HOA Rental Restrictions – Owner Perspectives

My homeowner association is trying to take away my property rights!  They say I can’t rent my home to a tenant.  They can’t do that!  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard those words from upset owners of condos and townhouses. … [Read more...]

Radon and the Tooth Fairy

Remember when you were very young and it was easy to believe in things you couldn't see, like the Tooth Fairy?   The Tooth Fairy was so cool, giving you money for something you no longer needed.  And even when the day came that your baby teeth or your belief were no more, the Tooth Fairy didn't get mad at being ignored.  Good ol'  TF was never bad or harmful. … [Read more...]

The Sculpture Mystery

Houses hold stories created by their inhabitants.  Sometimes the house itself contains the story’s physical record: the successively-higher pencil lines on a doorjamb showing a child’s growth; the secret hiding spot above the ceiling tile; the dusty box of letters left in a forgotten corner of the attic.  These relics provide unique connections from prior home owners to later ones. … [Read more...]

What I Miss About Being A Seller

Selling your home in a buyer's market causes physical exhaustion, inflicts financial stress and delivers an emotional beating.  Sellers who enjoy these circumstances are as rare as cats with insomnia. We sold our place in 2010 after being on the market for what seemed like an eternity.  The next time we sell, it better be because we're moving to a tropical island.   … [Read more...]

Agents Are From Mars, Consumers Are From Venezuela

It is human nature to view oneself in terms of value, and others in terms of cost. This paradox is never more evident than in a business setting. No exception to the rule, Real Estate agents and consumers must coexist in an arena of disparate interests and subjective truths. In the search for common ground, … [Read more...]

Smells That Sell

Right now, some Realtor® is saying “If it smells, it doesn’t sell” to a client because their house needs a scent make-over.  Smells bad, that is.  But what about pleasant odors?  There are several schools of thought about which aromas are the most buyer-friendly. … [Read more...]

How to X-ray an HOA #9 – Putting It All Together (Conclusion)

Making wise decisions about buying into a condo or townhouse development requires more due diligence than purchasing a traditional single family home.  Once the needed info has been gathered, assigning relative weights to the pros and cons of different places becomes the next challenge.  It’s enough to make you wish there was an “Angie’s List” or a “Consumer Reports Buying Guide” for HOA communities.   Deciding which home is the best choice is a highly individual matter. But there are a few universal principles to keep in mind: Principle No. 1:  The 3 most important things about real estate … [Read more...]

The Cat’s Guide to Preventing a House Sale

Listen up, fellow felines!  Your peeps are trying to sell your home out from underneath you.  And they haven't even asked permission, have they?   Everyone knows that we cats hate, hate, hate change.  Not like those silly dogs, so eager to explore new places.  We like things just the way they are.   If you have never had the trauma of being forcibly moved, let me tell you it's a nightmare.  The locations of your  food bowl and litter box - totally changed!  You have to fend off who knows what to claim the new place as your territory.  You must cultivate new napping spots.   You will have … [Read more...]

Take It Off, Take It Half Off!!!

When your house is on the market, impressing potential buyers is critical.  Among other things, your home needs to feel spacious. Not the empty-and-abandoned kind of spacious, but the "look how my stuff fits nicely with room left over" kind of spacious. You can get that effect by halving certain things, like the ones mentioned below. Bookshelves.  Take half of the books off.  Put 1-3 artsy objects at different spots on the shelves to add visual interest. Closets should be half empty.  Store your out-of-season clothes somewhere else.  Donate excess stuff to charity.  Get rid of extra … [Read more...]

Foreclosure Rescue Scams

The possibility of losing your home is terrifying.   Scam artists prey on the hopes and fears of desperate owners by claiming they can save your home.  These criminals want to trick you into giving them your money and your home.  They will then disappear, leaving you worse than they found you.  The Federal Trade Commission publishes a "Facts for Consumers" sheet describing the danger signs that you are dealing with a scammer.  Red Flags.   If you’re looking for foreclosure prevention help, avoid any business that: guarantees to stop the foreclosure process – no matter what your … [Read more...]

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