Are you ready to sell your home and want it to have a great first impression on the market? Or maybe your home has been listed for a few weeks or months, and you can’t figure out why it won’t sell, and you know your agent is working hard to market it. We’ve listed below the top 6 reasons your home may not make a good impression and end up stagnant on the market.1491678153706


To be clear, an overpriced home is the #1 reason a home won’t sell. We often times want our homes to be worth a lot more than we may see based on the data, but if you put your home on the market for the number you wish it will bring instead of the price it actually needs to be, your home can sit on the market for months without getting a single showing. If you’re thinking you need to price high to leave room for negotiations, statistics show that views for your property, for buyers in your price range, can drop a whopping 90% if it’s priced too high. Discuss with your agent what the market says the value of your home is, then price it competitively to potentially get a bidding frenzy instead of low offers or having it expire.


Making sure the house is clean and having to leave on a daily basis for buyers to tour the home may get a little overwhelming, but it is crucial to have open availability to have your home shown. You could end up missing out on the perfect buyer if you decline too many showings. The longer it sits on the market, the less value buyers will see in it. Talk with your agent about having a 24 hour notice period if the extra time is needed, but make sure your home is available to be shown as often as possible.


Buyers want to walk into a house and envision their lives in that home. This is difficult to do if your home is cluttered with personal belongings. They are instantly given the feeling of invading someone else’s personal space, instead of the satisfaction of being able to see a future in your home. Make sure your property is clutter free before putting it on the market; and store away any family photos.


If you smoke or have pets, it’s easy to get used to the smell to the point that you don’t even notice it anymore. But it’s important to understand that the scent can be picked up by new people visiting your home, and it can really turn them off from making an offer. Before a showing, make sure to dispose of any garbage, don’t cook fish or other strong smelling food, and ensure the home is freshened up so there are no pet or smoke odors.


Selling your home as-is may sound appealing at first, but being unwilling to make repairs could cost another mortgage payment that far exceeds the cost of repairs if you refuse to work with the buyer on their requests and the home goes back on the market again. It’s wise to be open to repair requests, and simply go over with your agent what you can afford to do and make a reasonable counter offer during the repair negotiations. 


It’s important to have an open mind about requests that will come from buyers when it comes to purchasing your home. These requests can come in the form of price negotiations, repair requests, or even requests to cover closing costs or home warranties. With your agent on your side advising you of the best steps to take, it’s best to be open to working with the buyer’s on some of their requests to ensure a successful closing.



If you have purchased a home in recent years you are probably familiar with the home warranty. You may have even filed a claim under your home warranty and found out that the HVAC was not covered or that it doesn’t cover septic pumps. Making sure your realtor asks for the coverage you need is imperative because not all home warranties are created equal. Many sellers will provide a home warranty with the home that transfers to the purchaser at closing but please make sure you look over what it covers. You can’t always add additional coverage after the closing and finding out your HVAC isn’t covered on a 100 degree day is not a good scenario. Some of the things a typical items a home warranty does not cover without adding (and paying for) additional coverage are:

  • Septic systems

  • Pool and Spa equipment

  • HVAC and remember if your home has more that one unit you need additional coverage for that as well.

  • Booster pumps

  • Well pump

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If you have questions about specific coverage please ask your realtor before you make an offer on a home because you must be specific with additional coverage needs if you are asking the seller to provide the warranty. Otherwise you may be stuck with something you can’t really use at all and a large repair bill. Home warranties are great to ease the burden of first year home ownership if you just take the time to make sure its the right coverage for your home.


As a home buyer I am sure you have tons of questions you would like to ask a lender before starting the process of getting a pre-approval to purchase a home. I took some of the questions I am asked the most and asked our lender partner, Theresa Leslie with Interlinc Mortgage to answer them to help you understand the process a little better. If you have additional questions please reach out to her and she would love to walk you through the process. Theresa Leslie – theresal@lincloan.com or 256-337-9636

1. What kind of credit score do I need to have to buy a house?  With the new changes in the mortgage industry, FHA will now allow credit scores as low as 580 to allow financing.  FHA will give the underwriter the authority to ignore medical collections on the credit report.

2. I don’t have tons of money saved up for a downpayment so I am not sure I can buy? There are several zero down programs available such as USDA Rural Housing, VA and CONV Step Up.  There are also down payment assistance grants that could be used for new home purchases, but only for primary residence purchases.

3. My lease is up in two months so do I even have enough time to buy a house? Yes, once you ratify on a purchase contract, the turn time with Interlinc Mortgage Services to close your home is 35 days, in most cases.

4. What kind of documents should I have to get a pre-approval? Initially for the pre-approval, we do not need any documentation from you but a complete loan application which can be done via my website, over the telephone or in person, whichever works best for the client.

5. Will I have a better interest rate on new construction? To the lock in the interest rate on new construction financing has a slightly higher interest rate while the house is being built because you’re locking for an extended amount of time such 6 months, 7 months etc. instead of the standard 35 day lock,   but you will have an option to float the rate down on new construction once before you close on your new home.

6. What is PMI and do I have to have it? PMI is Private Mortgage Insurance which is required on CONV financing whenever a customer does not put down a down payment of 20% of the Purchase Price.  The PMI is part of the monthly mortgage payment until the borrower acquire 20% equity on the home.  There are work arounds to avoid PMI, but it will require that you have excellent credit scores.  On an FHA loan, it’s called MIP which is Mortgage Insurance Premium and there is no work around on FHA financing and it is required for the life of the loan.  There is no PMI or MIP on VA financing.


Finding the right real estate agent to help you buy or sell your home is a task you cannot take lightly. With so many realtors out there making sure you find one tImage titlehat you can work well with and has your best interest can be a task. Remember you will be working with this person for months, possibly years and he/she will know everything about you and your family before the transaction is complete. Compatible personalities should be the first thing you look for and then look for knowledge of the market and industry as a whole.

It is unfortunate for our industry but many realtors are thrown out into the market
to find customers and sell homes but have very little if any training other than taking a web based training class and passing a state issued exam. While that is commendable it does not give you market insight or the knowledge needed to identify problems with homes and provide pricing advice as well as other advice that is expected of your real estate agent.

Make sure you interview several agents and ask your family, friends and coworkers for referrals as well. If they had a great experience with a real estate professional it is likely you will have the same experience with the same realtor. If you know you have specific needs such as a language need or handicap then call your local board of realtors and ask for some recommendations and Google names to do further research.

Your home buying and selling experience will be a fun and exciting time in your life with the help of the right professional so make sure you take your time casting that role. When interviewing real estate agents always ask why they got into the business and if their answer is “To work less and get paid more” or something similar then keep interviewing the best of us in this business do it simply because we love it.

Why you need your own agent if you are building a new home

Have you ever stopped in at a builders model home in a new and upcoming subdivision and then been hounded for months by the on-site agent to come back and give it a second look or go see another subdivision being developed by the same builder? These aggressive sales tactics are an integral part of on-site training for most builders’ agents. The tactics obviously work or they would not continue to train them however most of these captive agents are bound by contract to only show homes in their builders developments so they are not likely to tell you about a great home less than .5 mile away built by a competitor that is 10k less and is offering 20k in incentives or the one year old home, same model one street over that the seller must sell because they are unexpectedly being transferred out of town.

These examples are just some of the reasons why it is in your best interest to have your own agent that works for you exclusively navigate the purchase of a new home or construction of a new home in a community. Other advantages include price negotiations, contract review, construction oversight and coordinating the inspections, closing, etc.

The best part is that it costs you nothing! The seller or builder in this case pays your agent to represent you. Would you sue someone and use the same attorney the other party is using? Of course not. Partly because the attorney would tell you it is a conflict of interest to have inside knowledge from both parties. This is no different. If you buy a home with the agent that is representing the seller (builder) you have the same conflict. This is what we can a dual agency and according to dual agency agreement the agent representing both parties is not able to provide advice about pricing or any inside knowledge they just prepare the contract and present it.

Is this the kind of representation you want on one of if not the largest transaction in your life? I doubt it so please do not allow an on-site agent to tell you that you can not have representation or they will get you a better deal if you use them exclusively. This is simply not true and most on-site agents will recommend you get your own agent to advise you throughout the process. Make sure any agent you choose has experience with new construction and is familiar with the local builders. Bottom line – have representation that has your best interest.

Let’s give thanks

I love this time of year. With all the family gatherings and cooking it is such a joyous time. It is a time to reflect on the year and be thankful for all your blessings. 2015 has been both one of the most successful years of my career and one of the most challenging personal years of my life. I lost my wonderful father this June to dementia and learning to navigate my daily life without his influence has been difficult. My father was my calm voice of reason and reassurance. He had confidence in me that I haven’t always had in myself. Watching this brilliant man battle his mind was a hard thing to watch and the worst was knowing there wasn’t anything I could do to make it go away or make it any better.

There isn’t a day that I don’t think about him or what his advise would be for me as I transition into new ventures and challenges. I know he would say he is proud of me and that I can do anything I put my mind to. He would support me in anyway he could and give me advice that can’t be bought or replaced.

As I work on my menu for Thanksgiving this year I an thankful for my wonderful father and all the traits and values he handed down to me. I will try and instill these same values in my children and remind them daily of what a inspirational and wonderful grandfather they had.

Love you Dad.