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WHY do we work by referral?

by Lorna Calder

Referrals are one of the main sources of business when it comes to Real Estate. It is great to be able to service the needs of our client's friends and family, especially after we had such a great transaction with them! We LOVE to work with referrals.

 

 

We are committed to serving YOU!

We have made a commitment to work by referral to provide our clients with the BEST service whenever we are needed. A long-term relationship is so important to us, we want to be able to knock your socks off with what we can do more than just once!

 

These are a few ways that we can serve you.

  • When you need to be referred to capable service and trade professionals that are trusted like local lenders, legal professionals, pool service companies, roofers, contractors and so much more, just give us a call. We would be happy to give you a list of local vendors that our clients have used and that are recommended in the Real Estate Community. 
  • We can give you up to date information about the Market! It is every changing so dont hesitate to ask, it is part of what we love to do; staying on top of the key trends and local market statistics. 
  • Would you like to know what your home is worth? Would you like to know if those upgrades you want to do will bring true value? We would love to be your trusted advisor. 

 

YOU are important to us.

As our client, we want to make sure you know how much you and your business mean to us. Our primary source of new business is referrals from people who already know and respect the great work that we do. And we are always delighted to build our business by working with such wonderful people like you! Our goal is to impress you SO MUCH that you run to family and friends and tell them about the great experience you had with us. We want to be refreshing, knowledgeable and caring. 

 


 

Just give us a call with your friend or family member's name and number and we will gladly follow up and take great care of them! (281) 361-2280

 

Sincerely, 

The Lorna Calder Team

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. LGK  STARTER EREPORT SC

 

Are REALTORS® still needed to help Sell your home?

by Lorna Calder

 

Short answer, YES! If you're thinking about selling your home, don't do it alone! Although some sellers may initially try to sell their home themselves, they soon realize they need an experienced professional on their side to help them through the process. Here are 10 reasons you need a Real Estate professional to work for you!!

 

1. UNDERSTAND THE LOCAL MARKET

The internet gives you access to more information now than ever before. An experienced real estate professional, like me, is able to help you understand this information in the context of the local market and interpret what it means to sell your home. 

 

2. PRICE YOUR COME COMPETITIVELY

When you list your home, you want it to sell quickly and for top dollar. Having professional assistance will help you do both, especially in competitive markets. 

 

3. OPTIMIZE ONLINE MARKETING STRATEGIES

Buyers are savvier than EVER! To find the right buyer, we have to go where they are. We'll do more than put a sign in your yard to attract buyers; we'll utilize the latest online marketing tools to show your home at its best and entice buyers to learn more. 

 

4. TARGET THE RIGHT BUYERS

A marketing strategy means nothing if you're not targeting the right buyers. The first few weeks a house is on the market are vital. The longer a home remains on the market, the more likely a seller will have to reduce their listing price and/or offer incentives, such as a home warranty policy or assistance with closing costs, to attract buyers. A real estate pro has the experience and connections to find the right buyers for your home. 

 

5. GET MORE MONEY FOR YOUR HOME

All sellers want their homes purchased at the listed price, if not more. Studies show that enlisting the aid of an agent to sell your home will net you more money than trying to sell it yourself. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average for sale by owner (FSBO) sold $210,000 compared to an agent-assisted home sale which sold for $249,000.

 

6. NEGOTIATE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST

Buyers are looking for a deal on a home, and they'll hire an experienced agent to negotiate the sale for them. Having a real estate pro on your side will even the playing field and help you negotiate the terms of the sale with your best interest in mind. 

 

7. SPOT POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

Every real estate transaction is different. While we hope the transaction goes smoothly, setbacks and other hiccups often occur, and at the most inconvenient time. Sellers who have listed their homes themselves may not have the experience and know-how to deal with these issues as they arise; however, a real estate agent pro can tap into their experiences to handle potential problems, such as issues with a home inspection or problems with title, and mitigate their impact. 

 

8. OFFER TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME'S VALUE AND MAKE IT MORE ATTRACTIVE TO BUYERS

​Seller typically update their homes before they list. While some simply paint each room a neutral color and do a thorough cleaning, others may do a kitchen or bat h remodel to boost their home's value and/or help it sell faster in a competitive market. What should you do to boost your home's value and give it the competitive edge in our market? Ask me!

 

9. TAP INTO A NETWORK OF AGENTS

I work alongside other local real estate professionals, and have a database of thousands who may have clients looking for a home just like yours. Marketing your home to other agents is another way to help us find a qualified buyer. 

 

10. TAP INTO A RICH NETWORK OF SERVICE PROFESSIONALS

Real estate professionals work with a variety of service and tradespeople, including contractors, landscapers, movers and more. There is an average of 26 services involved in a real estate transaction in the 30 days before and after it has closed; however, you may need to tap into these services long after the ink has dried. From a plumber to a gardener, a real estate pro can refer you to a reputable trades person in your local area. 

 


 

 

Here is a PDF version of our Flyer with all of this information if you want to share!

 

 

 

 

 

© 2016 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JUNE MF S

What it takes to get your Home ready for Listing Photos!

by Lorna Calder

 

 

Let's get your Home marketed the best we can with these simple tips!

See below!

                                     

Below is a great comprehensive list for what a Seller can expect to be asked to do when it comes time for the Listing photos. We market your home with the utmost care and consideration. In turn we ask that you help us to get your Home seen as many times as we can by doing these simple things. 

 

Inside

General Areas of the House

  • Have all light bulbs working and turned on prior to the photographer’s arrival
  • Turn all fans off
  • Blinds down and open/window treatments pulled back
  • Hide pet related items including bowls, kennels, beds, toys, etc.
  • Place pets in a separate room or garage
  • Remove all seasonal decorations

Kitchen

  • Remove all magnets, photos, etc. from refrigerators
  • Hide garbages
  • Empty the sink and remove dish soap and cleaning supplies
  • Turn on lights above the sink, stove and under cabinets
  • Clear the kitchen counters, less is more

Bathroom

  • Hide all toiletries (shampoo/conditioners, soaps, toothbrushes, etc.)
  • Hide robes, dirty clothes and scales
  • Remove all rugs in the master bathroom

​​

Outside

  • Park vehicles away from the front of the house so they can’t be seen from inside the house
  • Absolutely no contractors can be working outside or inside the property at the time of the shoot
  • Mow grass and remove all debris from the sidewalks and driveways
  • Remove pet waste
  • Remove children’s toys including larger items such as trampolines, playhouses, sandboxes, etc.
  • Put garbage and recycling cans inside the garage
  • Roll up or store hoses
  • Hide any pet related items like chains, bowls, toys, etc.
  • Neatly arrange patio furniture
  • Remove and store pool cleaner, nets and chemical bottles
  • Cover or clean exterior of grills
  • Make sure water sprinklers do not run for two hours before (we need driveways and patios dry)
  • Remove all seasonal decorations

 

Twilight Photos

  • Park vehicles away from the front of the house
  • Turn all lights on inside and outside the house including pool and spa (no flood lights)
  • Turn all fans off on the inside and the outside of the house
  • Spa and water features on
  • Outdoor fire areas lit

 

Approximate times for photo shoots

Under 2,000 sq ft: 30 to 45 min
2,000 – 2,999 sq ft: 45 min
3,000 – 3,999 sq ft: 45 min to 1 hour
4,000 – 4,999 sq ft: 1 to 1.5 hours
5,000 – 5,999 sq ft: 1.5 to 2 hours
6,000 – 6,999 sq ft: 2 to 2.5 hours
7,000+ sq ft: 2 to 3 hours

 

When you are ready to put your home on the Market, please give us a call. We are ready to help you sell your home quickly and for the most money. With great photos, it will only make it easier! (281) 361-2280

Do you have a Plan for Disasters?

by Lorna Calder

 

More than 80% of Americans live in counties that have experienced a weather-related disaster.1  However, only 39% of Americans have created an emergency plan for their households.1  While it's almost impossible to predict when an emergency or natural disaster will occur, creating a plan may help keep your family safe in the event of one. The better prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be if you have to put your plan into action. 

 

KNOW THE RISKS

No matter where you live, your region may be susceptible to one or more emergency situations or weather hazards, including: earthquakes, wildfires, fooding, tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards. Although some of these events - like hurricanes - may provide some advanced warning, other - like earthquakes - are hard to predict. Most of these occurances may lead to extend power outages; however, if you live in an area where they are likely, having a plan will help you prepare for the next event. 

Other emergencies can happen at any time, such as a house or building fire. Common causes include faulty appliances, electrical components and smoking. In fact, cooking equipment was the cause of 45% of home structure fires from 2009-2013.

 

DECIDE ON AN EMERGENCY MEETING PLACE

Emergency situations are chaotic. In the midst of the confusion, it can be difficult to get in touch with loved ones. Decide on a meeting place with your family ahead of time to reduce some of the initial stress. Choose three locations: one in the neighborhood, one in your town and one out-of-town, and make sure everyone knows how to get there. Your safe area may vary depending on the emergency - for example, in the event of a tornado or hurricane, stay away from windows and take cover in an interior room of your home or building, on the lowest floor. 

 

MAKE A PLAN

Make a plan that outlines all the information you'll need to know in the event of an emergency. Not only will it help you get to a safe location, it'll also allow you to let your loved ones know you're safe.

1. Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Names and nicknames of each family memeber
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Names of doctors
  • Places of work
  • School

2. Plan a safe evacuation route

If you're home when an emergency occurs, you may have to evacuate with little to no notice. Select several safe evacuation routes, and make sure everyone is familiar with them. 

3. Assign roles

Have someone turn off the utilities, like water and electricity, while another person packs the important documents and another grabs pets. Giving everyone a responsibility will ensure nothing important is left behind. 

 

Check out the PDF link below for MANY ideas on how to prepare for any emergency, including how to plan for your Pet!

 

PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY - PDF

 

Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan to download an emergency plan template you can tailor to your family's needs!

 

©2016 Buffini & Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission. RMNK MAY MF S

 

 

 

Basic Home Improvements YOU can do to save money!

by Lorna Calder

 

Are the rise of water and energy costs taking a bite our of your wallet? Don't fret, there is hope! You may be able to save on your Utility Bills with these simple home improvements.


WATER

1. Go Low Flow - Low Flow faucets and shower heads can help reduce your water consumption. You may be able to cut usage by 50% and save as much as $145/year!

 

2. Fix Leaks - That seems like an easy one! These leaks will rack up some serious cash if not fixed immediately!

 

3. Go Tankless - Going tankless can be a great upgrade to help save on costs! And as a bonus you will never run out of hot water!


ENERGY

1. Rethink your insulation - You can reduce your cooling and heating by up to 20% with good insulation. 

 

2. Manage the temperature automatically - Imagine this; Coming home to a perfectly cooled or heated home...yes sounds wonderful and you can have this! A programmable thermostat will save you money and help keep you comfortable.

 

3. Seal up drafts - Does your home get hot in the summer and cold in the winter no matter what your thermostat is set to? This could be due to drafts around doors, windows and other openings in your home. Caulk it up and apply weather stripping where needed! Drafty windows and doors cause up to 30%-40% of heat and cooling loss!

 


You can download or open this PDF, BASIC HOME IMPROVEMENTS, to get more in depth percentages, numbers and solutions to help save YOU money!

You may miss out on Low Interest Rates if you wait...

by Lorna Calder

 

Waiting to Buy a Home? 

You May Miss Out on Low Interest Rates!

 

In December, the Federal Reserve raised the key interest rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%, the first rate increase in nearly a decade.1 While some experts expect the Fed to raise rates gradually this year, some economists expect rates to increase three or four more times this year.2 Increases are anticipated to amount to a quarter -point each time, and when they do occur are sure to impact mortgage rates.What's a homebuyer to do?

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY!

Quarter-point interest rate increases may not seem like a whole lot but it could mean the difference of hundreds of dollars!

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  • Narrow down your search criteria
  • Get hunting

 

Check out the image below or upload our PDF for more details on these bullet points and to gather more important information on why NOW is the time to buy!

1. CNN Money, December 16, 2015

2. The Guardian, January 6, 2015

                                                

Lorna Calder with The Lorna Calder Team in Kingwood, Texas has earned the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation in recognition of her experience, knowledge and expertise in the luxury home market. “Lorna Calder is an example of a real estate professional who has worked to develop market knowledge and the special skills and competencies necessary to provide exceptional service in the fine homes and estates marketplace,” said Institute President Laurie Moore-Moore, upon announcing Lorna’s designation. “Affluent buyers and sellers can turn to sales professionals who have this designation and be confident that they have special expertise and experience in the luxury home marketplace.”

 

“I am committed to providing outstanding service to my clients,” said Lorna “The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® designation is evidence of my ability to meet the needs of affluent buyers and sellers. My membership in The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing also provides me with marketing tools and networking capabilities that benefit my clients.”

 

Lorna Calder is an award-winning real estate professional who has gone through special training and met performance standards in the upper tier market. She has been in Real Estate since 2008 and specializes in the Kingwood and the surrounding area’s markets.

 

Lorna has also earned the Million Dollar Guild® for her extensive training in high end luxury markets. The million dollar+ transaction requires sophistication and knowledge over and above that of an average agent. Rather than selecting an agent who is using your transaction to learn, consider an experienced professional who not only has the credibility of the CERTIFIED LUXURY HOME MARKETING SPECIALIST® designation, but has also earned Million Dollar Guild® recognition. A smart choice. 

 

“Being an excellent Kingwood Texas Real Estate Agent and Realtor® - involves having integrity, in-depth community and knowledge of the real estate market in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble TX area. Marketing, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network are all valuable tools for any real estate professional and are all hallmarks of my real estate practice.
 

My focus as a KINGWOOD TX Realtor®, ATASCOCITA TX Realtor®, and HUMBLE TX Realtor® is about putting my clients first. This means staying accessible, listening to the needs of my clients and communicating in a way that is tailored to each client’s needs. Being able to respond quickly to client concerns is a core value of my real estate practice. Bringing forth both competence and caring ensures that I maintain a high level of client satisfaction. Staying on top of the latest real estate technologies allows me to extend the range and quality of services I provide to my clients in Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble Texas.
 

As a true professional, I am committed to continuing real estate education so that I am well positioned in the real estate community. As a Graduate of the Texas Realtor® University, I hold the GRI designation. I have specialized knowledge including legal issues, finance, marketing, real estate investments, professional standards and environmental law, and brokerage. Fewer than 10 percent of 90,000 Texas Realtors have earned their GRI designation. The association is dedicated to increased professionalism in the real estate industry and is affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.
 

 "The GRI designation is a mark of excellence that signifies the graduate is a cut above," said Dennis Patillo, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. "It represents the knowledge and professionalism needed to perform successfully in today’s complex real estate field."   
 

Buddy Wall, Broker of RE/MAX Associates Northeast in Kingwood added, "In today’s market, simply being a good agent is not enough. Lorna’s continued pursuit of educational excellence in her field coupled with her non-stop commitment to customer service singles her out "Above the Crowd".”

 

For current information on the upper tier market, contact Lorna Calder at The Lorna Calder Team of RE/MAX Northeast at 281-361-2280 or email Lorna at lorna@lornacalder.com.

 

The Lorna Calder Team

RE/MAX Northeast

2940 Oak Street

Kingwood, TX 77339

(281) 361-2280

lorna@lornacalder.com

www.LornaCalder.com

Buyers CAN help their Agents, here is how...

by Lorna Calder

 

Sure, buying a home is very exciting but there is a lot more than just home tours and paperwork! Your Agent is working tirelessly behind the scenes, day and night, week and weekend to make sure you are getting a great home, for a great price and checking off as much as they can on your "Must Have" list.

 

Here are a few things that YOU as the Buyer can do to help make your Agent's job a bit easier. 

 

1. Try not to get too caught up in aesthetics.

Many items that may bother you as the Buyer are easily fixed! Don't sweat the small stuff, remember that your Agent can always negotiate repairs and the price of the home but most of the things that you want done, can be done in a weekend! Try to look at it in a more positive way, "yes, there are a few things that I would like to have done BUT this home is in the perfect neighborhood and for a great price!" Sometimes separating "wants" from "needs" helps.

 

2. Being too focused on the money can hurt your experience.

Of course money is a very important part of the buying process, we get that but exhausting all of your thoughts on the financial aspect will hinder your ability to focus on anything else. The Seller doesn't always accept the highest offer, most often they will accept the best offer which is a combination of price and terms. Sometimes a Buyer's financial qualifications come into the decision making process as well, for example; cash buyer versus FHA buyer.  You really need to trust your Agent when it comes to structuring a good offer that combines the right mix of timing, price and reasonable contingencies. 

 

3. Don't sit on it too long!

If you're in love with it, you haven't found anything like it, you can't live without it, MAKE AN OFFER. In this market it is VERY important to make an offer if you find the "right one". Houses don't sit long and before you know it the house you fell in love with has been sold to someone else! Not fun.

 

4. Talking to the Listing Agent...probably not a good idea!

The Selling Agent is there to get the most money for the SELLER not the BUYER. For example when calling a Listing Agent on a property, a buyer many sometimes share details about their situation, scenario, possible relocation and financial qualifications that the Listing Agent is duty bound to share with their client who is the Seller. This places the Buyer in a disadvantageous negotiating position. It's best to leave this communication to your Buyer's Agent, they've got this!

 

5. Low-balling offers is a no no!

Take this for instance: The seller declines the first offer and the buyer then makes another unreasonable offer. This is going to frustrate the Seller, cost the Buyer the house and tie up the Buyer Agent's time on a home in which the offer will be refused. Please listen carefully to your Agent, they know best what Sellers likely will and won't accept. After all, you hired them for a reason, they are pretty good at their job!

 

Source: "7 things Buyers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate," realtor.com® (Jan. 18, 2016)

We're Breaking Records Over Here! How you ask?...

by Lorna Calder

 

 

Texas broke Real Estate records last year!


They say everything is bigger in Texas, Real Estate is no exception...In fact, statewide home sales and prices reached an all-time high last year according to the latest Texas Quarterly Housing Reports released 2/1/2016 by the Texas Association on REALTORS®.

 

For the first time in history annual home sales exceeded 300,000, with more than 309,000 Texas homes sold in 2015!

 

"Texas has enjoyed four straight years of booming real estate growth and record-high housing demand," said Texas Association of REALTORS® Chairman Leslie Rouda Smith.


Check out this info-graphic with statewide data, and download the full report to see data for 25 markets across Texas. 

Information & content sourced from Texas Association of Real Estate

It's Time to File for Your Homestead Exemption!

by Lorna Calder

Good morning to all, I have some great news for those of you who purchased a home in 2015! You are now eligible for a Homestead Exemption.

 

Basically a Homestead Exemption helps you save on taxes on your home. An exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your taxes. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth only $80,000.

 

Harris County – Residential Homestead Exemption Form

Harris County – Disabled Veteran or Survivor Exemption Form

Montgomery County - Residential Homestead Exemption Form

Montgomery County - Disabled Veteran or Survivor Exemption Form

 

What Kinds of Homestead Exemptions Are Available for Harris County?

 

§  School taxes — all homeowners.  If you qualify for the homestead exemption, you will receive at least a $15,000 homestead exemption on the value of your home for school district taxes.

 

§  County taxes — all homeowners.  Harris County currently provides a 20% optional homestead exemption to all homeowners. This means, for example, that if your home is valued at $100,000, the exemption will reduce its taxable value for Harris County taxes by $20,000 to $80,000.

 

§  Optional exemptions — all homeowners.  Any taxing unit, including a school district, city, county or special district, may offer an exemption for up to 20% of your home’s value. The amount of an optional exemption can’t be less than $5,000, no matter what the percentage is. For example, if your home is valued at $20,000 and your city offers a 20% optional exemption, your exemption is $5,000, even though 20% of $20,000 is just $4,000.The governing body of each taxing unit decides whether it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other homestead exemption for which the applicant qualifies.

 

Application Deadlines for HARRIS COUNTY

 

You should file your regular residential homestead exemption application between January 1 and April 30. Early applications will not be accepted. If your application is postmarked by April 30, this will allow the district time to process it before your tax statement comes out in the fall. If you miss the April 30th deadline you can still apply:

For a general exemption: up to one year after the date taxes became delinquent for the year (usually February 1 of the year following the tax year).

For an over-65 or disabled person: if you turn 65, become totally disabled, or acquire a property during the year, you can apply and have the over-65 or disability exemption activated for that year. The deadline to apply for an over-65 or disabled person’s exemption for the year in which you qualify is the first anniversary of the date you qualify. In other words, you have one year from the date you qualify to apply. For example:

 

1.      If you are already qualified and you purchase a different home, you have one year from the date you occupy the new home to apply.

2.     If you turn 65 during the year, you have until your 66th birthday to apply for the year in which you turn 65.

3.     If you become disabled during the year, you have one year from the date you became disabled to apply.

 

Otherwise, the deadline for applying for the over-65 or disability exemption is the same as the deadline given above.

 

For more information regarding Harris County Homestead Exemptions – Visit HCAD

 

 

If you have purchased in Montgomery County, please visit click this link to MCAD, for further information on available Exemptions and Deadlines

 

You can also call our Christina Terry at our office, 281-348-3081, for more information!

 

All information has been pulled from the following sources;

http://www.hcad.org/Resources/Exemptions/Homeowners.asp

http://www.mcad-tx.org/html/homestead.html

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