Sunday, October 27, 2013

Do Credit Scores Matter?

Time to whip out the mailbag and do a little work answering questions instead of staring out the window pondering the meaning of life, day light savings time (coming up next week) and just how many candy bars can one can eat without crossing over from just enough of a sugar buzz to over-the-top-sugar-bat-nut-crazy. (It's a fine line).

Howard The Shelter Cat
Yep, these are the things that keep me from doing what I need to do. It's no help that Howard The Shelter Cat remains lackadaisical by it all.

Someone needs to work, though, and for the time being, apparently I'm it. So here we go…

Dear Home Diva,
Does your credit score really matter that much when it comes to buying a home?
Keeping Score

Dear Keeping Score, 

As with most things in life, the highest score wins. The higher your credit score, the easier it is to obtain your goals.  My mortgage adviser tells me credit is everything followed closely by income. 

Most realtors work closely with a mortgage adviser to help home buyers overcome whatever financial hurdles they might have in their lives, find the best mortgage options and help walk them through the financial loan process. 

If credit is an issue for you, a good mortgage adviser can provide some tips for you to help get you in financial shape. 

And, best of all? The advice is free. 

The Home Diva

Sunday, October 20, 2013

From Harry Potty's House to It's a Wonderful Life--Name That House!

Harry Potter's room beneath the staircase

Some people name cars, I name houses.

Remembering street addresses and the homes for sale attached to them used to be fairly problematic for me. Not a particularly good thing for a realtor. In my defense, my memory has never been very good. I have always struggled to remember stuff, but stick a visual or theme in there, and I can "see" and remember everything.

Thus, the birth of my house naming:
•the Zebra House so named for its black and white striped wall paper
•Harry Potty's House because instead of a closet located beneath the stairs, there was a half bathroom
•the Tilt-A-Whirl house because, yep, you guessed it right--it had serious foundation issues
•an 1888 Victorian became the It's-A-Wonderful-Life house because it oozed happiness, and I always half expected to see Jimmy Stewart running up the stairs and bells ringing for Clarence to get his wings.

I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture. And I'm not the only one who names homes either. Someone in my office christened a house located on Greathouse Road as the Not-So-Great House. You can just image that one.

So think about it: Would you rather buy the It's-A-Wonderful-Life House or the Tilt-A-Whirl house? Do you want buyers walking away from your home with a positive nomenclature or a negative one.

So, what name would you give your home?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Junkies, HGTV & Stage Fright

I am a junkie.

There I said it.

I am a junkie, and it's sucking the life and time right out of me.

No, I am not that kind of junkie. No siree, Missy. I am an HGTV junkie.

There I admit it.

Isn't that the first step to redemption…salvation…recovery?

Here it is Friday afternoon--a time I blocked out to re-sort my files, complete paperwork and plan some open house marketing strategies.

Instead, I am sitting on the floor blogging, drinking coffee and watching one of my five taped "Love It or List It" programs. I already squandered an hour watching the Property Brothers, and with House Hunters International just around the corner, I fear I am doomed.

To top it all off, I have a stack of Ask The Home Diva questions mocking me unanswered.

So let's get the mailbag out and at least answer one question for today…

Dear Home Diva,
Do you think staging is a good way to sell your home?
Stage Fright

Dear Stage Fright,

Staging can certainly help sell a home, but it doesn't have to be the costly kind of staging where you hire a stager, rent furniture and set up a model home. Most of us don't have the type of home that merits that kind of expense.

Instead, remove all clutter and excess from your home. Rent storage space if you need to. Remove items that scream personal--family pictures, religious items etc. because you want buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in your house. They can't do that if they're looking at your stuff and imagining your life in your home. Remove and store excess furniture so rooms appear more spacious. Remove and store out-of-season clothing so your closets are less crammed. Remove and store… well you get the idea.

Think model home and turn your home into one staging it that way. If you're not sure what that looks like, spend an afternoon visiting model homes and stage your home accordingly. For example, if you have a breakfast bar, set it up with placements, napkins and china. Work at those little touches that define the space without personalizing the space. It's easy to do and inexpensive.

The Home Diva

Remember to keep those questions coming. You can submit them at

Well, I've gotta jet and change the channels. I just noticed Judge Judy is on, but that, my dears, is an entirely different story and a separate addiction…

Friday, October 4, 2013

Some Photos Are Best Left Unsnapped

My author/e-book publisher/sister Maggie Bonham sent me a rather interesting link to Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs. A site described as devoted to "inexplicably bad property photographs. It's that simple."

Simple it may be. Hilarious it certainly is.

It's the type of site that makes you want to pop the photographer upside his or her head and shout, "What in the Sam Hill were you thinking!?!" These are the types of  photographs that would give even  George Eastman pause and cause him to wonder why he introduced his Kodak camera to the masses.

Followers of the site submit photographs with captions. Ostensibly, the photographs were shot by real estate agents and posted on housing sites.

There are gems like this one…

Fortunately, my photo skills are above average given my journalism/education background. And,  I must confess that I do not know any real estate agents who would shoot such shots let alone post them for public viewing.  

Still, I'm always up for a good laugh and thought you might need one, too.