5 Common Mistakes when Buying a Home

5 Common Mistakes when Buying a Home

Are you thinking of purchasing a home for the first time? Looking for a home can be exhausting and exciting at the same time. For some the process may seem a bit daunting as well since there are so many things to look at during the home purchasing journey. 

A lot of people make mistakes when buying a house and any oversight in buying a house can continue to haunt you for the rest of your life. You should arm yourself with the advice that follows to avoid committing costly mistakes and shop for the perfect house with confidence.

  1. Buying Homes Made of Unusual Materials
  2. You shouldn’t buy a house that isn’t made using mortar and brick. Buying homes made of timber, cob, wattle, and daub may appear nice but they are not recommended materials for use in a house, especially in urban settings. You should stick to homes made of standard materials when it comes for buying a house that will be used as a primary place of residence. 

  3. Not Negotiating Properly
  4. Every homebuyer wants a home at the lowest price possible. The best method to achieve this is through negotiations. Know that most sellers advertise the house a bit above the market price. You should research about the market price of properties in the area, similar to the one you want to purchase. 

    Also, avoid low-balling during the buying process. Low-balling simply refers to making an unrealistically low bid for the house, which is far lower than the market price. This will only waste time both for you and the seller.

  5. Impulsive House Buying
  6. When it comes to real estate, there is no such thing as love at first sight. You should look at no less than seven properties before signing any contract. It’s easy to fall in love with a beautifully designed house, and forget all the faults that can be revealed with closer inspection. But this oversight can  be costly for you in the long run.

    Instead of jumping on the first or second house you see, it’s much better to look for different houses and closely examine them for defects and faults. This will ensure that you don’t feel any remorse or post-purchase regret when buying the house.

  7. Not Paying for a Professional Inspection
  8. A number of first home buyers make the mistake of buying a home without getting it inspected by a professional. They think that they are saving money and time by not having a professional house inspection. However, this can prove costly for you. Without a thorough inspection of the house by an expert, you won’t be able to know about pest and mold infestations, structural problems, and other things that can prove to be expensive to fix. 

  9. Buying a ‘Short Sale’ or ‘Real Estate Owned’
  10. Many buyers don’t know about the real estate buzzwords marketers use to sell foreclosed houses such as ‘short sale’ and ‘real estate owned’ (REO). Some brokers use these terms to lure first time buyers and making them think that they are buying the property at a bargain, when in fact they are overpaying for the property. Moreover, foreclosed properties may come with titles that are encumbered with liens and judgments that you may have to pay to close the deal.

By keeping in mind the above tips, you can avoid making costly mistakes when buying a house. Note that you must weigh in different options when buying a house. Also, you can drastically reduce the risk of making mistakes by working with a professional realtor.

A Few Midtown Beauties

1294 Harbert-8

1294 Harbert – $190,000.  Almost 2000 sq ft with large light filled living room, separate dining, eat in kitchen, and detached garage with electricity (think man cave or shop!).  Three bedrooms plus an office or guest room, new appliances, new countertops, newly sodded back yard, and inviting front porch. Come take a look at this Midtown Beauty.


Newer construction in Midtown in Cooper Young Place.  $345,000 for this three bedroom, two and half bath home, with a little over 2500 sq ft.  Low maintenance exterior with brick, hardy plank siding, and irrigation system. Wonderful ceiling heights downstairs with open versatile floorplan surrounding the kitchen.  Living life right in the wonderful neighborhood.

1874 Manilla-2 1874 Manilla-3

1874 Manila is $134,000 for this brick and stucco home in Cooper Young.  Two bedrooms and 1 bath and so many updates.  In the last 8 or so years the roof has been replaced, furnace replaced, brand new dishwasher and washing machine (yes it includes the washer and dryer!).  Double pane windows, updated light fixtures, and new walk way are just a few items that will make you fall in love with this cute Bungalow.

What Every Millennial Should Do Prior to Buying a House?

What Every Millennial Should Do Prior to Buying a House?

It’s a millennial era in real estate now, where youngsters seek a separate house to live their life. It feels good to see that current youth aims to stand on their own feet, and is able to bring home the bacon. Yet, it sounds weird, and simultaneously interesting that trend of millennial house buying has reached an acme in the real estate world.

Whether we call it modernism or an act of freedom, the fact is that current generations don’t want to get bound by roots, but want the freedom to travel, and establish their career. You’re not alone in trying to make your goal a reality!

Here are some things we suggest that you should keep in mind before buying a new house.

  1. Don’t Go it Alone
    Never take the risk of buying a home alone, i.e. without taking anyone’s guidance and opinion. Estate agents are more enlightened with rent rates in the market than you and are more knowledgeable. You must hire a reliable negotiator who could come up with best solutions for you according to your budget.
  2. Ask your Parents for Advice
    Never take the insights and wisdom of your parents for granted. They can guide you in terms of real estate, and home buying. They’ve seen more world than you, and they have also been through the market before and can add value to your home search. Take their advice, and then move forward.
  3. Take your Time
    Don’t rush. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments in your life, and it’s not an easy task. Apart from being the biggest expenditure one ever makes in their lifetime, it is as a very emotional and personal issue as well. So take your time to make a better and more informed decision.
  4. Don’t be Overwhelmed by Data
    Never solely count on data and technical information you’ve gathered. It can be overwhelming. Take cue from the people who have already bought a house. They also had to do everything without online data, and the Internet, but they manage to buy houses. How? The notable similarity at that time and now is the reliability of agents who provide their services and show numerous residential spots to land on.

Buying a new home is very responsible decision, which has to be made with proper planning and after thorough research. By following the tips we’ve shared above, you will certainly be able to make a better decision, and take a step closer to owning your first house.

Spend Less, Save More!

Spend Less, Save More!

The quote “A penny saved is a penny earned” is quite apt in current times. Inflation and financial expenses have made it rather difficult for most people to lead a posh life particularly in urban city spaces. When it comes to saving money, the only thing that comes to mind is budgeting.

Whether you call it money spending plan, or money management skill, the purpose of the activity is to evaluate your total expenses, explore significant ones, cut them down, and save.

If you’re also facing problems in managing your budget then it’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Take a deep breath, relax, and read intuitive budgeting ideas that we have compiled below to manage your home budgeting.


Idea # 1: Predict your expenses.

As the month starts, plan and predict all your expenses for the next 30 days including both important ones such as bills, credit cards, groceries, and the occasional extras such as picnics, dining out, etc. By doing this, you can prioritize your expenses shifting money from one group to another. This will ensure that all your important expenses are covered during the month, and that you don’t resort to using loans to pay for them.


Idea # 2: List your essential unpredictable expenses

Bills make a significant portion of your monthly expenses, and yet they are unpredictable as well since you will never know what the electricity bill will be in the coming summer. Similarly, phone bills, grocery, medication, and clothing are important expenses that can’t be predicted when making a budget.

One thing that you can do when budgeting is to allocate an estimated amount to each category based on the amount incurred in the previous month. This will ensure that your estimated expense remain close to the actual amount.


Idea # 3: Review & revise your budgeting strategies

At the end of the month, you should review and revise your budget to check if any changes took place in your spending. Reviewing budget in this way will let you know whether you have achieved your budgeted expenses. Remember, that the basic purpose of budgeting is to discipline your money spending habits by placing restrictions on your habitual spending on unnecessary expenses.


Idea # 4: Shed some light on your spending habits

An ideal way to make a perfect home budget is to consider what type of expenses you and your family make on a daily basis?  Divide your expenses into four major categories such as;

  • Customary requirements — that includes home rent, food, utilities, car fuel, etc.
  • Bills & Loans — that encompass credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, transport, and others.
  • Long-Term Savings —that includes important savings and money saved for an emergency.
  • Extra expenses — that includes shopping, vacations, and dining out.


Idea # 5: Have a goal

Lastly, do not forget to set a goal each month when planning a budget. This goal should define your budgeting plan for the month. Most importantly, you should adhere to your goal if you truly want to resolve home budgeting issues.

Things to know About Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance aims to protect your home against damages to the house, or to the belongings within. Your home loan money lender can, and presumably will, oblige you to have homeowner insurance. This insurance has become a necessity today, as it offers legal responsibility to compensate for certain damages, except floods, and other natural disasters.

There are seven types of homeowners insurance in the U.S. They range from HO-1 to HO-8 and offer various levels of protection according to the needs of the homeowner. Damages not covered by standard policy plans (e.g. natural disasters) can be covered by adding riders. It would be a good idea to add the extra policy if you are residing in an area where flood and earthquakes are usually expected.

Some of the homeowners insurance are designed for renters, typically HO-4 or “renters insurance”, which only covers possessions within the home and other isolated events not covered by the property insurance held by the owner.

Things you should know before buying homeowner insurance

Buying homeowner insurance can be particularly overwhelming for first-time buyers. Following are the four basic things you should know when searching for a reliable homeowners insurance provider in your area.

  1. Contact, at least three companies to compare coverage
    You should contact at least three companies to compare the coverage costs, and make sure you get the right sort and measure of scope. Ensure that the insurance provider has a track record of excellence when it comes to customer service. The BBB rating of the company will tell you whether the company is able to satisfy its customers or not.

  3. Ensure you’re getting adequate coverage
    Another important part of homeowners insurance is the level of coverage. Following are the most common levels of coverage:

    • HO-3 – It is based on the broader policy that protects against all dangers except those specifically expelled by the policy.
    • HO-5Is a policy that typically protects newer, well-maintained homes; it covers against all dangers except those specifically expelled by the policy.
    • HO-7 – It’s as same as HO-3 policy, but it’s mostly applied to mobile homes.
    • HO-8 – This policy is particularly designed for older homes. It only covers actual cash value.

  5. 5 terms of policy you should understand
    Following are the basic insurance terms which you should understand;

    • Deductible – The amount you are required to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in.
    • Liability Coverage – It is concerned with coverage of medical or legal bills when someone is hurt on your property, usually due to carelessness.
    • Personal Property –This refers to physical property such as furniture, electronics and clothing.
    • Premium – The amount paid by you for insurance coverage, usually annually or monthly.
    • Replacement Cost – It’s that sort of protection that pays the full cost of supplanting your home or individual property, up to the greatest dollar sum.



To avoid any inconsistency and delays in receiving your insurance money for your shelter, you should make sure you document everything and understand these terms completely. This extra effort will ensure that you don’t face any difficulty when claiming for damage with the insurance company.

How to get Pre-approved for a mortgage?

How to get Pre-approved for a mortgage?

Some people confuse pre-qualification with pre-approval for mortgage. Furthermore, they assume that getting pre-qualified is better than pre-approval. In fact, the opposite is the case when it comes to obtaining a mortgage. In order to understand this, let’s first understand the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approval when it comes to mortgages.

Difference between Pre-qualification & Pre-approval

A pre-qualification is basically a verbal conversation with your lender; the conversation revolves around overview and summary of your credit history. Whereas, pre-approval is different. It is a lengthy process whereby the lender evaluates your total income, assets, and required documentation.

Getting pre-approved is more important than being pre-qualified as it ensures that you will obtain the loan. Pre-approvals are concerned with various aspects ranging from the amount of money you can afford, to the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan. There are a number of advantages of getting pre-approved such as:


  •    Pre-approval is helpful in defining the lender’s limits for the loan.
  •    It helps you narrow down your home hunting by offering you a particular cost range.
  •    The majority of sellers prefer pre-approved offer over others.

Now that you know the importance of pre-approval, you might be wondering how to get pre-approved for a mortgage? Don’t worry. The following guidelines will help you increases your chances of obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage.


3 Guidelines to get pre-approved for mortgage


  1. Stay at Your Job
    In order to get pre-approved for mortgage, it’s important to stick with your employment. Job switching can affect your income status, which might then lead to a delay in mortgaging progress. Taking a less income job or quitting a job to become self-employed can put you in trouble as lenders will have to re-evaluate and decide whether you deserve the loan or not.
  2. Pay Down Debt & Avoid New Debt
    It’s not necessary that your credit card balance reduces to zero to get a mortgage loan. Yet, the less you are indebted to your creditors, the better.
    Lenders weigh up your debt-to-income ratio before approving the mortgage. The amount in arrears will determine whether you’ll get a loan or not. Less debt increases the likelihood of obtaining a loan.
  3. Know What You Can Afford
    Do not let your lenders interfere in your expenses. In other words, they’re not supposed to tell you when and how you should spend such as; how much you spend on daycare, insurance, groceries, or fuel. You should know what you can afford with your current lifestyle, and keep your expenses confidential.
    On a final note, the pre-approval procedure is quite easy. You just have to get in touch with your mortgage lender, hand in your economic and personal data, and wait for an answer. The lender will give you a pre-approval letter for your records, and as soon as a seller accepts your proposal; you’ll get your fund. Good luck!
Helpful Tips for External Maintenance of Your House

Helpful Tips for External Maintenance of Your House

Keeping the exterior of your house in good condition not only keeps it looking great, but also extends its lifespan, thereby maintaining its value. It’s important that you keep as much focus on the exterior of your house as the interior. I know it may be intimidating to think of all the tasks that need to be done to keep the house in tip-top condition, but once you know these helpful reminders of what needs to be done, the task won’t seem stressful at all and you may even enjoy the work required to maintain the house.

So in this post, I’ll share with you a list of ideas that will help you in sprucing up the outside of your house. Go through them, you’ll certainly find these tips useful and they will save you a lot of headaches and costs later down the road.

Install Gutter Protection

Consider installing a gutter guard system if you don’t have one. This will prevent the debris from accumulating in the gutters. Today a number of advanced gutter protection system are available that have flat surface and special angled ski slopes. With a gutter guard system installed water will flow into the gutter and all the leaves, twigs, or other debris can fall off of the gutter.
This will ensure that the rainwater does not accumulate on the roof of the house, which can later do some serious structural damage to the house.

Wash Outdoor Furniture

Do you have furniture placed outside on the patio or in the garden? Give it awash with the hose, or scrub and wash with a mild cleanser. For metal furniture, check for indications of rust or paint chipping. One basic solution to protect from sun damage is applying UV protective spray to the furniture that can be purchased from any hardware store. Make sure that the spray matches the material of the furniture. For instance, do not use spray suitable for wood furniture on a metal frame. SunGuard and Starbrite are two quality UV protective sprays that can protect your furniture from weathering and deteriorating.

Prevent Freezing of External Pipes

A big issue, especially during the winter, is freezing pipes. Once the pipe freezes, it will burst, resulting in costly repairs. In order to avoid this problem you must insulate the exposed water pipes outside, which is known as lagging. Insulating the pipes will prevent frigid temperature from freezing the water inside the pipe. Apart from preventing damage to the house this will save you money in utility bills, as less energy will be required to keep the water warm during winters.

Exterior Walls Maintenance

Check the exterior wall of the house. Do you notice any discoloration, soft wood, damage, or moisture build-up? Consider repainting the exterior wall in case of discoloration. In fact, you should have the external wall repainted every five years. Moreover, you should reseal areas around the wall penetrations such as windows, doors, and vents with silicon, if necessary. To avoid moisture damage to the outside walls, consider installing insulation batts in the exterior walls. You can install fiberglass or spray insulation batting. Once installed it will not only protect the exterior wall from sun damage but also help reduce outside noise.

1927 Elzey Memphis TN 38104 – $345,000


ONLY seen at open house dates! Home built in 2006 w/ 3 Bedroom & 2 1/2 baths. Brick/hardy plank siding on this open floorplan w/ tall ceilings & lots of light. Living rm, dining rm, eat-in area off kitchen & hearth rm. Upstairs you will find all the bedrooms & a loft area at the top of the stairs. Irrigation system keeps the landscaping looking nice. Fenced in yard w/ canopy over patio opens w/ French drs into the hearth room. SS appliances in Kitchen w/ Island & Bar off dining room.

DSC_0126_7_8 DSC_0078_79_80 DSC_0057_8_9 DSC_0117_8_9

Friday May 20th Afternoon – 2-4
Friday June 3rd Afternoon – 2-4
All by appointment so call the listing agent for appt.

Debbie Sowell 901-359-6600
InCity Realty  901-214-5838
2298 Young Ave Memphis Tn  38104

Spring Maintenance for the House

Spring Maintenance for the House

Ever find your home appliances losing power due to the change in the weather? It typically happens due to the heat of spring and summer weather that can damage electronic appliances including refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioners, etc. This season also affects the exterior of houses such as the yard and garden but also includes windows, roofs, gutters, and doors.

Here is a handy list of things to-do this spring to spruce up your home and garden.

Things-to-do this spring


1. For Interior Maintenance

  • Make sure there are no frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs in your electrical outlets. Check to see that outlets and fuse boxes are not overloaded.
  • Check the expiration date of fire extinguishers and keep it in the kitchen, or at least in the same place all the time.
  • Get the air-conditioner examined by a reliable and professional technician
  • Test your water heater for any leaks and corrosion
  • Clean the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Clean out all lint.
  • Change all high-intensity bulbs; replace them with energy efficient bulbs when possible.
  • Be sure that the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector are fresh; batteries in these devices should be replaced every 6 months. To make it easy to remember, think about this when you have to “spring forward” and “fall back”.

2. For Exterior Maintenance

Start with the roof

  • Inspect your roof or call a roofing contractor as scorching heat in summer can quickly ruin a roof’s shingles
  • Safely check the roof for stains, discoloration, or warping.  Also check for broken or decaying shingles
  • Take a look at the deck boards from inside your attic for discoloration from a leak
  • Check railings and stairs to make sure they are secure and stable

Inspect the Yard

  • Bag or mulch leaves and other fallen debris; replenish mulch in planting beds
  • Gently rake grass to fluff up and separate the grass shoots
  • Use a hoe or tiller to loosen soil, mix in fertilizers and nutrients to prep for planting

Check Windows and Doors

  • Protect windowsills, entryways and door sills by filling in cracks, sealing edges of door sills or repainting if necessary
  • For door screens, start by cleaning the screens
  • Check screens for holes where insects can come inside. Fill holes or replace screen as necessary.
  • Repair loose or damaged door and window frames
  • Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware

3. Round the Clock Care

  • Look at the exterior covering of the home for places to be repaired or scrapped and painted.
  • Walk through your home, particularly around the places where spider webs collect and dust
  • Clean air vents and ducts; change air filters every 3-4 months
  • Clean refrigerator filters, clean seals and exterior