A Home for the Season?

Did you hear… the Fed’s raised rates just before the end of 2018.  Talk is they would have liked to raise them more than the quarter of a point, but the economy doesn’t warrant a huge rate hike.  The more positive talk in politics the better the country rumbles along.  The more political back and forth… which leads to indecisiveness or not decisions at all the worse it is for Real Estate.

So, what am I saying?  Even though we are in rough waters with fewer homes on the market over all the prices are up!  Good news for Sellers.  Not so good for buyers.  New home sales are always going to be higher than the price of an existing home.  Additionally, more and more people want ‘new’ vs ‘existing.’

Of course some will always say, “I would rather buy and existing home.  No unknown settlement issues that way.”  “I can make it my own, it won’t be a cookie cutter inside.”  “I want to ‘update’ a home to make it my own.”  “All the appliances and Heating System is new, and it’s less expensive than building one.”  I have come to believe its a personal preference.

Just when is the Best Time to List?  My answer is: ‘When you’re ready to let go that’s when its time to sell.’  Homes sell twelve months of the year.  Prices are typically higher in the Spring and drop a bit by October.  But not everyone wants to sell in spring and summer.  Are you buying land?  You may prefer to walk the land in the fall when there are no leaves to ‘see through the trees.’  When the foliage is in full bloom you may not be able to see the ‘lay of the land.’  Are you buying a multi-unit property?  In that case it may be discounted in summer if its near a college or university.  The purpose of using a Realtor for your real estate transaction is the value of knowledge and experience.  Do you cast your own leg when you break it?  No.  You go to a doctor for their knowledge and experience.  This is why real estate is regional.  United Real Estate Exponent is a Franchise Office in Culpeper, Virginia; of United Real Estate, a subsidiary of United Country Real Estate.  Boom!  Now, my office just became a National and International Company via those affiliation!  An small office of a bigger company provides National and International Exposure to every property I list!  If you list with an independent boutique shop you will not receive that broader exposure.  Ask about a brand, do they have a regional presence, a statewide presence? Or National presence?  Keep in mind, Zillow, Redfin, etc., to do not list every home available for sale, they simply list most of them.  Listing with a regional office of a National or International Company provides you with a larger resource to draw on.  If you live in a subdivision that’s an HOA of average homes near a great school it may not matter what Real Estate Company you go with.  As long as they have a good reputation.  But if you have the largest home in the subdivision or a unique home or lots of land… then a broader presence may become important.

Seek an agent with a clear marketing plan for your property.

The best agent and the best company are not necessarily the most popular names in town.  Its the one that gets your property sold in a timely fashion for a price acceptable to you! Keep that in mind when interviewing agents down  the road.  Some advertise that if the home doesn’t sell in a certain time frame they will buy it from you… be sure to read the fine print about what that purchase price from them may be.  It is not usually the list price.

Do you need a property manager?

Perhaps you were not aware that Real Estate is a Local Transaction.  Different States have different laws and rules.  In some cases, such as codes, those codes are by County or Cities.

Do you realize a Licensed Realtor has to take classes before taking a State Exam?  And then those Realtors are required to take additional credit courses over the next 2 years to renew their license.  This doesn’t mean they know everything about real estate, it means they have committed to learn about real estate.

There are many aspects of Real Estate, and most Licensed Realtors choose to pursue one of those fields, the most well known to the public is the Residential Realtor.  But are you aware that Property Management is a specialized field?  As is the Commercial Realtor or a Business Broker, or to become a Real Estate Auctioneer.

Property Managers deal with tenants that do not pay, that have changed their mind about completing their contract.  A Property Manager has to deal with Landlords that do not always want to make timely repairs or live up to their end of a contract.  A property manager has the daily struggle of finding a happy medium for both the landlord and tenant.  Or playing the role of ‘bad guy’ when one or the other is way out of line.

A Lease Agreement spells out how a landlord and tenant can share the responsibility of a home.  A Property Manager is paid to be the middle man to see that contract is followed through.


Realtors – Do you plan to succeed?

When was the last time you met with your Broker or attended an office Business Planning Session?

At United Real Estate we offer a National Business Planning Webinar with the Companies CEO annually!
We care about the success of every agent in the company!
Your success depends on your personal goals and dreams.   We help you get there by setting aside time and tools for all that truly care about the direction of their business.
After the National Webinar where our CEO, Dan Duffy speaks, each office continues the day with a business planning session for the agents.
The Broker of the office will offer to set appointments to meet one on one that afternoon or in the next few days.  And follow up over the course of the year with any agent that would appreciate such feedback and coaching.
How do you plan to reach your goals in 2019?
Are you in the Driver seat, or the backseat?
If you would like more information about United Real Estate please email: ure.exponentad@gmail.com or call me: 540-317-5989 to schedule an appointment to see how we help you succeed to keep more commission in your pocket.

Are you Selling your home?

Stats still favor working with a Realtor to get the best price, and best security.  In today’s society we often forget that real estate is still generally a ‘Hand-on’ experience.  We may begin searching homes on the internet, but most of us want to actually walk-through a property to get the ‘feel’ for it before we commit to purchasing a home.

A For Sale By Owner takes all the risk involved in showing their own home, allowing people to take photos for family members, etc.  In going this route you are trusting the honesty of others.  Realtors have Errors and Omissions Insurance for many reasons, do you?  If not, have you taken all your valuables off-site?  Does your Homeowners Insurance cover theft of big ticket items like your TV & surround sound system?

When Selling a home it’s imperative to price the home well to begin with.  Many people expect to get dollar for dollar for all their improvements, and this is not always the case when it comes to selling.  I have walked away from listings over the years because the Seller was not reasonable in what the Market would bare for their home.  Over pricing your home doesn’t help you or the agent that accepts your listing.  These homes tend to sit to long on the market and buyers beglarge-keys-next-to-a-small-house-3d-image-isolated-white-background-.jpgin to ask what is wrong with the home.  Is this where you want to be?

Are you willing to pay for a professional photographer to take Excellent photos of your home?  If not, will you be happy with the photos the Realtor is able to take for you?  Do you want control and provide your own photos?  If so, please realize you should put the photos on a flash drive for the agent rather than emailing them so that the agent may be able to re-size them as needed for various advertising avenues.  A Realtor is experienced in what angle a particular room needs to get a good photo that will work in advertising, most people are not.

Trust your agent to provide pointers on staging your home, or recommending a professional stager to help you organize to get the optimal response.  Sometimes making a few changes in placement can make a world of difference to a buyer’s eye.   Your Agent is a professional, however, there is a huge difference in experience of agents.  With experience comes knowledge, not all agents are equal.  Years as an agent does not always equate to experience with listings.  It’s important to ask it they have experience listing homes as well as selling homes.  If they do not have experience do they have a mentor to provide insight?  Are you able to speak to that mentor? I use to bring my mentor along to the Listing Appointment, or make a second trip with them in order to get their feedback.

A good agent goes beyond taking the listing and putting it in the MLS.  What is their marketing plan for your home?  How often to do they provide market updates for you?  Do they offer stats on how many days on the market is average for your neighborhood?  Do they have a track record of moving their listings with in that time frame or better?  Do they have a network marketing program for affiliates in the area?  comic-house-keys-real-estate-woman-gift-buy-retro-style-pop-art.jpg

Most people believe their home is worth more than it is.  A good Realtor will bring comparables in your area to help you come up with a good price for your home.  Keep in mind, you should work with your Realtor to come up with a Market Price for your home.  I provide a Seller Sheet with 2-3 prices to work with the Seller so they know up front what they should expect from the sale of their home.  If the Market Price is substantially less than you expected to list your home for ask if they have some ideas to improve the price or alternatives to the conventional sale.  Kitchens and baths may help sell a home, but so does curb appeal, do you have funds to make improvements?  If there are not affordable options to increase the sales price and you are unwilling to come down there are still alternatives.  United Real Estate is affiliated with United Country Real Estate, one of the Countries largest real estate Auction Companies.  As such, we offer an auction option to our listings that can assist with a Seller’s Bottom line!  If you’re interested in more details contact us directly at ure.exponentad@gmai.com.  www.unitedrealestateexponent.com.


1st Time Homebuyer In VA

1st time homebuyer guide 2017

home&keys  Do you have questions about buying a home?  Think you don’t need a Realtor, and want to do it on your own?

Be aware… Virginia is a Buyer Beware State!  Developers and Home Builders hope you don’t use an agent!

When searching for an Agent look for one with designations.  These are people who go above the minimum licensing requirements to do the best for their clients.  They’re in the business for the long haul because they care and want to help others.

I hope you find my 1st time homebuyer’s e-book helpful in your endeavors.  Best of luck.


— T.C.

1st Time Homebuyer In VA

1st time homebuyer guide 2017

home&keys  Do you have questions about buying a home?  Think you don’t need a Realtor, and want to do it on your own?

Be aware… Virginia is a Buyer Beware State!  Developers and Home Builders hope you don’t use an agent!

When searching for an Agent look for one with designations.  These are people who go above the minimum licensing requirements to do the best for their clients.  They’re in the business for the long haul because they care and want to help others.

I hope you find my 1st time homebuyer’s e-book helpful in your endeavors.  Best of luck.

— T.C.

Have you heard? Realtors take heart!

The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.” This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by NAR, will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option. (key phrase left out here — affordable AHP)

Bottom Line
The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors. This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage. It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.


Although this is a step in the right direction, it seems to be one of feet dragging on a phenomenal level!  What a way to squeeze people out of their independence!  I see small businesses close, hear of people taking jobs because, “We couldn’t afford the monthly insurance cost.”  Say it ain’t so!

But I can not say it isn’t so!  Small business may have been the backbone in the past, but health insurance with an aging population of hard workers is certainly going to dramatically change the playing field of tomorrow.


What are today’s buyers looking for?  It varies on LOCATION!  The biggest part of a home’s value is based on the Location, second is Curb Appeal, third is what’s inside.  Last spring a lady wanted to sell a wonderful home still overflowing with her stuff.

I asked her during our appointment, “Are you going to do minor repairs and paint?”

She said, “No.  I don’t have the energy to bother.”

“Are you willing to tidy up, and give it a good cleaning?”

Again she responded, “No.  This place will sell as it is.  I loved this home.”

That significantly lowers the value.  Sadie agreed it did effect the value but a local investor had offered her $390,000 as is in writing.  She pulled out the paper to show me.  I was certain we could do better than that because she had an all brick home on 2 acres with a 3 car garage.  Those are big selling features in our area.  Especially the garage.  I had Curb Appeal, I had Location working in my favor.  The inside needed some love.

I had multiple offers within 2 hours of it hitting the market.  She got her price over and above what the investor offered.  However, she had to empty and clean the home prior to the buyers taking possession.  After she had moved to a smaller home she said, “I could have gotten more for my home.”

“Yes, indeed,” I agreed.  “If you had been willing to paint, and clean you could have gotten more.  But at that moment in time your heart was not in to doing what needed to be done!

Commercial Real Estate is a numbers game.  When dealing with investors in residential one deals with the numbers.  Real Estate in Residential is generally very personal and emotional.  I keep hearing there is a shortage of homes on the market throughout the country.  And yet, as I look at homes on the market in the Culpeper, VA area I see 247 homes in the 22701 Zip code alone; 60 of which have been on the market for over 6 months!  Why?  Why would we have 24% of homes in a market listed for over 6 months when we have a shortage?  There are several reasons this is the case.  The first one that comes to mind is pricing.  The second one in this area is that over 50 of these listings had less than 10 photos taken… 2 had no photos at all.  In an image society where the average buyer begins their search online this is a deal killer.  These buyers literally never see your home for sale!  Those that agree to come by generally are looking because they missed out on the home they really wanted.  What are these Sellers looking for in a Realtor?  If you want excellent service look for a Realtor with designations and experience, like myself. Or a new agent you know that has a seasoned agent to work along side of them.  The biggest issue with new agents isn’t lack of experience, it’s lack of training and guidance.  I am looking for Homeowners in Culpeper, VA ready to list with me!  I have a proven marketing plan and a great deal of heart and knowledge to help you sell your home!



While attending my step-daughters college graduation this past weekend I was struck with how time changes…. I may still feel 30 something, hmm!  So often I hear, “when I was… or when we were…. we….”  Times change, standards change.  Our 20somethings are not as prepared to venture into the world as we were expected to be at 18.  Our generation has worked so hard while our children were young that  we often try to make up for the lack of time that can never be recovered.  We often fall short when it comes to preparing our children or sharing our values, hopes and dreams on a day to day bases.  Life is only the dash between 2 numbers… how do you want your children to remember your dash?  Were you to busy to go for a teddy bear picnic, or and imaginary tea party with poo?  Are they going to remember how much you worked rather than the moments you shared?

I have a 10 year old step-son that wasn’t thrilled with attending a college graduation.  To make it fun we rented space at Great Wolf Lodge and invited all of our children to come and participate.  Not only with the formal Graduation to mark this moment of time for Leslie, but they will all have a memory of family time even though most of them are now young adults venturing out into the world.  As I grow older I often step back and reflect on how to continually connect with others across the generations.  I am grateful for this weekend in which I could see that reflection in action.