5 Questions to Ask Your HOA

When you’re considering a move, it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions to the Homeowner’s Association (HOA). The HOA typically oversees upkeep of common property, such as landscaping, repaving streets, trash collection, upkeep of shared facilities like clubhouses and swimming pools, etc. The size of the neighborhood you are considering and what shared facilities are available could determine the level of activity of the HOA. Each neighborhood and HOA will be different, but here are some questions to get the conversation started while you look for your dream home.

 
What are the HOA dues?

All HOAs require dues to cover the upkeep of the common spaces and facilities, even if you do not utilize them. These dues can range anywhere in the hundreds of dollars, depending on the facilities and quality of the neighborhood you are considering.  A good follow up question is to ask about the history of dues increases, which could impact you while living there. You should compare the dues to other dues in the area as well.

 
What specific insurance will I be required to carry?

Most likely your HOA has purchased an insurance policy to protect the common property and facilities but not the homes. In the case of a condo or townhouse community, the policy may include the external building structures as well. These policies do not include the interior of the homes or the residents’ property. You should be looking at homeowners insurance for everything the HOA policy does not protect, and consider these costs in your budget assumptions. It’s important to ask the HOA if they require the homeowners to carry any other specific policy.

 

What are the rules and regulations set by this specific HOA?

Rules and regulations typically revolve around upkeep of commons spaces but also can include rules about pets, fences, swimming pools, etc.  Look for the HOA rules and make sure they are the most current information. Specifically, pay attention to rules regarding fines, changing/adding rules, and when the HOA meetings occur. It’s a good practice to look at minutes from past HOA meetings to see what violations they are most concerned about and to be aware of any potential conflicts between homeowners.

 

What has been budgeted for in recent years and in the future?

As a potential dues paying member of the HOA, you should know what exactly dues have covered in the past and what they may cover in the future. Are there reserves for big projects, like concrete repair? For example, if the budget does not reflect a high reserve for that cost and you notice that sidewalks are in desperate need for repair, you can assume they either won’t be fixed or you may be forced to pay a special assessment sometime in the near future.

 

Do I have to attend all the HOA meetings?

Again, this can vary based on HOA, however, most of the time you can send an HOA proxy if you are unable to make a meeting and want to stay informed on the decisions or make your voice heard on a particular decision. These meetings, typically consisting of a board of directors that was voted by the other homeowners, could impact the dues you will pay or special assessment fees for certain projects in the coming year. It’s important to be part of these conversations if any of the decisions will affect you as a homeowner or renter.

 
As a potential homeowner or renter, it’s important to do your research and be part of the conversation when it comes to your HOA. Stay informed and involved to ensure you are prepared for any fees or decisions when it comes to your home and neighborhood.

 

For more information about an HOA or property management, give our team a call at 615-297-7711.

Give Thanks

Scarves, curling up by a cozy fireplace, munching on pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and it’s such a wonderful time of year! While we all may immediately associate the holiday with having a day off from work and responsibilities so we can eat way too much delicious food, we can’t forget the foundation: give thanks.

A great exercise together with your family and/or friends this Thanksgiving is to go around and say what you’re thankful for this year. It could be something new, old, a base necessity or a spectacular gift or experience. Do any of these apply to you?

Good health
Your parents
Your partner
Your kids
Freedom
Drinking water
Employment
Educational opportunities
Laughter
Financial security
Time
Kindness
Beautiful Sunsets
A home/shelter
Electricity
Warm clothing
Diversity

There’s so much more if we just pause a moment to reflect.

And another thing you can be thankful for with HND? Affordable homes!

Picture this. In Antioch, TN situated just around the corner from Percy Priest Lake, brand new, spacious townhomes await. The Hamilton Run Townhomes boast great rooms for hosting your Thanksgiving or holiday meals with family and friends. Pick up your relatives from the nearby Nashville airport. You can do your upcoming Holiday shopping at Providence Marketplace. The beautiful granite countertops in the kitchen are perfect for preparing your holiday meals. Get in the holiday spirit by hanging lights and decorations on the front porch and roof. Hide your car in the garage when the first snow falls (and save yourself the work of scraping off).

Contact us soon to learn more about Hamilton Run Townhomes and your holiday possibilities!

Ghosts, Mummies, & Witches – OH MY!

Ready to make your home spooky for Halloween?

“Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’all’s neighborhood…”

Alright so hopefully there’s no REAL creatures terrorizing your neighborhood this month, but we thought these Thriller lyrics might get you in the mood. Tis the Halloween season! One of the most fun times of the year for home decorating. Here’s a few ideas to make sure your home look the spookiest in the neighborhood (but doesn’t actually scare anyone off from coming to get a treat of course!)

 

  • Deck out your trees with DIY hanging ghosts.
  • Decorate your doors (including garage door)! Make or purchase cute or spooky silhouettes. Check out more tips here! Or turn your front door into a spooky mummy.
  • Add some cardboard tombstones to the front yard to give it a real graveyard effect.
  • Board up your windows and hang spiderwebs all over the front of the house to send a message of “enter if you dare!” to any brave souls that try to walk up.
  • Make these floating witch hat lanterns for your front porch. Don’t forget to get some old school witches’ brooms to lean on the porch.

Need more unique ideas? There are TONS on Pinterest. Get the whole family involved in the fun decorating and you’re guaranteed to be the talk of the neighborhood this Halloween.

Hamilton Run Townhome Community

After considering the benefits of buying new versus buying an older home, you and your family have decided to purchase a new home! Look no further than the Hamilton Run Townhome Community. With spacious bedrooms, great rooms, front porches, and even a single car garage, these homes can’t be beat.

Do you love the outdoors and being near the water, especially in those hot Nashville summers? This community location is ideal. It’s just around the corner from Percy Priest Lake and minutes to the many shops and restaurants at Providence Marketplace. It’s also conveniently located to the Nashville Airport!

These energy-efficient homes have two and three bedroom options with two and a half baths. They include a spacious great room and dining room for hosting guests for parties or just big family dinners. The second floor houses the second bedroom along with a lovely loft that’s open to the great room below.

Other unique features of the townhomes include:

  • Master bedroom on the main floor
  • Walk-in shower, with door, in the master bath
  • Single car garage
  • Stainless steel appliance package
  • Granite counter tops and USB ports in the kitchen
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Front porch

Other worry-free features that we have included are a one year builder warranty inside-out, 10 year structural warranty, and exterior maintenance through the HOA.

Priced in the low $200s, this affordable, spacious and beautiful new townhome could soon be yours. We would love to show you the townhome where you could be making memories, so contact Sarah Robinson today at 615-669-4774 to learn more.

Time to Buy: New vs. Old Homes

Like many renters, you might be tired of paying your rent monthly and not actually investing in anything. On top of that, you don’t have the freedom to make the space truly your own. Sounds like you’re ready to settle down and take the plunge into buying a home. Of course, there are many decisions to make and pros and cons to weigh on this major decision. First thing you need to consider is whether or not you want to buy a new construction or an older established home. We’ve got pros and cons for each to help guide your decision.

Customization and Floor Plans
If you’re looking for a more modern layout and floor plan, especially with an option for customization, then a new home is the way to go. Older homes would require remodeling to open up the floor plan the way you might want. If you are someone who doesn’t mind a fixer-upper, buying an older home will present many fun and exciting projects.

Amenities and Efficiency 
New homes likely have more amenities and are more energy efficient than an older home. New homes may come with solar panels, energy-saving windows, smart appliances, USB outlets, electric vehicle charging stations, thermostats, and other exciting features. Not only are these things cool, but they will also likely lead to lower utility bills. On the flip side, older homes don’t include the items listed above, but they do come with the benefit of more charm, unique look, and historical architecture than a new house. Also, the landscaping and trees on the property are likely to be more mature in comparison to a new housing development.

Location, Location, Location
If you are considering an older home, a huge perk is that it likely has a great location in the heart of a city, close to schools, shops, restaurants and more. New houses and developments are likely farther out in the suburbs, which can mean longer commutes to work, school, and other places you frequent.

Buying and reselling
An upside to purchasing a new home is that you’re likely not competing with a lot of other buyers so you can take your time deciding. Another pro is that when you’re ready to resell the home the value is likely to be much higher for your newer home than if you had purchased an older home in the beginning. However, if you are considering a new home, be prepared to see the expense upfront when buying, as much as 20% higher cost than an older home.

After considering these options, remember you’re not just buying a piece of property; you’re buying into a home, a neighborhood, schools, a place to start making memories and so much more!

5 Ideas for the Best Labor Day Party

Where did summer go?! Celebrate the final days of summer with the best Labor Day party (dare we say ever?) Bring family and friends together for an unforgettable end to our favorite season.

Pick a Theme
Labor Day is a patriotic holiday that celebrates American achievement. Choosing a theme adds a cohesive element to your Labor Day party.

  • All American
    An All-American theme incorporates red, white, and blue in everything you do!
  • White Out
    Ask guests to commit a fashion faux pas and wear white to your celebration.
  • Build Your Own
    Put a spin on “Labor” Day and put guests to work with a build-you-own food station. Burgers, hot dogs, tacos, and cocktails are all great options!

Make a Mouth Watering Menu
Plan your food around your theme of choice. Offer a variety of sips and snacks for guests to munch on before lunch (or dinner) is served. We love Delish for the best appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts!

Don’t be afraid to try something new! Your guests are sure to love your festive feast.

Live Larger
Make your party larger than life with life size yard games – Jenga, Chess, Connect Four, or Yahtzee! Bonus Points: DIY your favorite life size yard game. A number of easy-to-follow tutorials are available on Pinterest.

Make It a Movie Night
Enjoy a night under the Nashville stars with an outdoor movie night! Set up a projector, a fun concession stand filled with popcorn and movie snacks, and you’re ready to go. What to Watch: The Proposal, Horrible Bosses, Employee of the Month, or The Office (TV Series).

Create a Memory
Create a memorable night for guests. Set out a Polaroid camera for use throughout the night. Hang the photos on a line to decorate the night, and ask guests to grab their photos on the way out.

How will you be celebrating this Labor Day?

Music City Eclipse

Monday, August 21, 2017 – The day an estimated 500 million people have the opportunity to observe the solar eclipse. Residence spanning from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, and through the heart of Middle Tennessee will experience the eclipse in full, while cities outside of the band will see a partial eclipse. This celestial event is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the moon completely block the sun for approximately 2 minutes.

Music City will be the place to be, as Nashville is the largest city on the eclipse’s path to experience the eclipse in full! We are here to keep you in the loop – everything you need to know about the Music City Eclipse.

How do I watch the solar eclipse?
You will need special ISO-approved glasses to view the eclipse safely. Do not look directly at the Sun during the partial eclipse phase.

What time is the eclipse?
The total solar eclipse will enter the state of Tennessee at 1:25 PM CT and exit at 2:36 PM ET. (The change in time zones accounts for the time zone change between locations).

The entire eclipse will last approximately 3 hours.

Will temperatures drop during the eclipse?
Yes! The temperature will lower slightly during the eclipse.

Where should I watch the eclipse?
There are plenty of locations across Middle Tennessee to watch the eclipse, but be sure to plan ahead! The Metro Nashville and Tennessee State Parks offer a great place to view the eclipse amongst the beauty of nature.

Are there any special viewing events?
A number of local businesses are hosting viewing parties. Looking to head downtown? Downtown parking options are available at Park It Downtown.

Mayor Megan Barry will be hosting a viewing party at First Tennessee Park. Grab your tickets here.

Whether you’re hitting the streets of Nashville or getting cozy in your backyard, take the opportunity to view this once in a lifetime eclipse. Get out your glasses, and enjoy the solar eclipse!

Online Payment Option: The Way To Go

These days almost all large retail companies have online payment processing. Unfortunately smaller businesses, such as those which multiple investment properties do not often use this method. Why? Many feel that offering the online feature costs too much money. If fact, it doesn’t cost as much as you might think.  

Some people feel that it is too complicated, but it actual pretty simple. Many companies that offer the service make it as easy as possible to transition your business to online payments and often include online tutorials as well as customer service via phone to walk you through any issues.

There are many good reasons why having an online payment option is the way to go. If you have multiple properties, online payments are a great way to keep track of who paid what and when. If a tenant drops a check in the mail, on different days of the month or simply hands you payment different days of the month it can get confusing. If you didn’t write it down in your ledger right away or enter it into your data entry form, then you may forget and things become complicated. If you allow online payments, you can check who paid, what they paid, when they paid and also keep a running list of it all at your fingertips. Another great thing about online payment is that the payment will not go through without available funds. How many times has a check from a tenant bounced? Online processing will eliminate that altogether.

Often you can see patterns. If someone is constantly late you can address the issue with warnings or late fees and have the online payments as proof. With a check or cash there is no way of knowing for sure when they exactly paid. Even if they write the date on the check, that is no sign they gave it to you on that date. Another issue with checks, corporate checks especially, is that companies often only process checks once a month and can delay the payment to you even more. Having the option to pay online could potentially help eliminate this as well. 

We hope these tips have given you a little food for thought regarding online payment options for your business or real estate investments.

Effective Tips for Screening Tenants

The secret of succeeding in the real estate business lies in proper screening of all prospecting renters. It does not matter how honest a person seems to be. Before you let him or her move into your premises, you must subject them to a thorough tenant screening. Such vetting will ensure that you end up with high-quality and well-paying tenants, who will co-exist peacefully with other residents, and also take good care of your property. So how can you go about such a process? Here are practical steps to do it.

8 Tips for Screening Tenants

Define your ideal tenant

Naturally, as the owner, you will have a preference of the type of residents you want on the property. To be a great landlord, you need to take the time to clarify what qualities an ideal tenant must possess. For instance, they should; earn three times more than the rent amount, have a stable job, have no criminal background, and have above reproach landlord referrals. Such a description equips you with the perfect yardstick against which to assess the applicants.

Include your ideal tenant description in your listing

Contrary to what most landlords believe, effective tenant screening starts way before the application process. It should commence when you are crafting the vacancy advertisement or listing. As part of the message, you could include a brief description of the type of renter you want. By including a description, you deter prospects who do not fit the description from wasting your time. Besides, it increases the likelihood and speed of attracting suitable tenants.

Set up a formal application process

Even though stating in the listing what qualities you are searching for is critical, you further need to ask every interested candidate to fill out an application form. The document will help you to obtain valuable information such as the applicant’s legal names, social security number, driver’s license, ID or passport details, credit scores, as well as employment, tenancy, and criminal history. Through the form, you should also get the applicant’s permission to run background and credit checks, and even talk to his or her employer, landlords, and neighbors.

Conduct Credit and Background Checks

Most first-time owners make the mistake of trusting the information that tenants put on their application form. That is not advisable since renters tend to hide any information that might jeopardize their chances of getting the house. Hence, you need to take the investigation a notch higher by running a credit and background check. The credit check will reveal an applicant’s employment background, credit worthiness, rental history, and whether the person can indeed afford the rent. The background searches, on the other hand, helps to unveil a person’s identity, past, and criminal record. As a result, you will be in a position to make an educated choice.

Compare the Background and credit check findings with the candidate’s Application details

After conducting the investigations, you must compare what you find with the information that the applicant gave on the application. Such a move will help weed out those candidates who tried to hide incriminating info. After all, quality tenants will provide honest information, irrespective of whether it will negatively impact their application or not. If you discern any discrepancies between the two, it is best to disqualify such an applicant and save yourself from countless headaches once the tenant occupies the property.

Scrutinize the best applicants

Logically, after comparing the application details to the checks findings, your list of tenants will narrow down. You should then create time and talk to the candidate’s current and previous landlords, employer, and neighbors. It will help to ascertain whether an applicant was a good tenant who pays rent on time, can afford the rent, takes good care of the property, and gets along well with neighbors.

Interview the successful applicants

For you to identify the ideal tenants out of the successful ones, you should have a personal interaction with them. A practical and convenient approach is to interview those prospects over the phone to know them better. From such an interaction, you can determine whether you feel comfortable having such a person as a tenant.

Show them the rental agreement terms

The last and final stage of tenant screening should be to take the qualifying applicant through your lease contract terms. If he or she cannot abide by them or has reservations about them, then you are better off disqualifying such a candidate. Only settle for the one who agrees to your rental agreement terms.

Conclusion

While there is no such thing as a perfect tenant, such a screening process can significantly increase your chances of getting the best occupants for your property. Just make sure you do not break any of the Fair Housing regulations.

Spring Cleaning Doesn’t just Mean House Cleaning

Many homeowners are not aware of tax exemptions that may be owed to them. Particularly if they have recently purchased a home. Some thing s that can be included are energy efficient appliances, heaters, air conditioners, solar panels, and more. Fell free to give us a call.

March is a good time to change your water and air filters. It also helps to write the date of install on a disposable filter so you can easily remember when they need to be changed. It is also the perfect time to vacuum all your heat vents. Dust tends to accumulate on them without much notice. An ounce of a prevention can save you a bundle.

March is also a great time to have properly charged and working fire extinguishers in your home. Good places to keep them are kitchen, garage, near a fireplace or near your furnace. Most people don’t think they need them until they actually do and in a lot of cases there are none to be found or not found easily using costly damage that may have been able to be avoided.

Now is a great time to declutter your home. Pesky little critters like spiders like cardboard boxes and dark places. Replace any cardboard boxes with sealable plastic bins and label them properly for easy access. This also helps to keep your valuables safe from moisture as well as critters.

Cleaning your range hood filters and fan blades now will help you to remember to do it on a running cycle. This will help keep your home free of dust allergens and potential fire causing grease. Looking for a forever home? Visit us @ HNDRealty.com