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BATTLING THE NEIGHBORHOOD EYESORE
How to battle the neighborhood eyesore when it's next door to your listing.
By: By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Abandoned Nevada homes can be an unpleasant sight. Overgrown lawns, boarded windows, sagging gutters, and unsightly mold - not to mention, a higher risk of fires, vandalism, rodents, and mosquitoes.
Properties are often left to deteriorate while in Nevada foreclosure limbo; the owner is already gone but the bank can't take possession until the Nevada foreclosure process is finalized.
So what happens when you have to sell the property next door? According to research by the Center for Responsible Lending, foreclosures will affect 91.5 million nearby homes by 2012 and reduce property values of these homes by $20,300 per household.
“We were getting a lot of complaints from real estate professionals about these properties looking unkempt and asking what we can do about it,” says Bud Humbert with Century 21 Associates in Waldorf, Md., and also the chairman of the legislative committee for the Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS®. On behalf of his association, Humbert, also an REO specialist, approached Charles County officials to request that they update the county's nuisance abatement law to include a "clean and lien " provision. The rule would allow the county to step in and clean up vacant properties and put a lien on them for the cost of the cleanup. Other cities and counties have enacted similar ordinances.
If that neighborhood eyesore is bringing down your listing, here are some steps you can take:
Notify the homeowners' association. Most HOAs will pay to have the grass mowed and take care of maintenance issues, and then tack the expense on to the HOA bill, which will have to be cleared by the bank before the property sells, Humbert says.
Investigate local and state laws. Some states, such as California, will fine owners for not maintaining properties. New Jersey passed a law that puts banks in charge of maintaining the property from the beginning of the foreclosure process. Whom should you contact with your gripe? Start with your city's building division; it's often in charge of making sure a vacant property is boarded and secured. The bylaw department can check for building code violations, the fire department can inspect for fire hazards, and the police can help if there's vandalism.
Make property boundaries clear. "We are called on to handle this situation frequently, " says Margaret Innis, owner of home staging company Decorate To Sell in Andover, Mass. "On the outside, fences make good neighbors; so does landscaping with arborvitae shrubs - a fast fix worth the investment. Inside, use plantation blinds turned down so the light comes in but the view does not. "
Help with cleanup. Stepping in to help with the maintenance can be tricky. Regardless of your good intentions, your actions could be considered trespassing. First figure out who owns the property, which can be a challenge in itself, and then offer your assistance. Some cities and counties have started a vacant property registration that makes it easier to locate the owner. When Andy Hood, with Weichert, REALTORS® - Covington Group in Madison, Miss., struggled to sell a condo that overlooked the patio of a foreclosed property, he called the neighbor and asked if he could clean. "The woman was grateful and accepted my offer, " he says. "I hauled away a truckload of junk, pressure-washed the exterior, washed the patio furniture, and weeded and pruned her flower beds and shrubs. " Hood's listing sold immediately after.
Benjamin Franklin proposed that the turkey be the national bird. He was dismayed when the bald eagle won that distinction as he believed the turkey to be "a much more respectable bird."
When Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin sat down to eat their first meal on the moon, their foil food packets contained roasted turkey and all of the trimmings.
Turkey consumption has more than doubled over the past 25 years. In 2009, the average American consumed 16.9 pounds of the popular poultry.
In 2009, more than 247 million turkeys were raised. More than 226 million were consumed in the United States.
Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day forward one week, as it is presently celebrated.
NEVADA REAL ESTATE MARKET | OCTOBER SALES STATISTICS
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Pending Home Sales Down, Still Higher Than a Year Ago
Washington, DC, October 27, 2011
Pending home sales declined in September, although activity remains above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 4.6 percent to 84.5 in September from 88.6 in August but is 6.4 percent higher than September 2010 when it stood at 79.4. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market is being excessively constrained. "A combination of weak consumer confidence and continuing tight lending criteria held back home buyers, even though the private sector added nearly 2 million net new jobs in the past 12 months," he said.
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6 Worth-the-Price Fix-Ups
Simple and affordable do-it-yourself projects can greatly increase a home's resale value, according to HomeGain's annual home improvement and staging survey.
The marketing company surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals to discover which DIY home improvement projects give sellers the biggest return for their buck. Here are six projects under $1,000 (amounts are estimated) that made the list.
1. Cleaning and decluttering. Remove any personal items, unclutter countertops, organize closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean.
2. Brightening. Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.
3. Smart staging. Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.
4. Landscaping enhancements. Punch up the home's curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared for and manicured.
5. Repairing electrical or plumbing. Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home's electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don't work, and replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.
6. Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets. Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.
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About The Ballen Group .
Lori Ballen and her husband Richard Ballen manage a top producing Las Vegas Real Estate Team at Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas on DI and Durango with Debbie Zois and Dave Jenks. As Las Vegas Short Sale Specialists, Lori and her team focus on distressed properties and residential real estate in Nevada.
Lori Ballen is a Mega Agent managing her team called The Ballen Group at Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas. Working with her 10 member team which includes her husband Richard, Lori has created a model for success. Using Gary Keller's Models, she never takes the pedal off lead generation which includes dominating search engines, working the database, managing he team web site, running daily ads, and staying on top of the most innovative marketing strategies such as her use of video. Using these tactics, The Ballen's earned awards in their short career such as rookies of the year AND top agents in the company their first year and many more top achievements in the years to follow.
The Ballen Group is an award winning team specializing in Distressed properties - specifically Las Vegas Short Sales as well as residential real estate in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.