Getting The Most From Your Home Warranty Policy

Home Warranty Service Agreements are excellent tools that can cover the repair and replacement of certain systems and appliance failures that occur due to normal wear and tear. Each year, there’s a 68% chance that a major system or appliance within a home will fail, making a Home Warranty Service Agreement a smart choice when it comes to protecting a homeowner’s important investment.

A common misconception among homeowners is that their Home Warranty Service Agreement and homeowners insurance policy are similar. Buyers should understand that a Home Warranty Service Agreement doesn’t insure against losses, and that it only covers the specific systems and appliances listed in their agreement which fail due to normal wear and tear. Their home insurance policy kicks in after a theft, a large storm that causes damage to the home, a fire, and certain natural disasters. These policies are typically mandatory per the bank issuing the homeowner’s mortgage.

A Home Warranty Service Agreement covers important systems, like the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in a home, or major appliances like the refrigerator or oven. If one of the covered systems or appliances stops working the homeowner can use their Home Warranty Service Agreement to have an authorized, independent Service Contractor come to the home and diagnosis the failure. However, it’s important that buyers also understand the limitations of the Home Warranty Service Agreement.

Homeowners are often disappointed when they learn that a breakdown in their home isn’t eligible for repair or replacement, with the HVAC unit being a common breakdown that may not be covered in full.  Home inspectors are not qualified to fully inspect the HVAC unit and buyers often do not realize there may be issues that were not identified during their home inspections.

I partner with 2-10 Home Warranty which offers a program through which buyers can order a full certification of the HVAC unit by a HVAC technician during their inspection period of the contract for minimal cost.  Once the unit is inspected and certified, the unit is fully covered under the Home Warranty with no pre-existing condition exclusions.  If it fails the inspection, my buyers are in a position to request the needed repairs be made by the seller.

There is a difference among home warranty companies and my goal is to educate and inform my buyers to gain the most from their policy.

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Real Estate Problems – “Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.” Henry Ford

There will always be situations that arise in the sale of your home.  Often, these are weather related issues.  Nashville has just experienced one of its worst winter storms in recent years and that has resulted in roofs leaking due to ice dams.  Prior years have seen frozen pipes due to freezing temperatures.

When I am the listing agent, I find that the first phone call the homeowner makes is to me and I expect them to rely on me for assistance.  Part of the value that I bring to the transaction is making something complicated, simple.  I want to play a significant role in your life.  Part of the expertise that I bring to the table is problem resolution.  The working relationships I have with reputable contractors in my market is invaluable in helping solve problems quickly at a lower cost.

A recent transaction involved a gas leak in a home that was detected during the final inspection by the new buyer.  The seller had already moved out of state.  Quick resolution was necessary so as not to delay closing and the source of the leak was quickly identified and the situation resolved.

Listen to what that meant for this homeowner:

We also want to thank you for taking care of the house after we relocated to Georgia, including unexpected repairs and emergencies. We had much less anxiety knowing you were there. 

I do not sell houses.  I partner with you in the sale of your home and provide professional expertise to make your move seamless and simple.

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Selling a Home TIPS: List to Close in 45 Days

I recently did a listing appointment with a homeowner in the popular Providence area of Mt. Juliet.  The owners were relocating due to a job change and the husband had already started his new job and was commuting back and forth.  This was a multi-generational family with young children.

As I toured the home with the family, it was evident that the focus of their family life was on the young children.  The couple realized their home was not “show” ready and they did not feel like they were going to be able to market their home while they were still living there, yet, they did not want to make the move and leave an empty home behind to sell.  The wife was under stress trying to maintain the household while the husband was away the majority of the week.  In the present condition of the home, it would not bring the selling price that they were hoping for, even though this is a highly desired area.

Part of my marketing strategy was helping the homeowners have a vision about what their home could look like and how we could successfully market it while they were still living there.

What do I mean by vision?  It is the ability to have an imaginative conception or anticipation of what a home could be.  I had to convey that message to the homeowner and give them concrete steps on how to achieve that.

Home staging is a true marketing technique to make the property appealing to the greatest number of potential customers.  We could say that it is the art of improving the image of the home before placing it on the market to facilitate a sale in the shortest time and at the best price.

The homeowners spent some time on their own decluttering and removing personal effects, the best first step for all homeowners.  I then spent an afternoon with the homeowner.  I discovered that the wife was a talented artist.  When I first toured the home, her artwork was lost in the clutter.  We spent an afternoon moving furniture and artwork to enhance the features of each room.   A professional photographer then came to do the photo shoot.

We had the home under contract in a week.  The home closed 45 days from the day it was listed and the seller got the higher price they desired.

Here is what the seller had to say about their Providence home:

Remember the first time you visited our house? The house was kind of in a mess.  At that time, we didn’t think it’s possible for us to put the house on the market while still living there. You changed our mind by offering sound advice and help.  Thank you for taking extra time and effort to help us preparing the house in its best shape for the market.  The photographer you hired did a great job. And other marketing efforts (beautiful web pages, flyers, booklet, and the open house) you put on.   All these contributed greatly for the house to sell in a week!

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Service, gratitude, goodwill and a new school year

DSC_1874As the school year begins anew, I find myself trying to pass along life lessons for success to teenage children embarking upon senior years in high school and college.  Are they absorbing my words of wisdom?  I hope so, but only time will tell as they complete their eduation and begin careers for themselves.  I know that our kids pay much closer attention to what we do rather than what we say. One of the most important lessons I have tried to pass on to my children is to remain a life long learner.

As all real estate agents know,  the way we do business continues to change, and this is exciting. We need to be flexible, able to let go of old technology, and build up our brains for tackling the new.   I have been a Coldwell Banker real estate agent for 9 years.  I remain a Coldwell Banker agent because they have been and continue to be an innovation leader.  I spent one full day this week with my Coldwell Banker marketing guru as she helped us embrace social media and link sites together to communicate with our customers on whatever platform they are using.  It is exciting to engage with people in these new mediums so now you will find me on Twitter.  Past clients will find me reaching out to them on LinkIn.  I hope you will “like” my Facebook business page and I will continue to stretch my blogging skills here.

Real estate is my career and how I make a living but I also hope to model for my children that making a living does not make a life. Service, gratitude, and goodwill translate across any platform.  My goal has always been to provide clients with great service, accurate information, and solid guidance.  Financial success is always a byproduct of serving people well.

Have a great school year!

p.s. the artwork is courtesy of one of my great teenagers!

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Hire a Home Inspector for New Construction?

Many buyers visit model homes with the intent of building their dream home and enter into an contract to build their home without an agent representing their interests.  Most people assume that, because it is a new home, it will be problem free.  They assume the builder and the builder’s agent will fairly represent their interests.  When buyers ask the builder or their agent if they should have a home inspection, the answer is typically “you are free to do so but I don’t know why you feel it would be necessary”.  Believe me, I have heard that many times.

I always encourage my clients to have an agent representing their interests on every transaction.  I also encourage all buyers to have a home inspection performed, regardless of whether it is a new or existing home.  In my experience, it is always beneficial to have a licensed inspector taking a look at the home during the construction process with my buyer’s interests in mind.

I recently received this from a customer that purchased a home in a new neighborhood:

We are so happy you put us in touch with a home inspector.  You would not believe the problems that people are having that did not get their own inspector.  Plumbing problems, toilets leaking around the base, pipes leaking under the kitchen sink, no power to some rooms, wiring done wrong, switches that do nothing, garage doors that don’t work properly. We are so grateful we had an inspector looking out for us.


Thinking of building?  See a realtor BEFORE visiting your first model home and then hire a home inspector.  The builders will typically pay the real estate commissions and the inspection is a small investment to help ensure that your dream home is truly what you dreamed it to be.




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Spring 2014 Paint Color Trends

paintThis has been a COLD winter and we’ve spent a lot of time in our cozy, warm homes.  Maybe you’ve looked around at your walls and thought that a fresh coat of paint may be in order or you are just ready for a change from your current color palette.  What are paint trends for Spring 2014?

Take a look……and Dear Spring, please hurry!

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Your Hearth and Home…..An updated look for that tired fireplace

With our recent cold weather, our fireplaces are a source of heat and a focal point in our homes, but have you often wished you could give your fireplace a facelift?  Check out these before and after photos to give you some ideas for your fireplace makeover.  Stay Warm!!


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foodWith the rise of sustainability movements, farmers’ markets are growing in popularity almost everywhere you look. Farmers’ markets are a great way to lay your hands on some of the freshest fruits and vegetables while supporting farmers and their families right in your community.

Knowing where your food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. Instead of having a single relationship – to a big supermarket – you develop smaller connections to more food sources. All of the sudden you know vendors at the farmers market, the buying manager at the local cheese shop, the butcher at your favorite meat counter, the workers at the co-op that sells local eggs. For some people the benefit of this is social and psychological; for all of us, though, it pays off in the foods we eat.  I sure enjoy a locally grown tomato at the peak of the season and also enjoy chatting with the person that has brought their produce to the market for sale.

I have used this great website to find everything from local farmers’ markets to family farms in my area.  Check this out!  You will enjoy getting out to your local markets and may find a family farm that offers something you are looking for.  Enjoy and happy eating!  (

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Foreclosure or Short Sale in Your Past? Now You Can Buy Again Sooner!

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier.

For borrowers who went through recession-related financial event, FHA stated it realizes “their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

In order to be eligible for the more lenient approval process, provided documents must show “certain credit impairments” were from loss of employment or loss of income that was beyond their control. The lender also needs to verify the income loss was at least 20 percent for a period lasting for at least six months.

Additionally, borrowers must demonstrate they have fully recovered from the event that caused the hardship and complete housing counseling.

According to the letter, recovery from an economic event involves reestablishing “satisfactory credit” for at least 12 months. Criteria for satisfactory credit include 12 months of good payment history on payments such as a mortgage, rent, or credit account.

The new guidance is for case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013, and is effective through September 30, 2016.

Source:  ESTHER CHO,

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ImageSchools are a contributing factor for anyone buying a home. Even if you don’t have kids yourself, your next buyer might, and they might base their decision to buy on the school district which serves your home.

The question remains: How do you evaluate schools? What’s the best approach for understanding if your local schools will score your property an “A” or relegate it to the land of “D-”?

Luckily, there are some excellent resources out there for vetting schools online. Here are a few I’ve come across which provide a good place to start: A major portal site for education everywhere, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the schools section, found here: A good search engine for researching schools, you can do zip code based searches and learn lots about the public and private institutions in the area. A website dedicated to improving public schools, you can learn a lot here about the crucial elements of what makes a local school and excellent local school.

Looking for neighborhoods with great schools? I can help!

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