remove odors – especially if there are associated nicotine stains – from carpets, furniture and walls is by using hydrogen peroxide. Just put some 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray it on and wipe it off as you would with other household cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide is generally anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so it makes sense to use it as a household cleaner. However, it does take time to work, so the short amount of contact time in cleaning counters and windows probably won’t kill all the tiny pathogens in your house. On the other hand, it’s a step in that direction, and if you want to really sanitize something, you can leave the hydrogen peroxide for a longer time.

In any case, cigarette smoke removal isn’t impossible…but it does take some effort to get rid of the smell.

  1. Launder whatever you can. If an entire room smells like last year’s bachelor party, removing cigarette smoke smell from home will require washing or dry-cleaning everything possible in order to maximize cigarette odor removal.
  2. Vacuum. Before you use any chemicals or resort to desperate measures, vacuum up as much of that cigarette odor as possible. Use vacuum attachments to suck the smoke out of furniture and upholstery in your house or car. Beat out and vacuum car foot mats.
  3. Vinegar. A bowl of white vinegar, left out overnight, can do a surprisingly good job removing foul cigarette odor.
  4. Citrus. Some swear by citrus peels when they need to get rid of foul odors. Leave a liberal amount of citrus peels in your car or home for several days (until the peels are completely desiccated). When you remove them, you will also remove cigarette smell – or at least some of it.
  5. Baking soda – one of the tried-and-true methods of odor removal. Whether cleaning your carpet, smelly used couch or dingy car seats, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle it over the smoke-infused area and let it sit for a few hours. Then whip out your trusty vacuum cleaner to suck up the soda, finishing the job.

One word of advice: before sprinkling at will, test the baking soda out on a concealed part of the surface to make sure the surface or fabric doesn’t interact unfavorably with the baking soda

      6. Coffee. When my old high school friend and I used to fantasize about a coffee-grounds-enhanced laundry        detergent, who  would’ve guessed that there might have actually been odor-fighting merit to that seemingly absurd concept? Utilize the odor-absorbent quality of coffee grounds to get rid of your cigarette odors. Don’t sprinkle them all over the place like baking soda, though, since coffee can stain. Instead, pour coffee grounds into several individual coffee filters and tie them closed. Place the coffee bags on whatever is harboring the cigarette odar.

    7.  Air out the room or car. Requiring less effort than peeling an orange or going to the store for white vinegar, you should definitely open all your windows and doors for several hours to encourage cigarette odors to lift from their cushions, carpets and other surfaces. If a particular piece of furniture reeks of stale cigarette smoke, bring it outdoors for a few hours on a dry day.

     8.  Charcoal. There’s nothing fancy or particularly aesthetically pleasing about charcoal in a bowl, but when you scatter some bowls of charcoal around your room or car (as long as you’re not planning to drive), you’ll find that it has absorbed the cigarette odor after about a week. It’s one of the unexpectedly effective forms of cigarette odor removal.

    9.  Smoke residue on surfaces. Don’t neglect linoleum floors, glass and wood surfaces either; in a room or car that has witnessed heavy smoking, you can often see the residue! Use glass-cleaners, diluted ammonia and wood-cleaning solutions to scrub the stinky residue off of these surfaces.

    10.  Light bulbs. Light bulbs are a double-whammy when it comes to cigarette odor. First of all, they attract smoke. Secondly, each time you turn them on afterward, the heat releases odors from the smoke’s residue. Replace those light bulbs.

As a side note, at least one company (Technical Consumer Products, Inc.) has decided to capitalize on a light bulb’s heat to actually combat odor. “Fresh2 Odor Eliminating Light Bulbs” claim to neutralize odors, thanks to a coating of Titanium Dioxide activated as the light bulb heats up.

I hope this helps put your situation in perspective for you.  As a seller, you should expect to receive at least $10,000 less for your home due to a “smoky” interior than market value for your home.  The hard work really comes into play on whether or not that $10,000 is worth updating the carpet and having the home cleaned.  There are some local companies that we work with that will replace flooring on your home and get paid at closing if cash out of pocket is an issue.  Remember, a knowledgeable and experienced agent may make you uncomfortable by being honest with you on what may cause your home to sell for less than top dollar but remember, that’s why you’re hiring them.  You’re hiring an agent who knows how to get you top dollar if that’s your number one priority.

How to Choose a Realtor

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How to Choose a Realtor

Most times, purchasing a home, is the biggest investment we make.  So, how do you choose your agent, the person who will guide, advise you and lead you through the biggest investment of your life? That’s a great question with an often misinformed answer.  Particular aspects are going to have varying importance to different home buyers & sellers but there are always the infallible “go to” qualities that you’re going to want in your agent.

In a world where real estate agents were once ranked very low along side used-car salesmen in honesty, the integrity and ethics of which an agent conducts their business is of highest priority.  What does an agent’s integrity and ethics mean to you as a home buyer or a home seller?  It means that they will not disclose your purchasing position in a way that compromises your negotiation standpoint.  It means that they will properly ensure that your rights and options are protected in the contract that they negotiate for you.  It also means that they will prepare you each and every step of the way for a successful & easy home purchase.  This is important for obvious reasons but you may find yourself surprised by visiting an open house where a listing agent tells you that they know the Sellers will accept less than the asking price.  As a Buyer, you feel like you have the inside scoop but the reality of it is that the listing agent hosting the open house represents the Seller and works exclusively for the Seller so why would they compromise their client’s negotiating position?  Too many agents toss their ethics and integrity out the window to simply close a sale, at your expense.  This is why it’s of utmost importance to choose a Realtor with an impeccable reputation, client references and a proven track record.

That brings us to the next important criteria for choosing an agent.  Ask your agent for a list of homes that they’ve recently sold.  This is a great way to ensure that your agent is familiar with your area.  Real estate is local in every sense of the word.  It is imperative to choose an agent who knows your market like the back of their hand.  This is important because you’re depending on their knowledge of the market and their understanding of what’s happening locally in that market in terms of property condition, price, competition, inventory and absorption rate to guide you through your real estate sale or purchase.

With that being a key factor in choosing your agent, their knowledge is the next critical element.  You are trusting this person with the soundness of your investment of not only the initial investment but an opportunity to build equity in your investment.  So how critical is their knowledge? Well, the first question to contemplate is to ask them how often they study the market. By the time real estate trends are founded enough to print in the main stream media, savvy agents have already noted these trends and alerted their clients to maximize their selling or purchasing position.  The other aspect of studying the market weekly is that, much like the stock market, the real estate market is ever-changing.  The rules that allow home buyers to obtain financing change several times a year for each lending product.  The requirements on homes change to qualify for financing also.  Were you aware that no matter how well-qualified a home buyer may be, there may be attributes on a home that prevent the house from qualifying for financing?  These are important things to know up front so that you’re not spending $350 on a home inspection and $400 on an appraisal only for the lender to come back and say the home cannot be financed in it’s current condition.

There are a lot of other great components to skilled Realtors like, special designations that can highlight their experience in a niche market like working with senior citizens, being green certified, accredited to work with home buyers only, specialized training in working with banks, asset managers for foreclosures as well as many others.

Hearing about great experiences with Realtors through friends and family can be a great resource to finding a great agent, too.  Often times, there is comfort in knowing that someone you love or trust has entrusted that agent to guide them through their real estate transaction and the outcome was positive.

The bottom line is that you need to feel 100% comfortable with your Realtor.  Different people will place a higher value on the various elements of what makes an agent great.  These guidelines will help serve as a basis to create some questions when you meet with agents to choose the right one for you.  Remember, they work for you and your best interests so you should be interviewing them to find out how they can best represent you.

What is Section 8 Housing?

What is Section 8 Housing?

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This is a question that I have been asked by a lot of young, up & coming real estate investors lately.  Almost like a HUD home, the term itself seems to have a negative connotation in people’s minds.  I would disagree on both.

Section 8 housing is housing that’s provided by the government for very low income families.  The qualification income requirements differ by county in Texas.   Tenants would need to contact their county and go through their qualifying process.  Once they’re approved, they find housing in the area that they want or need to live in within the price that the government is offering to help them with.

Once they find a place to live, the home has do be deemed acceptable by the agency.  The local authority for HUD will sign the lease along with the tenant as there are three parties bound by the agreement: landlord, tenant and Section 8 authority.

The benefit as a landlord is that the rent is typically covered 100% by the Section 8 voucher which is automatically paid each month.  You don’t have the same risk with other tenants as the rent is almost guaranteed so long as the tenants remain at the property.  Landlords can attend local meetings on marketing their properties for free through the local Section 8 housing authority so long as their properties are deemed qualified for the program through the authority.

If you’re thinking about purchasing investment properties, give me a call or email.  I would be happy to help you weigh the different options of leasing them out, flipping or building. (817) 771-0998  AngelaSellsDFW@gmail.com

Here are some informational links & additional information for the Dallas/ Fort Worth area:

What is Section 8 housing?
On how tenants qualify for a Section 8 voucher:
How to get all units Section 8 approved:
Important Things to Know:
Roles – the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD
Once a PHA approves an eligible family’s housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the PHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone — tenant, landlord and PHA — has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.

Landlord’s Obligations: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.

Housing Authority’s Obligations: The PHA administers the voucher program locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the PHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner’s obligations under the lease, the PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA must reexamine the family’s income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.

HUD’s Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the PHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites PHAs to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded to the selected PHAs on a competitive basis. HUD monitors PHA administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.

 

 

Inaugral Post

Thanks for reading my blog!  I am so excited about continuing my career here in Texas!  I have chosen my brokerage, Keller Williams Realty Arlington, which is an exciting step.  The company is so refreshing and I anticipate that we’re going to make a great match for the remainder of my career.

My business cards came in today, my listing signs and open house signs came in yesterday, my social networking is set up (but not published yet).  I am still waiting on the great state of Texas to send my license to my Broker which means I can hit the ground running!

In the mean time, I may direct my posts in a direction other than real estate while I wait impatiently (my subconscious is vigorously tapping her foot in the corner of my mind).  If you happen to come across this post and care to know something about the area, I’d love to hear it!  Otherwise, you will succumb to my blog posts about things that interest me! 🙂

 

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