Friday, August 13, 2010

Real Estate is Great in Plano

Monday, August 9, 2010

What matters most to YOU when buying and selling real estate?

Whether you are listing your home to sell or looking for your dream home, three things matter most - price, convenience, and time.

If you are a seller, you want to get the best price, you want a hassle-free transaction, and you want it to happen fast, right? If you are a buyer, you want to get the best value on a home, you want a hassle-free transaction too, AND you don’t want it to take forever! As I see it, in a market like we have here in Texas in 2010, you can accomplish all these things with KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE, and the right TOOLS – here are my definitions as they relate to real estate:

KNOWLEDGE - acquainted with the real estate facts, truths, and/or principles, trained, studied, and investigated, general knowledge to help you along your real estate path, familiarity with the market, the industry, and the transactional process.

EXPERIENCE - a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing the real estate process, the process or fact of personally observing, managing, encountering, or undergoing a real estate sale or listing (been there done that!) and the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from it.

TOOLS - anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose. In the case of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, the tools used to give your listing the best possible exposure and bring you the best price, or to help you conveniently find your dream home, and bring it all to a successful close in the shortest amount of time!

CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company has the knowledge, experience and the tools to give you the real estate results you are looking for. But that’s just THREE GREAT reasons, read here for more!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why go GREEN?

Real Estate 411 - Top 5 Residential GREEN Remodeling Projects

What are the benefits of green remodeling? Green homes are healthier places to live, are better for the environment and can save money. They have better air quality than non-green homes, cost less to operate and significantly decrease the negative impact of the home on the environment. Green homes are also an immediate and measurable way individuals can make a difference in the environment.

As summer draws to a close and the kids go back to school, you may be thinking about taking on a new fall home project. Whether you are a homeowner, wishful homeowner, or real estate investor, here are our TOP 5 REGreen projects that not only will provide you an opportunity to refresh and restore your living environment, but will also improve your home’s value and get you started going GREEN! Together we can all make a difference in our environment!

Green Kitchen Remodel

REGreen Kitchen Opportunities:

Today’s kitchens are often the most active and multipurpose rooms in the home. This can mean that the kitchen provides the most opportunities for “greening” the home. From lighting and appliances to plumbing fixtures and interior finishes, the kitchen is packed with ways to optimize form and function while minimizing environmental impact.

• Upgrade or replace existing windows and doors
• Install low water-use kitchen faucet
• Install effective kitchen ventilation
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Install energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, and cooking
• Consider flooring made from natural or rapidly renewable materials
• Select cabinets made from greener materials
• Install environmentally preferable countertops
• Set water temperature no higher than necessary
• Use environmentally preferable cleaning materials and strategies

Green Bath Remodel

REGreen BATH Opportunities:

The greatest opportunities for greening a bathroom remodel come from managing water, but in two very different ways: managing incoming use (in pipes) and outgoing flows (both liquid and vapor). Green bathrooms need the highest performing faucets, showerheads, and toilets. But they also need walls designed and constructed to handle both liquid water and high humidity, and exhaust fans that efficiently and quietly move water vapor out of the space. The bathroom is also a good place to invest in durable surfaces, ones that stand the test of time both aesthetically and functionally.

• Properly detail windowsills in wet areas
• Ensure that window and skylight installation includes proper air
sealing and flashing
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Replace toilets with high-efficiency toilets
• Install low water-use showerheads
• Install water-conserving bathroom faucet aerator
• Choose high-efficiency water heater and set water temperature no
higher than necessary
• Consider environmental preferability of piping material
• Limit use of wall coverings in high moisture areas
• Choose hard-surface flooring

REGreen BEDROOM Opportunities:

Most of us spend more time in our bedroom than in any other room in our home, so it makes sense that the materials installed and the resulting air quality in these spaces should be the cleanest and healthiest possible.

The eight or so hours that we spend asleep each day should be restorative for our bodies and our spirits. Healthy air, confidence about freedom from potential hazards, such as electromagnetic fields, and relaxing aesthetics all contribute to the sense of well-being found in bedrooms. The bedroom may be the only place a homeowner can find a quiet, private respite from a hectic lifestyle. And when we are ill, the bedroom needs to be a space that supports healing.

• Provide fresh air as part of ventilation system
• Make sure ducting is clean
• Use low or zero-VOC interior paints and finishes
• Select wood subflooring that is FSC-certified and low/no-
• Choose environmentally preferable carpet and rug products
• Select carpet cushion that does not contain brominated flame-
• Select solid furniture made from green and safe sources
• Minimize use of plush and porous materials
• Choose environmentally preferable fabrics
• Choose furniture finished with least-toxic products

Green Workspace Remodel

REGreen LIVING and WORKING Opportunities:

In most homes, the traditional living space configuration—kitchen, dining room, living room, den—has been reconfigured for lifestyles that are more contemporary and shared rather than separate functions: workspaces in the kitchen or living room, entertainment in the den, dining in the kitchen. When remodeling green, the goal is to rework existing spaces for new or combined functions rather than add new spaces.

• Provide for additional ventilation and air-conditioning needs in
certain activity areas
• Provide adaptable lighting for multiuse spaces
• Select energy-efficient Energy Star–rated office equipment
• Consider flooring made from certified or reclaimed wood
• Choose environmentally preferable carpet and rug products
• Select ergonomic furniture and office equipment
• Select furniture from suppliers that practice fair and safe
manufacturing processes
• Choose furniture finished with least-toxic products
• Support local artisans as well as indigenous people
• Provide for paper recycling

Green Outdoor Living

REGreen OUTDOOR Opportunities:

Outdoor living space can range from a wood-framed deck to a stone patio to a trellised outdoor kitchen. A green outdoor living space expands the square footage of the home with the least amount of materials, connects the home and its occupants to the outdoors and to nature, and can involve landscaping that improves site drainage and reduces outdoor water consumption. Outdoor living space improvements can be a great do-it-yourself project. Although we tend to think of this space as private and backyard focused, front space and wraparound front porches that can create a sense of neighborhood are important to consider as well.

• Maintain adequate slope and drainage away from house when
creating outdoor living areas
• Make use of trees and landscaping to reduce cooling loads
• Provide rainwater collection system
• Provide for edible plants in landscape design
• Use environmentally preferable patio materials
• Use naturally rot-resistant, responsibly produced wood for decks
• Use recycled-content plastic or composite decking boards
• Install energy-efficient electric lighting
• Choose efficient hot tub or spa
• Choose environmentally friendly outdoor furniture and accessories

To learn more about REGREEN and download the complete REGreen project guidelines, visit

To find a GREEN Designated real estate agent to help you start your GREEN project, contact or call 800-451-8055.

Are you ready to get off the fence?

Property Management with William Ferguson, President of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Management Company.

Buy Low Sell High, is the Strategy of most investors. Why not do the same thing when you buy your homestead?.

Your home is typically your most valuable asset you will ever own. It goes to reason that buyers should use the same mantra to buy their home that investors use to get rich on. Due to the increased number of foreclosures in today’s sales market it is the perfect opportunity to buy low. There is an added benefit to buying today and that is the interest rates are also at an all time low. Interest Rates will not stay low for long with the projected economy.

If you have to sell your home at a discount you may be able to justify this action if the home you are buying has more equity than you have to give up to make the deal. I listed a home for sale in Kessler Park many years ago. I was the twelfth agent the owners interviewed to sell their home. When I asked the sellers to tell me about the home they were on contract to buy they lit up. It did not take long to realize that their new home had $50,000.00 equity and we were at a stale mate on a $10,000.00 reduction of their present home. They wanted to sell their home for $10,000.00 more than the market was paying. I simply asked, why gamble loosing the $50,000.00 equity for $10,000.00 that does not exist? The husband and wife looked at each other and proceeded to sign my listing agreement. They saw clearly that the $50,000.00 equity was more valuable to them than the $10,000.00 that did not exist at that time.

You can use this process to improve your equity in your homestead or buying and selling investment properties. We at CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Management Company consider it a pleasure to service your Property Management needs.

Reduce your RISK with BEST practice

This month I have been collecting requests to be sent to you to keep you out of trouble.

Jan Fite MillerCMA's: The first came from one of our Cendera Loan Officers, Brian Tarbet, who strongly suggested a reminder to all of you that your CMA, Comparative/competitive Market Analysis, be updated at least every 60 days. Why should we do this? In service to our Seller, we need to make sure that the property is competitive so that it will continue to be shown. What new closings have occurred? Have the prices taken a drastic turn for the worse or maybe it was an increase-it happens both ways. If we have a current CMA, then we don't have to worry about the appraiser finding comps. WE can again, at the least, supply to him what we have and what we used when we meet him/her for the appraisal. I also suggest strongly that you, the listing agent, physically meet the appraiser, so that you can give him/her your comps and hopefully he/she will agree with your figures.

FILE DOCUMENTATION: It is more important than ever. I had warned you months ago that in a rough economic time, humans start playing the blame game and lawsuits or just gripes against REALTORS become more prevalent. It is happening and that is how I find out that the condition of our files is BAD. There is a minimal checklist at the bottom of every sales control sheet. The completed checklist should be the fewest items in a file that the office will keep for 7 years. Our attorney wants more -- from your post-it-notes to the survey. Would you believe that we have a lawsuit to defend with no signed Seller Disclosure? Do you think we can win that one? How about another with no IABS? That is state law; where is it? PLEASE, put everything related to the property IN the file. Turn in your file promptly so that manager and staff can help keep YOU out of trouble. I don't want a CDA produced until everything applicable on the checklist is in the file.

IABS and SUB-AGENCY: Somehow this has become a question lately. I ask in the MCE Legal & Ethics classes if anyone sees sub-agency anymore and all have said no, but it still evidently needs to be addressed. We, as a company, are hired by Sellers to sell properties. I do not feel that any Buyer should be ignored, even if their agent is doing a poor job, so we have never turned away or refused to pay a "sub-agent." However, I am not condoning our agents ever being sub-agents. When you have the IABS signed at your first face to face meeting and you explain agency, you should offer the potential client their own representation and educate them of the benefits to them. I would then encourage you to treat this customer as a client until you have him/her agree to that representation in writing with signatures on either the listing agreement or the buyer rep agreement. We may occasionally receive an offer from a sub-agent. Our job is to present the offer and make it work. If we do, we will pay that sub-agent. If the other agent is a sub-agent, you should be able to get more detailed information about his/her client because his/her loyalty is actually to our Seller. C21 Judge Fite agents should ALWAYS represent fully their own clients.

INSPECTORS: Some of the inspectors are creating some national unrest in their relationships with REALTORS accusing us of steering. For your own protection, hand a C21JF HOME GUIDE to your Buyers so that they have several, not just 3, inspectors to choose. Suggest strongly that they call several and talk to them individually so that the Buyers can feel comfortable with their choice. Please and...

Be careful out there and sell lots of real estate.

Jan Fite Miller
CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company

If you are interested in a career in real estate, email for details on how to get started!