- Melissa Kellerman
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful experience without the security of a trusted REALTOR in your corner.
Choose me to be your trusted REALTOR.
I will guide you through every step of this rewarding process with professionalism and dedication. My attention to detail, strong communication and 100% effort will deliver the results you deserve. It is my mission to build lasting relationships and earn repeat referrals. The key to this is providing my clients with personalized service before, during and after every transaction. I am here to help you with all of your real estate needs.
Feel free to call or email me anytime!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Given the recovering economy, some homeowners may be delaying smaller home repairs to save their hard-earned cash. However, delaying smaller issues could lead to larger problems down the road. Here are a few repairs that you would be best off not ignoring.
Never neglect your annual HVAC inspection. By having an HVAC inspection at least once a year, you can ensure that your heating, air conditioning and ventilation are all working properly. The inspection may find that the furnace blower isn't working properly, which can prevent a broken heat exchanger down the road. You may also find that the reversing switch in the heat pump is broken. If handled sooner rather than later, you can save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars by replacing these items for $100-300. It will also save you extra money on your heating bills.
Chimney inspections are also important. For $150, you can have your chimney inspected and cleaned, removing creosote buildup and helping to prevent water from leaking in. If too much moisture gets in and ruins the chimney liner, you may have to drop thousands of dollars on a new one. Again, spending a couple hundred dollars to clean it and make sure it has the appropriate capping and calking will save you thousands later on.
Regular termite inspections are not only beneficial, but will also give you peace of mind. Once a year, in the spring or summer, have an inspector come search your property for flying or grounded termites. The average homeowner loss for damage caused by these little buggers is nearly $3,000, but some losses can reach as high as tens-of-thousands of dollars. For under $200, you can rest assured.
Dryer vent cleaning can prevent clog-ups that cause fires in many homes. Excess lint in the vents can overheat, catch fire and possibly burn your entire home to the ground. Clean these vents out at least once a year to protect your home and belongings.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Communication is Key
First, it's important for parents to explain the moving process by providing children with as much information as possible and allowing them to participate in decision-making discussions. This will give children a sense of control and help relieve anxiety. Talk about the positive aspects of their new home, school and neighborhood. Try to communicate the idea that the new home, if given a fair chance, can be even better than the old one. Encourage questions and invite children to talk about their worries.
Manage Your Stress
Children pick up on our own stress-levels so it's a good idea for the whole family if you try to manage your stress as much as possible. Having a plan, staying organized, packing wisely and clearly communicating with your moving company are all ways to minimize your stress on moving day.
Rehearse Ahead of Time
For younger children, the move should be made into an exciting adventure. Encourage your child to pack his or her own things, but be sure to leave favorite toys out until the very end. Act out moving day well ahead of time. A conversation could go something like this: "On Friday when you wake up, there will be a big truck in the driveway. We will have breakfast, then go into your room, and show the movers which things to put on the truck. Then, after the truck is filled we will get in our car and go to our new home. Then we will tell the movers exactly where to put your things in your new room."
Because we all fear the unknown, if possible, take children with you to look at potential neighborhoods, homes/apartments and schools. It may be more expensive and require extra effort, but it will ease the transition and help children begin to make the adjustment.
If your children are really young, consider hiring a babysitter while you pack and on moving day. Otherwise, resist the temptation to send children away during the move. Participating will help them understand what's happening and can help them adjust more easily to their new surroundings. Even so, don't be dismayed if your child exhibits regressive behavior such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking. It's quite normal.
Make It Fun
For older children, a move that involves leaving friends, sports teams, and favorite hangouts behind can be extremely difficult. Help them say good-bye to friends by hosting a good-bye party. Emphasize how easy it is to keep in touch through email and by phone; you could even give each of your children his or her own address book and make the party an opportunity for friends to write in their personal contact information.
If at all possible, time the move to coincide with the start of a new school year or term. Contact coaches and club advisors at the new school and ask them to assist your child with the transition.
Get Back to the Status Quo
Once you are settled in your new home, resume familiar routines as soon as possible. If it's a tradition in your family to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, for example, you should continue the practice as soon as possible in your new home.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Remember to highlight the home's strengths and take attention away from the weaknesses. Pick up and organize every room as much as possible. Organize book shelves, cabinets, closets, or any other nook and cranny a buyer might want to see. If a particular room has a fault, rearrange furniture or redesign the room as needed to draw the attention elsewhere.
Choose and place your furniture wisely. Be sure not to overcrowd a room with couches, tables and chairs. The end goal should be to make each room as spacious as possible, so cut down on the number of items, and remove any that may look old or beaten up. Try "floating" furniture away from the walls and more toward the center of the room. This will enhance the illusion of space and make the room look that much bigger.
Light it up: Proper lighting can give a home a warm, welcome feeling. Replace low-wattage bulbs with higher wattages. Be sure to have different types of lighting in each room (overhead lights, reading lights, etc). If you can, take advantage of natural light during daytime hours. Open up those drapes and let the sun shine through. The welcome feel your home gives off will be both infectious and memorable.
Repurpose storage rooms. For those miscellaneous storage rooms, be sure to repurpose them into something a buyer can picture themselves using. Create a craft room, game room or office with the extra space. You want to put ideas into the heads of your buyers, not entice them with rooms filled with junk and clutter.
Give bathrooms a spa-like feel: Buyers love the look of a nice, neat and clean bathroom. Anything you can do to create a spa-like environment, the better. Roll towels and place them on display in wire racks. Spread candles on countertops, and have a scented plug or other soothing scent permeating the room. The more calming the bathroom feels, the more appealing it will be to viewers.
Homeowners need not spend hundreds of dollars on a professional stager, however, staging is essential to selling your home promptly. Staging every room in your house will be beneficial toward reaching your end goal.
Monday, September 19, 2011
What is pre-approval?In real estate lingo, to say you have been "pre-approved" or that you have mortgage "pre-approval" means you have a commitment in writing from a lender to lend you a specific amount to buy a home under certain conditions (e.g., length of the loan and interest rate). A pre-approval holds more weight than a loan pre-qualification, which is an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow.
Why is it important?It's important to have pre-approval for several reasons: It will let you know how much you can spend on a home and the size of mortgage you'll be able to obtain, it will give you an advantage when it comes time to bid on a property, and it will speed up the process when you find a home you want to buy.When you have a pre-approval letter for a loan, you'll know exactly how much you can borrow, and possibly the length of the loan (15 years, 30 years, etc.) and your interest rate. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend on a home and what your monthly payments will be like should you purchase the property.Buyers prefer sellers who have their financing in place. They don't want to choose a buyer who seems to be a qualified buyer, but can't come up with the funds to buy the house.If you are pre-approved with a reputable lender, you may be able to win a bid over another buyer should multiple buyers be interested in a particular home -- even if the offers from the other buyers are higher.When it comes time to place an offer on a home, having a pre-approval letter will speed up the process. That's because you won't have to wait to hear from a lender as to whether or not you've been approved.
How do you get it?You'll want to talk to a few lenders to search out loans that will best suit you and your financial situation. The lenders will require certain information, including: your income, your employment situation, how long you've been employed, and any debts you may have -- e.g., student loans, car loans and credit card debt -- and the source of your down payment.You may be asked to show your tax returns, bank statements and W2 forms. The lender will use this information to determine the maximum loan you can qualify for and your monthly mortgage payment.The lenders will also check your credit report and whether you have funds for a down payment and closing costs.But, even when you do get pre-approved, remember that there are some caveats: Pre-approval letters can be time-sensitive and are subject to an appraisal on the home you're purchasing, so while a pre-approval gives you a firm idea of how much you may be able to borrow, it's still not a concrete guarantee that you'll get the loan.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
By Melissa Kellerman
It is true! I can help you, your friends, and your family buy and/or sell real estate in any state.Although I live and work in Colorado Springs, I have an extensive Realtor referral network. I match people to agents all the time.
When a friend in Arizona tells me she is thinking about purchasing a home, I find a couple of agents to help her. How is this better than her just picking a random agent on her own? I prescreen the agents based on my friend's wants and needs, the area she's looking in, and for a personality match. I usually give 2 or 3 recommendations to my friend. I want her to make sure she meshes well with her new agent.
Let's say I have a friend who's brother lives in Idaho and need to sell his home, but is afraid it may be a short sale and doesn't know what to do. I research agents with successful short sale experience in his neighborhood. I also look for someone I think might connect well with the brother. Again, I give 2 or 3 referrals so that the seller can decide who they like best.
I would not connect an agent who sells million dollar condos with a buyer looking for farm land. I also wouldn't match an agent with no short sale experience with a seller trying to avoid foreclosure. It is important that I find someone who will do the very best for the buyer or seller. These folks trust me enough to help them, I can't hand them over to just anyone. I also make sure to follow up with the selected agent. I want to make sure they are taking great care of my referral.
So if you know ANYONE living ANYWHERE that is thinking about buying or selling, please put me in contact with them. I can help them!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sniff, sniff — that smell is buyers walking away from your odorous abode. Here's how to identify and fix what makes buyers hold their noses.
A buyers market is a tough challenge for sellers, says Patti Ketcham, owner of Ketcham Realty Group in Tallahassee, Fla.
The best way to find out whether a house smells OK is to "ask someone who doesn't live there to come inside and give an opinion," Gupta says.
The two most common sources of difficult and offensive odors are pets and cigarettes, neither of which, Gupta says, is easy to remediate.
Cigarette smoke can cling to furnishings, drapes and other window coverings and work its way inside walls. Some topically applied solutions can help to reduce the stench, but an ozone generator, hydroxyl generator or air scrubber should be more effective, Gupta says. These approaches are "very effective in absorbing odors," he says, though there is no guarantee that an odor can be eliminated.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The EIR provides access to information about the historical and current use of land in U.S. neighborhoods, especially uses that may pose environmental risks.
For over two decades, EDR has provided information nationwide for commercial real estate transactions. Now, homeowners and buyers, sellers, brokerages, real estate agents and home inspectors can directly access EDR's extensive database.
"Conducting an environmental history search on a possible new home or residential lot is a prudent step in the due diligence process for home buyers," says Max Cook, an environmental professional with Ranger Environmental Services, Inc. "Just as the market requires home buyers to procure appraisals and home inspections, the natural next step should be to identify impacts to properties or surrounding properties which have nearby contamination reports that could affect home occupants."
Commonly recorded impacts include contaminated soil or groundwater, and according to Cook, "facilities such as gas stations, dry cleaners, landfills, former airports and military bases are everywhere and can affect the environmental health of many neighborhoods across the U.S."
To run an EIR, users can visit www.environmentalissuesreport.com and enter the desired address to obtain a property map that shows environmental issues within a one-mile radius. Users can then request access to a more detailed report that will help inform them of the risk any reported event(s) poses to their home or well-being. If a professional opinion on the information is needed, users can consult with an environmental professional from EDR or consult with their real estate agent regarding the next steps to take.
According to EDR, current homeowners should consider evaluating their property for environmental impacts throughout their ownership, as spills and contamination events happen often.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
(MONEY Magazine) -- Most of the news lately about real estate has been dismal: Home prices are swooning, foreclosures ballooning.
As with many investments, the best time to get in is when most others are sitting on the sidelines. To figure out whether you can benefit by investing in rental property, here's what you need to know.