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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Pam and Gene Saxton with the Saxton Realty Group from Houston, TX!

December 23, 2019

Pam and Gene Saxton
Saxton Realty Group

Experience: 10 years
Specializations: Helping clients buy or sell their homes
Areas Served: Spring, Tomball, Cypress, NW Houston

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: Love of people and love helping others.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that happened during an open house you hosted?
A:  We had a man ask us to close down our Open House because he wanted to buy it and did not want any competition.

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Homeowner Associations – Cultish syndicates or neighborhood necessities?

December 19, 2019

Homeowner associations (HOAs) have always gone hand-in-hand with planned communities. The first planned community, Levittown, was established in the mid-20th century in order to provide World War II veterans with the means to acquire homes. Although there was no governing body known as a homeowners association, the deeds to the home included rules governing things like visible laundry lines. 

Today, HOAs are still typically established by the original land developers who then turn over authority to the homeowners upon sale of a predetermined amount of units. The purpose of HOAs is to protect property value. As such, they have a wide reach in what they regulate. Read on to learn what it means to live in a community regulated by HOAs.

What do HOAs do?

HOAs are tasked with protecting property value and maintaining communal areas. When you purchase property in planned communities, you will almost always have to join an HOA. Joining an HOA consists of paying a monthly or annual membership fee. You must also agree to abide by the association’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R), by-laws and other governing documents.

What is a CC&R and what does it cover?

CC&R is a document outlining the community’s rules and regulations which property owners are required to abide. The exact rules in CC&Rs will vary widely across communities, but they can include rules about pets, parking, acceptable paint colors for your exterior, outside antennas, your patio and backyard and so on. Basically, anything relating to your property’s appearance will be open to regulation by the CC&R. This is because your property’s appearance impacts the value of your home. This in turn affects the neighborhood property values which is why HOAs are so determined to regulate what your home looks like. By requiring you maintain a certain status quo, HOAs protect the property values for the entire community. Afterall, if your house is an eyesore, that will lower the perceived value of houses on your street because people prefer living in attractive neighborhoods. 

What happens if I don’t follow my HOA’s rules?

Just like the rules in a CC&R will vary by community, so will the punishments levied for violating those rules. An HOA’s recourse for violating CC&Rs typically starts with a written notice and can progress to daily fines. HOAs might even go onto your property and fix the problem and charge you for the service. Say you paint your mailbox an unapproved color. If you don’t fix it in a determined amount of time, your HOA may hire someone to repaint your mailbox and charge you accordingly. In extreme cases, HOAs will file a lawsuit against you asking the court to compel you to resolve the issue. The HOA might also ask for a monetary judgement against you. If awarded, the HOA can often garnish wages and bank accounts. Depending on the state, an HOA might also be granted a judgment in the form of a lien against the property and resulting in foreclosure. Bottom line – don’t be flippant about joining an HOA. It’s a serious and enforceable agreement that you are entering.

Are there benefits to joining an HOA?

In exchange for joining an HOA and agreeing to its CC&R and bylaws, homeowners enjoy many benefits. Most importantly, HOAs are tasked with maintaining communal spaces. With the fees they collect, HOAs manage repairs and even services like landscaping and utilities. Additionally, joining an HOA might provide you access to communal amenities you otherwise could not afford, like a tennis court or pool. If you desire a home in a clean, safe and aesthetically appealing community, HOAs are almost a necessity. While their rules may feel restrictive, remember that their most important concern is protecting property value for the community as a whole. 

HOAs often get a bad rap, but they also provide a necessary service to homeowners looking to protect their property value. If  you are considering purchasing a home in a planned community, take the time to research the HOA and its rules. For some communities, the HOA is a background presence they barely interact with besides the check they write each month. For other communities, HOAs are a daily presence that dictates how long you can leave your garage door open. Talk to people in the community and do your research. But if you are someone who balks at the idea of someone telling you what color you can paint your front door, then look for a home without an HOA or with less restrictive rules.

Tell us in the comments about your experiences with HOAs!

SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Jerrilynn Vandenberg with Fireside Realty from De Pere, WI!

December 18, 2019

Jerrilynn Vandenberg
Fireside Realty

Experience: 15 years
Specializations: First time home sellers & buyers, new construction
Areas Served: Green Bay, DePere, Hobart, Howard/Suamico, Sobieski, Pulaski

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: Teaching the selling or buying process to people

Q: What is the most interesting thing that happened during an open house you hosted?
A: One Thursday night, during my open house a family came in and loved the home. The kids were picking out their bedrooms and places to hide.

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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Andy Ball with Century 21 Northwest from Auburn, WA!

December 16, 2019

Andy Ball
Century 21 Northwest

Experience: 15 years
Specializations: Single-family homes
Areas Served: Seattle and surrounding areas

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A:  My father was in real estate sales for 20 years before I started.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that happened during an open house you hosted?
A: I sold the house.

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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Rhonda Metzler with All State Homes Fresno from Fresno, CA!

December 13, 2019

Rhonda Metzler
All State Homes Fresno

Experience: More than 15 years of negotiation and project management experience.
Specializations: First-time homebuyers, relocations.
Areas Served: Fresno/Clovis/Madera as well as the Bay Area and Southern California

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: I wanted a career in Real Estate for as long as I can remember. My dad was a Real Estate agent, my best friend’s mom was a Real Estate agent, and my best friend worked in Real Estate both as an agent and as a Mortgage broker and loan officer.  I’ve purchased several homes myself over the years, know all about taxes on selling a house, and I’ve helped my friends and family understand and navigate the Real Estate transaction process.  It’s fascinating, complex and extremely fulfilling!

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To list or not to list during the holiday season

December 11, 2019

While the holidays are a joyous time of celebration with friends and loved ones, they are also the busiest time of the year and often marked by stress as one struggles to juggle the numerous obligations and engagements. For most homeowners looking to sell their house, the idea of listing during the holiday season is regarded with trepidation and reluctance. Afterall, selling your house is just one more hassle to deal with during an already busy time and most people aren’t even going to move until after the New Year. However, there are a few key advantages to listing your property for sale during the holidays. Read on to learn why selling during the holidays might be the best decision for you, and how to capitalize on the seasonal cheer in order to net the perfect home buyer.

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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Rebecca Gray with The Williams Gray Team from Henderson, NV!

December 5, 2019

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray
The Williams Gray Team 

Experience: 8 years
Specializations: Residential Real Estate, First Time Home Buyers, Veteran Buyers, Investors, Sellers, Short Sales
Areas Served: The Greater Las Vegas Valley including Summerlin, Henderson and Boulder City

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: My family moved to a new city when I was 13 and our Realtor was so amazing I decided then and there that I wanted to be a Realtor when I grew up. Seeing different houses and how people live is fascinating to me. Since growing up, I’ve found that I have a love for contracts and negotiations as well. An interesting side note: I am still in touch with our Realtor from when I was 13 (which is more than a few years ago). He is still in the business and I have referred clients to him!

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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Rene Enriquez with HomeSmart Evergreen Realty from Valencia, CA!

December 3, 2019

Rene Enriquez
HomeSmart Evergreen Realty

Experience: 5 years
Specializations: Buyers & Sellers Residential Real Estate
Areas Served: Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas 

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: I have been in sales all my life

Q: What is the most interesting thing that happened during an open house you hosted?
A: I sold an open house and three more homes in an hour

Q: What was your favorite moment in your career so far?
A: Helping a Veteran purchase their home after being rejected and losing hope for so many years. 

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Credit repair – How do you know which credit repair service is right for you?

December 2, 2019

Credit is a crucial part of your financial power, or your ability to access goods or services now with the promise to pay later. The most significant indicator of your credit is your credit score, a three-digit number based on your financial track record that tells lenders how likely you are to pay back a loan. Credit scores are primarily based on credit reports, compiled by three independent credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – who use information about your borrowing and repayment past that is voluntarily provided by creditors. Good credit is essentially necessary in order to secure a loan to purchase a home. But what do you do if your credit is less than ideal?

People with bad credit often turn to credit repair services for assistance. While these services can be a valuable resource for remedying bad credit, there are things you should know when determining which repair service to work with. Read on to learn what exactly credit repair services do, what to watch out for when selecting a credit repair service and some alternatives to repair services.

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SetSchedule Member Spotlight: Len Renaud with Adams, Cameron and Co., Realtors from Ponce Inlet, FL!

November 21, 2019

Len Renaud
Adams, Cameron and Co., Realtors

Experience: 8 years
Specializations: Residential homes and condos
Areas Served: Ponce Inlet, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach

Q: What made you become interested in real estate?
A: I love selling and meeting people.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that happened during an open house you hosted?
A:  I received a full price offer on the spot!

Q: What was your favorite moment in your career so far?
A: Studying for and passing my Brokers exam. 

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