Weigh the Options before Accepting an Offer on Your Tulsa Area Home

Selling a Tulsa Area home in this economy can be challenging. There’s a lot of fixing up, cleaning and planning that goes into putting a house on the market. So when sellers get a bite, they might jump on an offer a little too quickly.

If you’re about to put your house on the market, you should be prepared to counter lowball offers and outrageous contingencies. On the other hand, you need to be ready to accept an offer that meets your demands. Take into consideration the following tips so that you’re prepared when a buyer strikes.

  • Closing costs assistance – Many first-time Tulsa Area home buyers have barely enough money to cover their down payments. So if you want to close the deal quickly, you might want to have money set aside in case they ask you to help with their closing costs.
  • Offer contingent on sale of buyer’s home – Even if the offer is good and you accept it, don’t hang all your hopes on it. Most of the time the contingency is that buyers are waiting to sell their current property. In this economy that could take two months or two years.
  • Closing date extension – This will cost you more money. You’ll have to continue with the upkeep of the house and fix any unexpected disasters in between.  Sometimes it’s better to just say no and hope that the buyer agrees to your initial date. However, if the extension isn’t very long or if this is the only offer you’ve had in years, you may be better off accepting it.
  • Multiple offers – If you’re lucky enough to have this situation on your hands, just remember that the highest offer isn’t necessarily the best. Be sure to read through the fine print and consult your real estate agent before making a decision. Also remember that you can always counter on the lower offer to see how much they’ll increase their bid.

In such an unpredictable real estate market, there’s a need to weigh your options and talk through offer scenarios with your real estate agent in order to be as prepared as possible to make the best decision.

Thinking of selling your Tulsa Area home? If you’re looking for a professional real estate agent who can help you achieve your real estate goals, please call 918-798-5581 or email me at jackieshields@kw.com for more information.

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Dress Up Your Tulsa Area Home with Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs add interest to any landscape and early spring is an ideal time to plant them. Shrubs are relatively maintenance free. Once you plant them, they are a perennial source of beauty.

Keep these tips in mind as you plan how to dress up your Tulsa Area home with shrubs.

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know how tall your chosen shrub will grow. Don’t place a tall selection in front of a window where it will block your view.
  • Coordinate colors. Consider how well the color of your new shrub’s flowers will complement the color of any established flowers that will be blooming nearby at the same time.
  • Go for fragrance. Flower color is not the only thing to consider. What could be nicer than having the scent of lilacs wafting through the window of your Tulsa Area home?
  • Spread out flowering times. Try to pick a variety of shrubs that bloom throughout the seasons. That way you’ll always have some color in your yard. While most bloom in spring, you can have some flowering in March, others in April and still others in May. For example, hydrangeas bloom in summer. There are even a few that bloom in autumn, such as butterfly bush.
  • Go native. Be sure to ask about native species at your local nursery. Native shrubs will be well adapted to your area and are more eco-friendly than introduced species.
  • Mulch your new plantings. An attractive mulch keeps down weeds, conserves moisture and looks good. Use either wood chips or bark. If you create your own mulch with a chipper, be sure you don’t use black walnut trees. They produce a substance that is toxic to most other plants.

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Don’t Count on Luck to Sell Your Tulsa Area Home

Even though we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this month, do not count on the luck of the Irish when it comes to selling your Tulsa Area home. Finding the right buyer in this housing market can seem about as easy as spotting a leprechaun. However, with a little bit of research, you can identify the type of buyers most likely to purchase your home and develop a marketing strategy to target that group.

Pinpointing the buyers most likely to purchase your home and marketing specifically to that group is a tool that real estate professionals use all the time. Below are two crucial steps to identifying potential buyers of your home, appealing to the people most likely to purchase your property and selling your house quicker — which means claiming your pot of gold.

1.  Identify the lifestyle fit. Think back to when you initially bought the property and what qualities caught your eye. Were you a single man looking for a bachelor pad or an empty nester looking for a place to retire? Coincidentally, whoever buys your Tulsa Area home will probably have a lifestyle similar to the one you had when you bought your home. So, be sure to highlight attractive features, such as a game room for a bachelor or one-level living for a retiree.

2.   Notice the neighborhood. Once you’ve identified the type of buyer, it is important to examine your neighborhood. People want to live in areas where they have the amenities they need. Do you live close to a good school? Is a new shopping development going in right down the road? Are there multiple parks within walking distance? These can all be things that attract the right buyer, but are often left out of advertising. 

Do not count on leprechauns and luck to sell your Tulsa Area home! While your buyer could turn out to be the complete opposite of your target market, you are more likely to have house-selling success if you reach out to a specific demographic.

If you could use help developing a marketing strategy to sell your real estate, please call me at 918-798-5581 or email me at jackieshields@kw.com today.

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Tulsa Area Real Estate Contract Contingencies

Whether you’ve bought and sold a dozen homes or you’re a first-time home buyer, you probably know that after you purchase Tulsa Area real estate, there is usually no option to return or exchange it. Because of this finality, you need to be sure your contract spells out all the conditions you want met before the deal can close. In real estate contracts, these conditions are called contingencies.

Contingencies are the requirements that both the buyer and the seller must meet in order for the closing contract to be valid. If something does not meet specific criteria, the contract must be renegotiated or it becomes null. Below is a list of contract contingencies every buyer should include in their bid — so that you don’t end up with an unexpected fixer-upper on your hands!

  • Home InspectionContingency – This is a really important contingency because you want to make sure there are no problems with the Tulsa Area real estate. If any serious problems are discovered, such as wood-destroying pests, lead-based paint or a damaged roof, you can renegotiate your contract to account for the costs you’ll incur during repairs.
  • Loan Contingency – This allows the buyer to shop around for a loan so they can get financed under a particular interest rate and not get locked into high mortgage payments they cannot afford. If a buyer can’t secure a loan that meets the contingency parameters, then the contract can be voided.
  • Home Insurance Contingency – This means that you’re asking the seller to provide proof that the home is currently insured. This is needed because, in recent years, homeowners living in states with a history of toxic household mold, earthquakes or hurricanes, have been surprised to receive a flat out “no” from insurance providers. You want to make certain that the home is insurable before you buy it. If there are serious issues with the home, insurance companies might reject it or charge astronomical rates.

If you would like to know more about contingencies or need help buying Tulsa Area real estate, please call me at 918-798-5581 or email me at jackieshields@kw.com,.

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Attract Native Bees to Benefit Your Tulsa Area Home’s Yard and Garden

You’ve heard about the plight of honey bees. But did you know there are 4,000 species of native bees in North America? Many of them are in peril due to habitat loss and pesticides. While they don’t produce honey, these insects are a vital part of our ecosystem. If the (non-native) honey bees continue to have troubles, we will need our native bees more than ever to pollinate our crops and gardens.

The vast majority of native bees are solitary rather than social insects. Unlike honey bees and bumble bees, each female has her own nest, so you don’t need to fear the possibility of being attacked by the colony. Solitary bees are docile and do not have the painful sting of honey bees.

Here are some ways to welcome native pollinators to your Tulsa Area home.

  • Stop using insecticides. This is the most important first step. If you rely on chemicals to control insect pests, you are killing beneficial insects as well, including predators and parasites of the pests you want to get rid of.
  • Plant a diverse garden. The greater the variety of plants in your yard, the more species of bees you will attract. Make sure you have variations in height, flowering time and plant families. As always, diversity is key to having a healthy ecosystem.
  • Grow native plants. Not all plants in your garden need to be natives, but the more native plants you have, the better.
  • Provide nesting sites. Most native bees are diggers; they nest underground. But about a third of native bees are tube-nesters. In nature, they nest in hollow twigs. But you can provide nest sites for them, either by drilling holes in blocks of wood or by hanging tubes out for them, made from bamboo or reeds. Holes and tubes can range in size from 1/8 to ½ inch in diameter, and from 4 to 6 inches long. The more sizes you provide, the greater the diversity of species you welcome.
  • Let it be. Leave at least part of your yard unmowed and untilled. (Think perennials and wildflowers.) This will give the digger bees a chance to raise their young undisturbed.
  • Go bug watching! Once you provide habitat for native pollinators, go out and see who moves in. Get to know your bugs. It’s great entertainment, available at your own Tulsa Area home.

Still only dreaming of having a yard or garden of your own? I can help you find a Tulsa Area home with the perfect yard or garden for you. Call me today at 019-798-5581 or email me at jackieshields@kw.com.

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Eight Indoor Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Tulsa Area Home

Spring heralds the arrival of blooming flowers, chirping birds and warmer weather. It is also a perfect time to do some after-winter indoor maintenance.  Here are eight indoor maintenance tips to help keep your Tulsa Area home in perfect operating condition:

  1. Change air conditioning unit air filters monthly: Clean air filters help your unit run more efficiently, saving money on your energy bills.
  2. Install environmentally-friendly window treatments: Save on utility bills by adding blinds to windows that face south and west. Open windows when the sun sets and close them at sunrise.
  3. Examine your sump pump: Make sure the sump pump is operating correctly, and install a battery backup pump. The backup, another pump that floats above the original pump, will kick on when the electricity goes out. If your sump pump fails, an alarm goes off, letting you know the backup is working. A few hundred dollars will save you thousands in water damage.
  4. Clean your condenser coils: Your refrigerator needs only a minimal amount of maintenance to run effectively. This maintenance consists of a simple cleaning of the condenser coil a minimum of once every 12 months – cleaning them once every 6 months is even better. This is very important to keep your refrigerator running more efficiently.
  5. Inspect all doors and windows for leaks and drafts: Look for peeling and chipped paint, which can indicate that water seeped in.  Caulk areas between the frame and the wall to keep water and drafts out of your Tulsa Area home. Examine putty and caulk lines around exterior windows and doors, and ensure that weather stripping creates a good seal.
  6. Check for gaps where mice and insects might be able to enter: Seal around under-sink faucet pipes, gaps where cabinets meet the drywall, etc.
  7. Replace caulking around sink faucets: If the caulking is discolored or worn away, this allows water to drip down inside the cabinets.
  8. Pay attention to worn grout in kitchens and bathrooms: If grout is missing or cracked, re-grout and re-seal as soon as possible.  In bathrooms, get in the habit of wiping down tiled shower walls after each use.

If you’d like help identifying repairs that need to be done before putting your Tulsa Area home up for sale, I’m happy to do a free, no-obligation walkthrough of your home.  Call me today at 918-798-5581 or email me at jackieshields@kw.com to schedule an appointment.

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Seven Signs Tulsa Area Real Estate and Real Estate Nationwide are Improving

Recently released figures indicate real estate nationwide and Tulsa Area real estate are continuing to steadily improve. Here are seven signs that demonstrate the upturn:

  1. Housing affordability has risen dramatically. This is due to a combination of reduced real estate prices and record-low mortgage rates.
  2. Housing starts are increasing, driven mostly by multifamily starts.
  3. Existing home sales increased in January. That means we’ve now had three months of gains out of the past four months.
  4. Total housing inventory fell to a 6.1 month supply at the end of January. This means that on average it now takes just over 6 months to sell a home, which is an improvement. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, “The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers.”
  5. There are plenty of home buyers and investors competing for foreclosure sales in almost all markets.
  6. Purchases of homes are on the rise by all types of buyers, from seasoned investors to first-time home buyers.
  7. Most economists agree that the market is improving. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist says, “Our outlook anticipates gradual, but steady, improvement in the economy and the housing market, supported by low interest rates and brightening job market prospects.”

This is excellent news for the spring and summer Tulsa Area real estate season that’s just around the corner. If you’ve been considering buying or selling a home, now’s the time to start that process so you’re ready for the hottest season we’ve seen in years.

Thinking about buying or selling Tulsa Area real estate? Please contact me today at info@jonesshieldsteam.com or 918-798-5581. I can help you achieve your goals.

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