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Debbie McLaughlin

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Hinesville MLS Listing Means a Network Working for You


If you are selling a home in the Hinesville/Fort Stewart area this year, even in the improving market you certainly know there is a great deal more to it than sticking a sign in your front yard. It will be a competition between like-minded homeowners some with very competitive properties to offer. This is where the help of a trained professional and the network that is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can make all the difference.

Youve probably worked with it before: the MLS is a central online database hub where licensed real estate agents representing available homes list and promote them. Its a central marketplace in the same way that the New York Stock Exchange is (only without a NASDAQ to compete for customers). The National Association of Realtors® found that the great majority of all properties sold last year were listed through an MLS. From a sellers perspective, there are ample reasons why this is so.

Listing a property through the MLS means that you are doing better than assigning just your agent to do your marketing for you. Instead, you are enlisting all Hinesville agents to sell your property to their clients. 

When you think about it that means a lot of agent fees saved! By hiring just one agent, you gain access to the network of hundreds (potentially, thousands) of qualified professionals working for a portion of the same fee you already agreed to. Apart from this expanded workforce, you gain an almost unimaginably wider reach to consumers. Many prospects view Hinesvilles MLS listings directly through their agent, but many in other areas see them via the many websites to which our local MLS syndicates its listings. Exposing your listing to millions of potential buyers means accessing a much larger purchasing pool.

To have your property appear in the Hinesville MLS, you need only enlist an agent or pay a licensed service to do it for you. If you are considering listing your home, contact me to discuss how the MLS plus my other marketing tools can make your home sale a success story!

The Real Life Advantages to Offering Virtual Tours


This months release of National Housing Data from shows yet another rise in list prices, which, as expected, apparently spurred more previously reluctant sellers to put their homes on the market. The pressure to jump on board continued as the home buying season shifted into high gear

With more Hinesville, Fort Stewart area listings competing for prospects interest, one of the features I like to provide for my clients are the increasingly valuable virtual tours. 

The advantages are many, both for
Hinesville, Fort Stewart area sellers and the prospective buyers they attract. Online marketing has long enabled maximum exposure. Where the audience for a new listing used to be limited to the area reached by local advertising outlets, we now cross state and international borders instantaneously. But what Hinesville, Fort Stewart area virtual tours add in terms of marketing power is immense: instead of words and a single picture, now the most remote prospect can really get a feel for a property and even end up buying! When a virtual tour sets your home apart from the others, theres no doubt it adds measurably to its marketability.  

And there are other advantages when virtual tours are added to a
Hinesville, Fort Stewart area listing. They can help sort out potential time-wasters. Online house hunters can take a 360-degree look at key areas before requesting a live tour, which can sort out the idly curious. It means that you save time prepping for showings to window-shoppers. You can focus your efforts on the prospects who will wind up making a serious offer.

Virtual tours also allow your potential buyers the ability to look at the property over and over again following an in-person viewing. They dont have to try to remember the points that attracted them to your home: they can view them as often as they like. They can share your virtual tour with their own families and friendsthe spillover enthusiasm can become the final impetus that spurs a winning offer.

If you're considering selling your home in Hinesville, Fort Stewart area, why not contact me today? We will talk over a marketing plan that moves your property for top dollar in todays market!


Setting the Stage for Selling Your Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area Home


 The Real Estate Staging Association is always telling the world that when you are selling your home, you can expect to spend 73% less time on the market if you use the services of a professional staging company. Although this is an outcome everyone aims for, the cost of full bore professional staging can be a budget-cruncher.

A compromise solution is to combine a little personal elbow grease with some of the inside tricks stagers use. When selling your home in the Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area as quickly as possible is the goal, its worth following through with these staging pointers:

Magic Act

Everyday living creates clutter but to establish the look of a well maintained, move-in-ready home, the debris has to disappear. You dont need to be David Copperfield or Houdini, but you will need a dedicated place to store all that stuff out of sight. No place on the property? Go ahead and rent some temporary storage space.

Bland is Better

The Swiss are known for remaining neutral despite centuries of European strife. When it comes to selling your Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area home, avoiding controversy can serve you just as well. Neutral means sticking to inoffensive color schemes. Stagers know that when it comes to matters of taste, extreme decorating styles tend to drive off some potential buyers. When it comes to selling your home, creams and beiges create the kind of clean look thats more universally appealing.

Consistency Wins

When the budget is tight, setting a theme throughout your home may seem beyond reach. So instead of replacing a lot of furniture, see if making subtle changes in home accessories and textiles cant accomplish wonders. Selling your home in the Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area quickly can hinge on such small touches as placing bunches of uniformly colored flowers with matching throws in several rooms. It can create the kind of uniform look that stagers strive to achieve.

If this spring will find you selling your Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area home, dont neglect your own version of staging. If you are just deciding on your choice for your selling team, give me a call: we can start with an in-home consultation!

Taking the Leap from Tenant to Homeowner in the Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area


Each day, any number of tenants see the perfect Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area house for sale, yet fail to go ahead and investigate further. Making the move from tenant to homeowner is, after all, one of lifes major decisions so no matter how perfect such a find might be, making the leap can seem daunting.

According to the Rental Protection Agency, by last week there were more than 107,000,000 renters in the US a number that increases by 2,600 a day. In other words, if you are a little unsure about snapping up even the most perfect Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area house for sale, you are hardly alone. Still, homeownership brings substantial financial advantages to most people

Fortunately, there are concrete indicators that when a Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area house for sale looks like a good fit for your family, it will be a good fit for your financial future, too. As a rule, if you qualify for a mortgage, you stand to benefit from homeownership, too.

One of the main reasons people dont take advantage of an otherwise ideal house for sale has to do with their credit history. Generally speaking, you will need a credit score of at least 620 -640.

If you have savings that are substantial enough to serve as a down payment (generally somewhere between the FHAs 3.5% to as much as 20%) and some money to cover earnest money, appraisal and home inspection, you have an important leg up. You have an even better opportunity if you qualify for a no money down VA loan.

Importantly, in the big picture, you need to gauge your overall financial stability. No one can see 100% into the future, but even if a Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area house for sale is a great value and ideal for you, unless in your income has been steady for at least two years, you probably should wait (and most lenders would agree).

With good credit, savings for a down payment and/or other costs associated with buying a home, and a steady income, you are likely to belong to the group which sees substantial long term benefits from homeownership. With interest rates at record lows it really is cheaper to buy than rent these days. In most cases the money you need to purchase a home will be less than the amount of money you need to get into a rental. So, if you find a Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area house for sale that seems well suited to your needs, heres an undaunting first step: call me today to help get you pre-qualified!

Part 2 Top 6 Mistakes For Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area Sellers to Avoid


Previously, we cited three of the most common mistakes sellers make after listing their Hinesville/Fort Stewart Area property for sale. Here are three more:

Proper Insurance

When you have a property for sale, its more important than ever to see that your homeowners insurance is up to date. It is highly unlikely that someone will have an accident on your premises, but the increase in the number of visitors makes it prudent to be well covered. Of course you will want to mitigate obvious potential hazards like broken glass or exposed nails but should also have a foolproof system for making pets a non-issue during showings.

Contractual Terms

With your property for sale, its only natural for your primary focus to be on the bottom line: the sale price. When an offer arrives with the right number, its tempting to sign on the dotted line and be done with it. But there is more to a purchase offer than just the price. An offer is a contract once signed, and as such, all its terms are equally binding. For instance, there is the matter of the closing date: sellers who accept an offer without paying enough attention to it can be left scrambling for temporary housing when that date arrives.  This is one reason why a good real estate agent is critical to guide you through the process.

Contingency Removal

Removing the inspection and loan contingencies on time are key events in the buy/sell timeline yet these deadlines can easily slip by unnoticed. The wording of the clauses is important, too, because a buyer can have the right to withdraw an offer if he or she is not satisfied with the outcome of an inspection or a loan rate they deem acceptable. Failure to make sure a buyer removes contingencies on time can turn a sold property into a property thats still for sale.

Aligning yourself with an experienced agent is the simplest way to remain aware of these and other common legal miscues and how to avoid them. With your property for sale, you become a single-purpose business enterprise, and your agents knowledge should be a key business asset. Contact me anytime for that kind of assistance!

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6 Common Mistakes After Listing Your Home in Hinesville/Ludowici


Listing Your Fort Stewart Area Home? Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid!

Part 1 Top 6 Mistakes For Fort Stewart Area Sellers to Avoid


Disclosure Signatures

Disclosing material facts that might affect your Fort Stewart area propertys value is a fair obligation thats understood by everyone. Yet properly disclosing all material facts wont help you at all if an issue comes up later but you cant prove the disclosure. A good agent will double- and triple-check all the signatures, but at the end of the day, your peaceful sleep at night is only protected when you also take care to keep complete copies of the paperwork with all signatures accounted for.

Earnest Money 

Ah the thrill of getting the first offer! After readying the property and listing your home, when an offer comes quickly, youll be tempted to say, Where do I sign? But slow up: getting a great offer is just the first step. Part of being a prudent seller is scrutinizing the offer and buyer to gauge the likelihood that the deal will close. The amount of earnest money should demonstrate the prospects sincere intent to buynot just their desire to tie up the house while they make up their mind!


Want to watch warm feelings ice up in a hurry? Try surprising your buyer with the last-minute news that you intend to take your coveted washer/dryer (or heirloom chandelier, or custom closet system) with you because you forgot to exclude them. Its part of my job as your agent to go over the more obvious items when listing your home in the Fort Stewart area, but even so, its ultimately up to you to make sure your intent is known. Trust me - Ive seen more than one sale go south in the eleventh hour over some unbelievably minor items.

Coming next, Ill flesh out more of these most common pitfalls. Of course, listing your home with me means you wont need to worry: I make it may job to keep an eye out for all of them. If youre thinking of listing your home in the Fort Stewart are this spring, call me today!

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Best and Final: the Dreaded Multiple Offer


Best and Final: the Dreaded Multiple Offer

Fort Stewart Area Houses for Sale and Multiple Offer Sudden Death

Final&Best Scenario Can Affect Fort Stewart Area Houses for Sale


Those who have been paying close attention to how the houses for sale in the Fort Stewart Area have been performing may have observed the results of the dreaded multiple offer situation. When a closing price seems to rise unexpectedly, it could be because of something called the Notice of Best and Final.  

That notice can be issued by a listing agent as soon as more than one offer is on the table. Experienced real estate agents sometimes choose this strategy to win the best price for their client. It instructs all interested buyers to submit their best and final offer by a deadline (usually within 24 - 48 hours). Since no counters or escalation clauses are allowed, one blogger has aptly called it Multiple Offer Sudden Death. Heres how it works:  

The sellers asking price is listed at, say, $220,000.

Buyer A is interested; bids $210,000.

After a few rounds of negotiation, the seller and Buyer A near agreement at $216,000, when-

Buyer B, not knowing that the seller is nearing agreement with Buyer A, submits her own bid.

The seller initiates Notice of Best and Final, giving both parties two days to submit their last offer.

Buyer A begrudgingly goes up to the full list price: now offers $220,000.

Buyer B shoots all the way up to $229,000 the offer which is accepted.

In this scenario, Buyer B not only paid $13,000 more than Buyer A was about to pay, but also paid $8,000 more than needed to beat Buyer As top price.

Great news for the seller, for sure but less exciting for the buyers, since what was a great deal just becomes so-so. Thats why I advise my buyer clients to do their best to remain emotionally detached. I suggest deciding on the true value you believe the home is worth, then sticking to it, no matter what!

Whether you are selling or buying houses for sale in the Fort Stewart Area including Hinesville, Ludowici and surrounding areas, Im here to watch out for your best interests in every situation. Call me today to discuss a plan that works for you!

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Need to Ease the Pain of an Unstable and Confusing Real Estate Market?

A Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) has a thorough understanding of complex issues in todays turbulent real estate industry and knowledge of foreclosure avoidance options available to homeowners. CDPEs can provide solutions, specifically short sales, for homeowners facing market hardships.

Homeowners regularly proceed without guidance of any kind through the often financially and emotionally devastating prospect of foreclosure. Speaking with a well-informed, licensed real estate professional is the best course of action for a homeowner in distress. Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPEs have the tools to help homeowners find the best solutions for their unique situations and to avoid foreclosure through the efficient execution of a short sale.

Living through financial difficulties poses a challenge for any family, so why make the process of finding a qualified real estate professional difficult too? Select an agent with the CDPE Designation to ensure you have a trained professional to address your specific needs. For more information, contact a CDPE in your area.

CDPEs dont merely assist in selling properties, they serve and help save their clients in need.

Stay tuned for discussions regarding alternatives to foreclosure.
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