Home not selling quickly? Check the aroma.

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There are so many variables that come into play when a potential home buyer walks through your house. A major factor to keep in mind when getting ready to sell your home is what someone senses when entering.

Usually a buyer makes a decision about whether your home is a fit within seconds of entering. In my 13 years of real estate, I’ve averaged 30 minute tours through most homes. The other 29.7 minutes of a home tour are for a buyer to convince themselves they’re right about their choice. If they love your house they’re trying to place their furniture, imagining what it will be like moving in the space and cooking (or opening take-out) in the kitchen. If they’re sure it isn’t a fit, they’re making mental notes about all that they don’t like.

A recent buyer told me that a wine rack in her new kitchen (an afterthought from my seller to fill an empty space) was the difference maker in feeling that it was already her home.

A major effect of your very first impression of a home is the aroma that pervades. In today’s homes everything is usually sealed up pretty tightly. Your smells are the home’s smells. Nobody likes a homes that smells of stale cigarettes or the delicious salmon you cooked the night before, but without airing out the space your lifestyle will be evident as the inside air rushes out to greet the buyer’s agent and the person holding the money!

Homeowners with pets or a predilection toward preparing strongly aromatic ethnic-style meals should be especially aware of the aromas they leave behind. Curry, kim chi and some other of my personally favorite dishes can really leave a strong impression that would probably be better cleansed than encountered.

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Sometimes James K. Polk stinks!

My cat is perfect, he’s my best friend, but he never learned to flush, so any time I’m trying to sell my own home, particular attention to the litter box is key!

No amount of staging, decluttering or de-personalizing your space (though all of those are factors) can overcome a strong disagreeable smell in a showing.

Get the most from your home’s character, by making sure the aroma is as neutral as possible!

If you’re thinking of selling your home and need a thorough evaluation in the greater Knoxville / East Tennessee area call Rob Howard at Keller Williams Realty, 5616 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37917. Office: 865.694.5904 Cell: 865.385.9070 – Each office independently owned and operated.

Rob Howard, Keller Williams Realty, Knoxville TN

Sell or Find your home at Howardkw.com

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Keller Williams and the Search for THE BIG WHY (Part Two

The Big Why Not
Neil Diamond was singing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ but the scene was grim. A bald man with a vicious temperament was giving chase with a machete while his cohorts threw knives. As his weapon came down on my neck, I fled the dream and flew straight up in bed.

‘That’ll teach you to watch Indiana Jones right before bed and skip dinner!’ I told myself.

It was 2:30 a.m. and I wasn’t going back to sleep. I’d gone to sleep early because the night before was another too-early wake-up and I had been physically and mentally exhausted.

That was a beginning to a day that included bad news after bad news. But still I wasn’t too concerned….

My lack of concern began to concern my mom and dad, my friends who knew me best, but it was par for the course. Life isn’t easy and I what I claimed to be peace of mind was actually calm detachment masking an internal tempest.

When I sat in front of Chad Hyams in a hotel lobby in Chattanooga, TN and he read my corporate life assessment to me I was a bit crestfallen. He told me I wasn’t suited to what I ‘wanted’ to do. I’m a teacher, a therapist, a counselor and a friend – that’s the bad news. I’m not a task-oriented, focused director with an eye firmly planted on the goal. LOL – anyone who knows me could have told me that, but a highly respected, articulate and accomplished person whose opinion matters to me had just said I was a comforter instead of a the task master. In retrospect, he was just the messenger and a half heard the message.

We all learn through repetition, since college my assessments have always said I influence people through friendship and enthusiasm, but that is the depth of it. There has never been a laser point that I aimed toward.

I can hear Doris Day singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ in my head. She lives there sometimes, singing gayly hoping to be rescued in that Alfred Hitchcock movie I saw 10 years ago. That was a very good representation of my attitude. Change or die.

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The Biggest Why
Possibly without them knowing I’ve interviewed many of my more driven brethren and sisters about what drives them. The bigger the why, the more basic, easily stated and powerful it has been.

‘My kid is smart, but scholarships don’t cover everything;’ ‘There’s no old REALTOR’s home, and if there was I wouldn’t want to live there anyway!’ ‘I have never seen Asia, I have to go before I die.’

The message of the old book the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ resonated with me. It said to automate so you can do what you want. The philosophy of Michael Maher’s Generosity Generation and his ‘Seven Levels of Communication’ were my favorites. I absorbed that book page after page then didn’t apply any of it. Book after book on goal setting, time blocking, giving your way to affluence and helping as many people achieve their goals in order to fund your own lifestyle. Then there was the book on approachablility – walking around with a ‘Hello, My Name Is @KnoxvilleRob‘ sticker was a funny and novel approach, not for me…

I already do what I want! Spend time with friends and their families, I make due and I always have something going. People I know and care about already come to me and it’s a good living. That was my personal philosophy, but I was a fool.

How can I be generous with my time, staring at a phone screen or distracted all the time, how can I be generous with my funds on a limited budget? How can I positively influence people without accomplishing anything.

My big why isn’t going to Asia again, it isn’t being surface friends with my 3,000 Facebook pals, it’s being a genuine source of help to the real people in my life. 1) I have to have funds to take care of my parents who’ve seen me through 41 years of bumbling around and never failing to say they are proud of me and that they love me. 2) I’m going to be a dad – being single isn’t going to stop me. If I remarry and have a child naturally that’s great, if I adopt that’s great. If it’s a friend’s child who is hungry. Whatever the situation, I will be able to take care of some little person who needs a father and a mentor. 3) I will share my faith and philosophy as freely as my parents. I will help fund and be a Christian missionary. I will see the day when I know for certain that I have been a good and faithful servant of Jesus. If I get to the end without knowing I’d accomplished these I’ll consider myself a heartbroken failure.

Since I was a kid I’ve said I wanted to be a dad. My dad and mom are paramount figures in life. They have exemplified all the love of God and have prayed and wept for me in the times when I needed it so bad; my Keller Williams family have shown me what they couldn’t – the foundations of business where systems and models provide a platform for my God-given creativity can flourish. Gary Keller’s chosen motto God, Family, Business sums it up! I didn’t want it to, but it did!

________________________________________

If you want to join the family at Keller Williams check out my earlier post on Why I’m a Keller Williams realtor.

If you’re looking for home in Knoxville, Farragut, or the sounding counties check out robsellsknoxville.com

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Keller Williams and the Search for THE BIG WHY (Part Two

The Big Why Not
Neil Diamond was singing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ but the scene was grim. A bald (balder than me) man with a vicious temperament was giving chase with a machete while his cohorts threw knives. As his weapon came down on my neck, I fled the dream and flew straight up in bed.

‘That’ll teach you to watch Indiana Jones right before bed and skip dinner!’ I told myself.

It was 2:30 a.m. and I wasn’t going back to sleep. I’d gone to sleep early because the night before was another too-early wake-up and I had been physically and mentally exhausted.

That was a beginning to a day that included bad news after bad news. But still I wasn’t too concerned….

My lack of concern began to concern my mom and dad, my friends who knew me best, but it was par for the course. Life isn’t easy and I what I claimed to be peace of mind was actually calm detachment masking an internal tempest.

When I sat in front of Chad Hyams in a hotel lobby in Chattanooga, TN and he read my corporate life assessment to me I was a bit crestfallen. He told me I wasn’t suited to what I ‘wanted’ to do. I’m a teacher, a therapist, a counselor and a friend – that’s the bad news. I’m not a task-oriented, focused director with an eye firmly planted on the goal. LOL – anyone who knows me could have told me that, but a highly respected, articulate and accomplished person whose opinion matters to me had just said I was a comforter instead of a the task master. In retrospect, he was just the messenger and a half heard the message.

We all learn through repetition, since college my assessments have always said I influence people through friendship and enthusiasm, but that is the depth of it. There has never been a laser point that I aimed toward.

I can hear Doris Day singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ in my head. She lives there sometimes, singing gayly hoping to be rescued in that Alfred Hitchcock movie I saw 10 years ago. That was a very good representation of my attitude. Change or die.

image

The Biggest Why
Possibly without them knowing I’ve interviewed many of my more driven brethren and…sistern(?) about what drives them. The bigger the why, the more basic and easily stated it has been.

‘My kid is smart, but scholarships don’t cover everything;’ ‘There’s no old REALTOR’s home, and if there was I wouldn’t want to live there anyway!’ ‘I have never seen Asia, I have to go before I die.’

The message of the old book the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ resonated with me. Automate so you can do what you want. The philosophy of Michael Maher’s Generosity Generation and his ‘Seven Levels of Communication’ were my favorites. I absorbed that book page after page then didn’t apply any of it. Book after book on goal setting, time blocking, giving your way to affluence, approachablility – walking around with a ‘Hello, My Name Is @KnoxvilleRob‘ sticker was a funny and novel approach, not for me…

I already do what I want! Spend time with friends and their families, I make due and I always have something going. People come to me and it’s a good living. That was my personal philosophy, but I was a fool.

How can I be generous with my time, staring at a phone screen, how can I be generous with my funds on a limited budget? How can I positively influence people without accomplishing anything.

My big why isn’t going to Asia again, it isn’t being surface friends with my 3,000 Facebook pals, it’s being a genuine source of help to the real people in my life. 1) I have to have funds to take care of my parents who’ve seen me through 41 years of bumbling around and never failing to say they are proud of me and that they love me. 2) I’m going to be a dad – being single isn’t going to stop me. If I remarry and have a child naturally that’s great, if I adopt that’s great. If it’s a friend’s child who is hungry. Whatever the situation, I will be able to take care of some little person who needs a father and a mentor. 3) I will share my faith and philosophy as freely as my parents. I will help fund and be a Christian missionary. I will see the day when I know for certain that I have been a good and faithful servant of Jesus. If I get to the end without knowing I’d accomplished these three I’ll consider myself a heartbroken failure.

Since I was a kid I’ve said I wanted to be a dad. My dad and mom are paramount figures in life. They have exemplified all the love of God and have prayed and wept for me in the times when I needed it so bad; my Keller Williams family have shown me what they couldn’t – the foundations of business where systems and models provide a platform for my God-given creativity can flourish. Gary Keller’s chosen motto God, Family, Business sums it up! I didn’t want it to, but it did!

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Keller Williams and the search for THE BIG WHY (Part 1)

Prologue
This has been an awful, no account, very bad day. If something doesn’t change it will be one in a string of them. This isn’t about work, real estate or houses of any sort, it’s about life in general and the pursuit of it.

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Rob Howard @knoxvillerob

The Search For My Big Why
I think whatever we allow to define us, if it doesn’t lead us toward something greater that we aspire to, then it will fail us. Being gorgeous or attractive, being loved by others, being popular or thought to be special in one way or another, we can’t control those things, they depend others and pretend they also that time doesn’t march along.

You and I (lol you may not even know me, but if you read on you may find we’ve got the same problem) have to find what we’re working toward ‘our big why’ and say not worry too much about the rest. If they choose to love us, help us, hate, hinder or admire us from a distance … whatever – it matters less than whatever that one big reason that you keep going toward. Someone I consider a friend recently talked about his ‘Big Why’ and how we all need one to keep on track, to work hard, to keep from giving up.

I’ve been groping with that, or carefully avoiding looking for it, for about eight years. In the meantime, a couple days ago one of my friends gave up on trying to control what we can’t control and had no big why. He ended his own life way too young. What a waste, we all said, but he gave up.

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If not there is only a sunset on your way to achieving the undefined.

Another friend yesterday said that it was ‘do or don’t day’ for him, he’s either cranking up his career and life in full speed, or he’s going up find something else.

At KW, we’re constantly surrounded by those who are energetic, upbeat, helpful and successful – infusing my personal life with a sense of possibility and I realize that there is opportunity with every step I take – then I take that energy and run with it as far as it takes me. For so many of us that enthusiastic injection only lasts until we sit down and start to work only to allow our lack of direction to put us in a tailspin until the firecracker is spent.

By God, I’m not going to give up. Before midnight tonight I’ll sort out my ‘Big Why’ I’ll share it with you. I hope you get one too.

Epilogue
The Big Why concept probably didn’t originate with Keller Williams. I suspect it originated in the Bible, in fact I know it did. If God is your Big Why, he’s the best, but one word isn’t focused enough. Paraphrasing my friend Chad, it has to be something so defined as to be pictured and so important that if it doesn’t happen your heart will break.

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My cat, JK, has been my constant companion on the road to my Big Why. He's 15 years old.

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Questions from buyers moving to Knoxville from Canada

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I recently received an e-mail from a potential client moving to Knoxville. He sent me some wonder questions about the Knoxville real estate market, homes in Knoxville and other aspects of buying their first home in the area. My responses are in bold type.

Buyer:
I haven’t spoken to you previously, but thought I’d touch base.

My wife and I are looking at purchasing a home in the semi-near future.  I haven’t done anything such as get pre-approved yet, because I’m waiting to add my tax return to our down payment fund, and really don’t know what the process should be.

Rob:
If you’re really thinking near future, as in when you taxes come in, it would be wise to go ahead and talk to your lender to get ahead of the game a little bit. They can adjust your pre-approval as you go, but you can have a starting point and be better informed as to what you can/should be looking for based on what you want to pay monthly and all those factors. The lender cab help with all that plus get you started in gathering info that you’ll have to provide depending on the type of loan. Forewarned is best!

We both have quite a few questions, and I thought I’d bounce some of them off you:

Bank owned homes…are there caveats?  Things to be aware of?  I’ve heard nightmares about them, in terms of things like people pouring cement down the plumbing, or intentionally wrecking them.  What are the true down sides to purchasing one, because the up side is that one appears to save a lot of money.

I’ve heard all those stories too and it’s smart to look hard at any home you’re thinking of buying. Over the years as a real estate investor I’ve bought 18 foreclosed homes and each has had something, but not to the extremes of the horror stories.

Most of what I’ve seen as major downsides to buying foreclosed homes are not malicious actions by the previous owners, but more deferred maintenance and neglect of things that should have been updated or replaced. Cosmetically, I look at them as blank canvases. I bought mine mostly for rentals, though I’ve lived in some of them for varying amounts of time over the years. The best advice on a foreclosed or any house is to get a mean-grading home inspector. He may find lots to criticize, and – as foreclosures are usually sold as-is you will either have a reason to withdraw from the deal or have a great punchlist of projects to make the place perfect.

Realtors…  I’ve heard both pros and cons, but how does the realtor relationship work here?  I’m from Canada, and have little to no idea how it all works here, other than a person doesn’t necessarily need to have their own realtor etc…  but then, I’ve heard it’s a lot easier to find a home if you work with one.

Canada! A place I’ve always wanted to visit and still haven’t seen. I’ve been a realtor for 11 years. There are two schools of thought in answering your question. 1) It’s great to save the money and buy a house without one, if it saves you money. But in a lot of cases you’re going into on of the largest purchases of your life with limited information, the cost of having an expert guide who has handled hundreds of transactions is usually well worth the small percentage you’re paying for your own agent.

2) I tend to think in most cases realtors will save you money. If the home is for sale by owner then nobody likely has extensive experience with the processes of pricing, negotiation, keeping legal during the transaction, making sure each state-required form is properly executed and filed where it needs to be. While you can probably find a punchlist on the internet somewhere, we have pay for direct access to premium services with tax records; the multiple listing service which we subscribe to provides up to date info on sales in the area and unlike the blind eye that ‘free services’ take to things like foreclosures prices, sales between family members and other non-traditional transactions, we process that information to help determine whether a property is priced in the appropriate range. A good agent earns what they make with each transaction.

If the house isn’t ‘fsbo’ then there is already a realtor involved. As a realtor, it’s nice to sell your own listing and get ‘both sides’ of the commission, the duties of a listing agent are to take care of their client primarily.

A buyers agent in most cases doesn’t cost you any more, their commission is paid from an amount already negotiated with the sellers’ listing agent.  But as your buyer’s agent I will be responsible for protecting your interests in the process from showing homes, through negotiation, inspections and financing. Being either a resource for information or the source for known, trustworthy service providers who can get whatever you need during the transaction.

> 3.  Pricing/offers..  Homes where I was from were generally priced much higher than the actual sale would go for.  Sometimes as much as 20-30% higher.  Is this the case here?  What is a good way to tell?

Each sale depends on the people buying and those selling. Generally those listed with realtors are priced somewhat in line with the going price for homes in the area. A strong-willed seller may bully a weak agent to ask a great deal more than actual value, but it’s my job as your listing agent to provide you with a CMA – comparative market analysis when you are ready to list the house for sale.

As your buyers agent, after you select a house you’re ready to offer on, I can create the same type of CMA to see what homes that have sold in the vicinity, in the same shape and quality – how were priced and what they sold for.

For example: some time ago I did a CMA for a home that had originally listed for $335k, it had dropped in price over time to $315k and the value that I saw from other recent sales was $325k, so an aggressively low offer would be not only reckless, the sellers may be insulted and not even respond, but even at the full asking price the buyer was gaining $10k in instant equity. Of course, we still offered less, but not much lower than the asking price.

We’d like to (ideally,) move sometime in the late spring/early summer.

I’d love to meet you when you make your way to Knoxville, you have great questions and I am happy to help with any others as they come along.

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Farragut, TN: Popular for families, retirement and life in general!

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Welcome to the vibrant town of Farragut, named after the honored Favorite Son Admiral David Farragut as well as regional shopping mecca Turkey Creek. Located minutes from Knoxville and all the University of Tennessee – Go Vols!  

While definitely an extension of an Orange-blooded college town, Farragut is attracting more & more families of home buyers due to it’s amenities, wonderful parks and recreation spots, great climate, and highly ranked schools. Farragut is rated among the top places to live in Tennessee, work and retire in 2013. 

 

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Career, Business and Life – Keller Williams in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN - Careers Worth Having, Businesses Worth Owning, Lives Worth Living

Keller Williams in Knoxville is a team of people who are fun, energetic and helpful. We use and teach the latest technology every day to help each agent achieve the goals and success at the level they desire.

In the mid 1980s, Gary Keller began a company built upon his firm belief that if they focused on growing agents who excel in all aspects of life, the agents would be truly dedicated to the company and build it greater than anyone could reasonably expect. Keller Williams Realty has since grown to the #1 real estate company in the nation – with an army of more than 80,000 agents.

Careers Worth HavingRob Howard - Keller Williams - Knoxville and Farragut, TN

“It’s not about the money. It’s about being the best you can be!” – those are the words at the top of Gary Keller’s best-selling book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.

In that book, Keller and his co-authors examined the systems  and interviewed thousand of the top producing agents in North America. Their systems, models and processes are integrated into not only the book but throughout the organization in its frequent training, educational events, mentoring and a best-selling series of publications.

Click here to see a list of great titles from Gary Keller and Keller Williams

Having a Business Worth Owning

One of the wonderful MAPS coaches - Beth Torrence - presents information at Keller Williams Knoxville Market Center.

One of the wonderful MAPS coaches – Beth Torrence – presents information at Keller Williams Knoxville Market Center.

Keller Williams is a company built by agents for agents. Like a working university, top performers in each Market Center share their expertise with other agents, while learning from each other how to make their own businesses better. An industry of fierce competition has been replaced by a Culture of Teamwork and Cooperation. Gary Keller teaches and often reinforces that the agent is their own brand and makes all the tools and technology available for you to build your own business – and make it a career worth having.

To learn more about our company’s brand philosophy, download your copy of Does Brand Matter to the Real Estate Consumer?, a white paper from Keller Williams Realty.

Lives Worth Living

Sharon Laing - our Operating Principal and Agent Leigh ReynoldsMoney is only helpful if it is used to fund a great life. Keller Williams in Knoxville is built on a culture of agents who care about one another and commit to creating positive experiences in our offices, in the homes of our clients and around the Knoxville area as a whole.  We join together at different times of the year to support local charities as well as helping each other with both business and personal needs whenever possible. We also have a great time, joining for monthly get-togethers and giving the each KW from the newest agent to the area’s top mega-producers opportunities to meet, learn from and socialize. It’s not forced, we like it!

My personal experience

Rob Howard - Keller WilliamsI have been in real estate for more than 10 years. You can read my story after a few months at KW here.  If you would like to talk about whether Keller Williams in Knoxville is a good fit for you, you can:  Contact me on Facebook, call me at my office 865-966-5005 or My cell at 865-288-9123.

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