Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

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Nov. 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving


Posted in Blog
Oct. 8, 2023

DIY backsplash

Installing a Backsplash can bring up the value of your home

It's also e a great way to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • Tiles: Choose the type, color, and size of tiles you want for your backsplash. Consider using a tile saw or tile nipper to make necessary cuts.
  • Tile Adhesive or Thinset Mortar: This is used to adhere the tiles to the wall.
  • Tile Spacers: These maintain even gaps between the tiles for grouting.
  • Grout: This is used to fill in the gaps between the tiles.
  • Grout Float: Helps apply the grout evenly.
  • Tile Sealer (optional): Provides an extra layer of protection for your tiles.
  • Tile Cutter or Wet Saw: For making precise cuts on the tiles.
  • Trowel: Used to spread adhesive evenly.
  • Level and Measuring Tape: Ensure your tiles are straight and properly aligned.
  • Sponges and Buckets of Water: For cleaning excess grout.


  • Prepare the Surface:
  • Clean the wall where you'll be installing the backsplash. It should be free of grease, dirt, and dust. If the wall is painted, consider sanding it lightly to help the adhesive bond better.
  • Plan the Layout:
  • Decide where you want to start and end the backsplash. You generally start from the bottom and work your way up.
  • Mix the Adhesive:
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the tile adhesive or thinset mortar. It should have a consistency similar to peanut butter.
  • Apply the Adhesive:
  • Use a notched trowel to spread a layer of adhesive on the wall. Work in small sections to prevent it from drying out.
  • Install the Tiles:
  • Press the tiles into the adhesive, using spacers to maintain even gaps. Make sure they're level and properly aligned.
  • Cut and Trim Tiles:
  • Use a tile cutter or wet saw to make necessary cuts. Measure and mark the tiles before cutting.
  • Allow the Adhesive to Dry:
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time. It's crucial to let the adhesive set before grouting.
  • Apply Grout:
  • Mix the grout according to the instructions. Use a grout float to spread it over the tiles, ensuring the gaps are completely filled.
  • Clean Excess Grout:
  • After the grout has set for a short while (usually about 15-20 minutes), use a damp sponge to wipe away excess grout from the tiles.
  • Seal the Grout (Optional):
  • If you want extra protection for your grout, consider applying a grout sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Final Clean-Up:
  • Once everything is dry and set, do a final clean-up to remove any residue from the tiles.

Congratulations, you've successfully installed a tile backsplash! Remember to follow safety precautions, especially when using tools like tile saws or wet saws, and work in a well-ventilated area. If you're not comfortable with any part of this process, consider consulting a professional for assistance.


Posted in Blog
Sept. 28, 2023

Why an Inspection Contingency?

You Need to Have a Home Inspection Contingency in your Contract!


I've written about the reasons to have a home inspection and what to look for but writing a home inspection contingency into your offer to begin with is very important.

It's imperative to have your inspection conducted by a licensed, professional inspector. Expect to receive your inspection report by email within 24 to 48 hours. It will comment on how the systems work, the age of the systems and the inspection may make suggestions or have comments.  Once you receive it, review all of the information and also look for a summary of the report which would list the items of concern.  Determine if any items concern you: What are you deal-breakers?  Because you have a contingency in your contract, you have options:

  1. Ask the seller to repair or replace the items: Your Real

  2. Estate Agent will write up a list of the repairs that you'd like to ask for and propose the list to the seller.  The Seller may elect to make all of the repairs, some of the repairs or none of the repairs.  You can negotiate the repairs and, if that doesn’t work out for you, you can use your inspection contingency to void the contract and get your earnest money back. The cost of the inspection is yours.  Without the contingency, you’ll need to complete the purchase (not considering any other contingencies you may have) or lose your earnest money. 


  1. Negotiate the sales price if you have the cash to make the repairs after closing.


  1. If, upon viewing the inspection report, you find that the condition of the property worries you to the point that you don’t wish to purchase the home, you can void the contract using your inspection contingency and recoup your earnest money.

Posted in Blog
June 22, 2023

Why do I need to be Pre-Approved for a mortgage?

Do you wonder why your Real Estate Agent advises you to get pre-approved by a lender before they'll show you homes? In the ""olden days 🤔 it wasn't that big of a deal because homes were inexpensive and there was no such thing as "Buyer Agency" but, in the past 25 years or so, sellers have seen too many contracts fall through due to buyer financing. While it's not my business how much you make, I want to make sure that I'm setting up the correct search criteria for you before I show you homes in person. Your lender has a fiduciary responsibility to k

eep your personal information confidential. All I need is a letter from the lender and information from you on what your needs and wants are.

By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, YOU know how much you can spend on a home, approximately how much your monthly payment will be and how much cash you'll need to put down at the closing table. My motto: NO SURPRISES! Do you want to fall in love with a home only to find that you can't buy it? That's happened to some buyers in my distant past. If you aren't looking at the right listings, you may be sorely disappointed when you find that you have to look in a lower price range. NOT KIDDING! GodSpeed and contact me to get the process started, correctly!
-Alyse Sands
Posted in Real Estate
May 26, 2023

What is a Guaranteed Offer?


You may contact a Brokerage because you saw their ad for a "Guaranteed Offer".  Your interest is piqued so you call the Brokerage. Most likely they'll give you this option but, most people will list the home with them, instead...But they got you to call them!


Things to think about:


A guaranteed offer does not guarantee you a sales price of the Market Value. Your property is an investment for the buyer which may be an agent from the Brokerage or one of their investor clients so you're most likely going to be accepting an offer for less than your home's value. In a market in which homes are selling, the average seller should not have the need a guaranteed offer. In a market in which homes are selling and you're expecing your well-earned equity, why would you accept any less?


Who needs a guaranteed offer?

People with homes with deferred maintenance. The home is in distressed condition and making repairs may be too expensive or overwhelming for a seller to prepare to compete for market value.


Sellers who need money quickly for an emergency.

Heirs of a home who don't want to be bothered with getting the home updated.

Sellers who are going through a difficult time in their lives (ie;illness) and need to get out from under the monthly costs or upkeep.

The buyer/agency will either keep the property as a rental or they will put a little work into it and sell it at a profit.  If you have the time and money, it would be in your financial best interest to do it yourself.


Posted in Blog
March 23, 2023

Preparing Your Home for Sale



If you're ready to sell your home, you would, obviously, want to sell it for the highest possible price. AMIRIGHT?  In order to do that, the price you list it for is extremely important.  All regions may not be the same but, in Middle Tennessee, we price the home in line with the homes that have sold in the current market.  If you price the property too high for the market, you'll be on the market for a longer time. The whole point of this is to get buyers in the door. Price using"Apples to Apples". Your home should compare to the sold properties in the following ways:

  • Age (within the same era)
  • Size (similar in square footage, number of bedrooms and baths)
  • Condition (are the sold homes updated? Is yours? If not, are you willing to make any upgrades? Upgrades can bring approximately 3x their cost in value)
  • Construction (brick with brick, etc)

To find your current market value, you will need to compare your home to the most similar homes that have recently SOLD/CLOSED.  The reason that you're using only sold comparable properties is because the sales price shows what buyers are willing to and have paid, in the CURRENT market (prices can fluctuate).  Compare the photos in the sold listings in the market analysis (that your Real Estate Professional provided to you) to your home so you can see how your home compares, aesthetically.  If your home is not updated and the comparable properties are, it should be obvious that your home won't bring the same price (with some exceptions such as there being no comparable homes to compete with at the time). If your home is updated and the comparable properties are not, you know that you can price at the top or over the highest priced sold property and vice versa.


ACTIVE listings are not comparable properties to use for price comparisons.  They're your competition.  These prices aren't proven.  If they are priced higher than the homes that have sold then the sellers are using emotion to price their home.  Some sellers want to price higher thinking that a buyer will negotiate.  This may work with used cars but it doesn't work the same way with resale homes. If you price too high (again, there are exceptions such as if there is something special about your home that stands out above the others), your home will stay on the market longer.  If you're priced above the value of your neighborhood's median amount, some buyers may not even want to view your listing. Buyers' agents in this area know that, if priced correctly, the home will normally sell for 98% to 101% of the asking price so they advise their buyers not to make a lower offer early in the listing. Sellers are known to not want to negotiate early in the life of the listing. The first week is the strongest time your home will ever be on the market because buyers are looking at new listings as they come up. You will never get this time back!


HOWEVER; you can use the too-high priced listing down the street to your advantage.  Price correctlyb and price a small amount below them, and your home, if in comparable condition, should sell at it's asking price before theirs.

 Tips for preparing to sell that will help to get a buyer, quickly that don't require a large investment of time or money.

  • The first thing the buyer will see is your "curb appeal". Mow the lawn, pull weeds and repair any issues you see. Passers-by will want to see more. The'll either call your listing agent or their buyer's agent.
  • Inside: Remove all clutter from counters, tables, etc.  Store or get rid of items you don't use on a regular basis or haven't used in years.
  • CLEAN goes a long way!  Clean the entire home from top to bottom, inside and outside. clean the exterior; removing dirt and webs off the front door, clean the mailbox! On the inside, clean inside and behind appliances, clean to the corners of every room, make sure there are no webs on the ceiling. A clean home will enhance the desirability EVEN IF THE HOME NEEDS WORK!

 Click here to get an estimate of how much your home is worth in today's market.

Posted in Blog
Feb. 13, 2023

Inspecting the Electrical and Plumbing Systems when Purchasing a Home

When purchasing a home, it's essential to inspect the electrical and plumbing systems to ensure that they are in good working order. These systems are crucial to the functionality of the home and can be costly to repair or replace if they are not up to par. Here are some reasons why it's important to inspect electrical and plumbing systems when buying a home.

Firstly, the electrical system is responsible for powering the home and can be a major safety hazard if not inspected properly. An outdated or poorly maintained electrical system can lead to electrical fires or even electrocution. A professional home inspector can identify any potential issues with the electrical system, such as faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, or outdated panels, and provide recommendations for repairs.

Secondly, the plumbing system is responsible for delivering clean water to the home and removing wastewater. A malfunctioning or outdated plumbing system can result in leaks, water damage, or even health hazards. A home inspector will inspect the plumbing system, including pipes, fixtures, and water heaters, to ensure that they are in good condition and up to code.

Thirdly, any issues with the electrical or plumbing systems can result in costly repairs or replacements. For example, replacing an outdated electrical panel can cost several thousand dollars, and repairing a burst pipe can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in water damage. By identifying any potential issues during a home inspection, you can negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller, or even back out of the sale altogether if the issues are severe enough.

In conclusion, inspecting the electrical and plumbing systems when purchasing a home is a critical step in the home-buying process. A professional home inspector can identify any potential issues and provide recommendations for repairs, which can save you time and money in the long run. By ensuring that the electrical and plumbing systems are in good working order, you can feel confident that you're making a sound investment in your new home.

Posted in Blog
Feb. 7, 2023

The Importance of a Professional Home Inspection


When purchasing a new home, it's important to conduct a thorough inspection to ensure that you're making a sound investment. Home inspections can reveal hidden problems that could end up costing you a significant amount of money if not addressed promptly. Here are the five most important things to look for during a home inspection. Every buyer has the right and responsibility to have an inspection.

Structural integrity: This is one of the most crucial aspects to look for during a home inspection. You should look for any signs of damage or potential issues with the foundation, roof, walls, and flooring. A home inspector will be able to identify any structural problems and make recommendations for repairs. If the home has a basement, it's especially important to check for any signs of water damage, mold, or cracks in the walls.


Electrical and plumbing systems: The electrical system is an important aspect of the home that you need to inspect carefully. Make sure it is safe and up to code, and check for any signs of wear and tear in the wiring. The plumbing system should also be in good working order, without any leaks or signs of damage. A home inspector will be able to identify any potential problems and advise you on the best course of action.

Roof and exterior: Another important aspect of the home to inspect is the roof and exterior. Check for any damage to the roof, walls, windows, and doors, and make sure the exterior is in good condition. A damaged roof can lead to leaks and water damage, while damaged walls and windows can be costly to repair. A home inspector will be able to identify any problems and make recommendations for repairs.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems: The HVAC system is responsible for heating, cooling, and ventilating your home, so it's important to ensure that it's functioning properly. A home inspector will check for any signs of wear and tear, as well as any issues with the ductwork. If the HVAC system needs to be replaced, this could end up being a major expense, so it's important to address any prob

lems promptly.

Interior amenities: Finally, it's important to inspect the interior amenities such as kitchen appliances and bathrooms. Look for any signs of water damage, mold, or other health hazards. Check the kitchen appliances to ensure that they're in good working order, and inspect the bathrooms to make sure they're in good condition. A home inspector will be able to identify any potential problems and make recommendations for repairs.

In conclusion, a home inspection is a critical step in the home-buying process. By looking for these five key areas, you can ensure that you're making a sound investment and avoid any costly surprises down the road. If you're considering purchasing a new home, make sure to hire a professional home inspector to conduct a thorough inspection.


Check my post on how Inspection Contingencies work

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 1, 2023

Top 5 Strategies to Becoming a Homeowner

Becoming a first-time homeowner is a big step in anyone's life and it can be a little intimidating, especially if you're in the United States where property prices are high and the mortgage process is complex. With a little bit of preparation, (a job) and the right strategies in place, anyone can become a homeowner. Here are the top 5 strategies to help you become a first-time homeowner.

Find an Experienced Realtor® to partner with: Buying a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. A knowledgeable real estate agent will know what's required in your market, helping you avoid delays and costly mistakes. There’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language. A real estate agent can be a valuable resource when it comes to buying your first home. They can help you find properties that fit your budget, negotiate with the seller, and guide you through the closing process. Make sure to find an agent who is familiar with the local market and has experience working with first-time homebuyers.

Saving for a down payment is one of the most important steps in becoming a homeowner. In the United States, a down payment of 20% is required for a conventional mortgage unless you're okay with paying PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), but there are options for lower down payments as well. Start by setting a goal for your down payment and create a budget that allows you to save a little each month. You can also look into first-time homebuyer programs that offer down payment assistance for those who qualify.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a great way to know what you can afford and gives you a stronger bargaining position when you're ready to make an offer on a home. During the pre-approval process, a lender will review your financial information, including your credit score and income, to determine how much you're eligible to borrow. A good credit score is crucial when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage. Start by getting a copy of your credit report and fixing any errors. Then, focus on paying your bills on time and reducing your debt. A higher credit score will not only increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage, but it will also help you get a better interest rate.

Be flexible and open-minded. While it's important to have a clear idea of what you're looking for in a home, it's also important to be flexible and open-minded. Keep in mind that you may need to make some compromises in order to find a home that fits your budget. Be open to different neighborhoods, home styles, and property types, and remember that you can always make changes to a home after you buy it.


In conclusion, becoming a first-time homeowner in America takes some planning and preparation, but with the right strategies in place, you can achieve this goal. Start by saving for a down payment, improving your credit score, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, working with a real estate agent, and being flexible and open-minded. Good luck!

Posted in Real Estate
Jan. 25, 2023

The Importance of Working with an Experienced Professional in Any Field


  • When it comes to tackling a project or solving a problem in any field, working with an experienced professional can make all the difference. Here are a few reasons why working with an experienced professional is important:
  • Knowledge and expertise: An experienced professional has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their field. They have been working in the industry for a significant period of time and have likely encountered a wide range of problems and challenges. This knowledge and expertise can be invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals and overcome obstacles.
  • Problem-solving skills: An experienced professional has developed a keen understanding of the industry, and they know how to tackle problems and find solutions. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions that can help you to find the best approach to a problem or project.
  • Professional networks: An experienced professional has likely built a strong network of contacts in their industry. They can use these contacts to help you to find resources, connect with other professionals, or open doors that might otherwise be closed.
  • Mentorship: An experienced professional can act as a mentor, providing guidance and advice as you navigate the industry. They can help you to avoid common mistakes, learn from their experiences, and develop the skills you need to be successful.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness: An experienced professional can help you to achieve your goals more efficiently and effectively. They know the industry inside and out, and they can help you to avoid time-consuming and costly mistakes.
  • Licenses: A Professional who has a license has an authority to answer to.  Protecting a license means it's unlikely that they will "rip you off"
  • Insurance: A licensee with insurance has to be insured for mistakes made on the job.

In conclusion, working with an experienced professional in any field can help you to achieve your goals more efficiently and effectively. They can provide valuable knowledge, expertise, problem-solving skills, professional networks, and mentorship

Posted in Blog