Monday, August 30, 2010

Does Moving Up Make Sense?

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving.

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Take the Stress Out of Homebuying!

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. This is where I of course say contact me, Krista Jameson!

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell.
If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions.
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget.
Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Contact me today to begin house hunting!

Thanks Realtor magazine for great tips that will help my clients!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Krista's Tips to Selling a Home

With lots of competition and a high inventory of houses on the market, here are just a couple suggestions I give to clients preparing to sell a home.

1. Contact me for a pre-listing package!

2. Clean, Organize & Stage!
-By far this is one of THE most important steps. I hire professional photographers for my listings and I want the home's pictures to look outstanding! If the interior of a home looks roomy and decluttered, the pictures will turn out much better! (Oh and better pictures will bring in more traffic since 9 out of 10 homebuyers preview homes online before ever going in one!) De-clutter the closets, bookshelves, nooks, desk, rooms, counters, etc. Clean the windows, floors, carpets, etc. Stage it to look show-worthy! I go very in-depth with my clients on this step.

3. If something is broken, have it fixed. Many times people can not see past your homes faults. For example, if a window or cabinet is visibly broken, have it fixed. If lightbulbs are burnt out, replace with new ones! The last thing you want is a potential buyer walking in and seeing the flaws that could have been easily fixed. Along this line is having a pre-inspection done to fix any problems you may be unaware of.

4. Curb Appeal! Most buyers will make a decision within just a few minutes about whether they want your house or not. Have the lawn and flower beds looking fabulous! Once again, remember this is a high competition market because of lots of inventory. Stand out! Make your home's exterior shine! Clean your steps, siding, driveway, windows, fix any paint chipping, etc.

5. Think about easy updates or upgrades that will give you a return. I will say this from personal experience. Most buyers do not like my personal taste of a very dark brown bedroom. It's almost cave-like. Well, when I go to sell my home eventually I know that the walls will have to be repainted with a neutral, light colored paint. It's an easy and cost effective change. Also, if you have bathrooms or a kitchen with old dirty linoleum, think about having them tiled. Contact this guy for tiling work! :) Replace dated fixtures with updated fixtures from the local Home Depot or Lowes.

* Have a friend that has thought about selling? Give me their info and I'd be happy to send over my personalized pre-listing package!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Final Before and After Flip Pictures!

When I walked into 427 Edwin street on a steaming hot day last July I looked at the disaster in front of me. "NO WAY!" I said to Zach. He said "Oh Krista this is PERFECT!" I was 9 months pregnant and was getting eaten alive by the mosquitos outside in the unkept lawn that was 18 inches high. I was hot. I was overwhelmed. And for the first time in 5 years of fixing up houses I just couldn't see the final result in my head. Fast forward about 4 months and I had a little baby at that point. Zach persisted we put an offer on this little cottage that had been on the market for 2 years and sat vacant. I caved, offered 50% of what asking price was and surprisingly settled for just $2000 higher then that. I couldn't believe I bought a house for the price of a car! Well here we are 5 months later and we've just completed the house. There is nothing more exciting then seeing the final before+after pictures. People won't ever understand the blood (literally), pain, sweat, tears, and lots of marital fights when doing this kind of work. But man is it rewarding!

We replaced all the ceilings & insulation. This was old insulation that was everywhere!

We emptied out LOADS of trash and furniture left in the house.

The water heater is no longer in the bathroom.

The bedroom that we built out. Good job Zach!

I listed the home at $74,900 if you know of anyone!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Refinished Tub and Floor Pictures!

I have been so excited to see this room come together. Because of the existing pipes and plumbing layout in the bathroom we didn't really have options to move the tub, vanity, toilet. We had to be creative with the space. The old bathroom had just a shower and no tub. I wanted a tub/shower so the most cost effective solution was to do a clawfoot tub and then do the shower attachment to it. I started looking for an antique clawfoot tub and found this beauty, ok ok not a beauty at first, but I knew it would be! I got it for a decent price and just refinished it.

Before of my rusty ol' tub that had to be sanded and sanded and sanded. Thanks Matt Owen for sanding it!

After!! I LOVE it!!!! (I have not installed the baseboards yet in the bathroom as seen in the picture.)

The feet had to be sanded too. I love the detail work.

The 'after'....although I loaded this picture on my computer and noticed the dust on them! I'll be sure to dust it off!

Nasty before bathroom floor

After ripping up linoleum and two subfloors. We had to patch concrete...oh and this was the room I used a jackhammer in!

The after shot, although once again when looking at the picture on my computer the floor looks so dusty and dirty. oops. Still have final touches like lights/mirror for the room but its almost complete.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cost Effective Upgrades

If you are looking for some cost effective ways to upgrade or give your home a fresh look I'll be sharing some of my tips on here! Now, I know not everyone can just whip out the tile saw and re-tile a room or shower. I'll start with this room, one of our bathrooms. I didn't need the extra counter space because of having the cupboard below to hold my stuff. The cabinet was an oak cabinet that had the varnish fading. It looked dated and old. The faucet as you can see also had a dated look to it. (Also, this was our go to bathroom during the renovations and we were not living there in this filth!!)

Something you may not know about me and Zach, but are probably aware of is that we are the most frugal people ever. (Possibly to a fault!) We NEVER pay full price for anything and always try to find the good deals. We often browse the clearance section at Lowe's and that is where we have found some great faucets for CHEAP. I believe this faucet was originally $250 or so and we got it for maybe $25. So for this vanity I sanded it and use a good furniture spray paint. The paint cost $5. The granite top was the most expensive of the project but I used a coupon from those smart card things so it was $20 off. The granite top ended up being right around $200. So for less then $250 we got this awesome fresh look that completely changed the bathroom's appearance!

This ugly tile was creamy/peach colored and just didn't capture the eye because it was only partially up the wall.

One of the things I do to keep tile jobs cheap is using the basic in-stock tile at Home Depot. It is usually 59 cents a sq foot. I put the tile way up the wall so it made the room look much taller then it really is. It also gave it that calming spa feel that I was going for! A new showerhead off the clearance rack at Lowes was $5 and in-stock Home Depot faucet completed the look! (I took the pic with the blue painters tape still on the top)

By far the cheapest and EASIEST upgrade/change is PAINT! You can get a gallon of paint for $15 and redo a whole bathroom. I love painting. It is that instant gratification when working on a project!
This is our bedroom where we took out carpet and put in engineered hardwood floors that we found on clearance at Home Depot. The walls were white so 2 cans of Olympic brand paint from Lowe's and we had a whole new bedroom! I stripped the popcorn ceiling too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

East Nashville Flip House

Well as you can see I've taken a several month break from blogging! I have been too busy to blog and finally at a point where I have some 'before and after' pics of our latest flip house. This has been the most intensive flip we have ever done. The condition was horrible because it had been vacant for 2 years. There was a roof leak that went on for so long that parts of the ceilings inside had drywall caving in. No worries though as the first thing we did on day 1 of the remodel was ripping off the old roof and installing a new one. No more leaks!! The worst part was tearing down all the interior ceilings to put up new drywall and insulation going in the attic. The insulation was the blow in kind so it was little pieces of drywall everywhere...oh do I have pictures of that!! We pulled permits on this home as there was so much extensive work to be done. We have essentially rebuilt the home from the existing frame and foundation. Follow along as we finish up the home in the next few weeks!! Also, it is not too late to take advantage of home purchase tax credits by the end of April. If you have any questions or need a REALTOR this Spring, contact me at

Before Picture

There was this awkward wall separation thing that we tore down to make it feel bigger and flow better.

Progress so far

The BATHROOM...oh my it was awkward and gross!! We ripped every thing out of it. The only thing left was the concrete slab floor. It felt so tiny because of the layout, but feels much bigger now.

That vanity/sink was only 16 inches wide. And the water heater is NOT in the bathroom anymore!

All new drywall

New Paint! The tile floor was put in late last night but I didn't get a picture yet. I'm so excited about the antique clawfoot tub that is going in the bathroom (it will have the shower connection installed too.)