Another Guest post

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Aug• 25•15

Why A Property Inspection Is Essential and What To Look Out For

Purchasing a new property can be great fun and an incredibly rewarding experience, whether you are buying it for yourself or merely for investment purposes. However, there are some not-so-fun aspects to buying real estate that we do not like to think about and one of these things is a property inspection.

home inspection

A Property Inspection is a crucial element in the process that cannot be overlooked. Having a property inspection conducted can potentially save you loads of money in the long run. Here’s why a property inspection is essential and what you should be looking out for…

A good property inspection confirms the true condition of the property before purchase, determines if there is anything that needs to be fixed and uncovers any serious problems with the property. Problems can be anything and can range from cracks in the foundations, mold and mildew, rising damp, roof leaks, cracks in the walls, etc. Being aware of these problems up front ensures that you have an idea of the cost of repairs before committing to buying the property.

If you are considering buying the property as an investment and there is repair work to be done, you will need to factor these costs in to your rental income and possibly determine if it is actually worth purchasing the property in the first place.

investing on real estate

If you are wondering who conducts property inspections, try calling a reputable property inspector and preferably one who holds certification in the field of property inspection. The easiest way to find a good inspector is to ask for a referral from your realtor or a fellow investor. If you don’t succeed down this road, another simple way is to consult Yelp. People are known for their brutally honest reviews on this forum so you are bound to find a good property inspector in your area with Yelp.

Any good property inspector will make use of a property inspection app like while thoroughly conducting the inspection, so the inspection should not take long at all. Your inspection will therefore be a painless but worthwhile experience. We highly recommend it!

Why the Property Tax Rate of Your Neighborhood Really Does Matter

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Apr• 28•15

By Jane Blanchard

An assessment is a tool of the local government to figure out how much you should pay in property taxes. But does your assessment match the assessment of others in your neighborhood?


4 Parts of the Assessment

The appraisal – Current fair market value usually determines an assessor’s appraisal.

The assessment rate or ratio – The assessment rate is the difference between the market value of the home and the assessor’s appraisal value. Typically, it’s a number determined by the total market value of the locality.

The assessed value – By multiplying the appraisal by the assessment rate, the assessor will come up with the assessed value.

The tax rate or mill levy – The tax rate starts with an estimation of how much a locality thinks it needs for the year. The mill levy is what you get when you divide those estimates by the total value of all properties in the area.

The assessor takes the appraisal amount, and multiples it by the assessment rate. The resulting value, multiplied by the tax rate, is your annual property tax.

Discrepancies with the Appraisal

It’s possible the assessor based your assessment on old criteria. For example, if the local housing market was really swinging a year before you purchased, but it’s stagnated since, you need to know your assessment didn’t ride on the previous year’s numbers.

The opposite is also true. If you purchase your home at one price, then the market drops and now your house isn’t worth that price anymore, then you may need a reassessment.

Check on the market values of homes similar to yours in the neighborhood. You can search for them online along with how much each pays in property taxes. With that information, you can figure out around how much they were assessed for by the town.

Discrepancies with the Assessment

Your assessment can contain miscalculations, outright mistakes, and misinformation. Pore over it point by point and investigate each of those points.

For example, the assessment might have a space listed as a full bedroom when it’s only just a glorified walk-in closet. It may state the property is far larger in square footage than it actually is. Look out for things like these and take notes.

Property Taxes Icon

What to Do With the Information

Gather all of your documentation, and everything possible that supports your claim. Get in contact with your assessor’s office. Ask, politely, what you can do about discrepancies with your assessment. Some locales will let you meet with an assessor. Some others require you to file a formal complaint.

You may have to go through a process, and it’s important that you do it right. If your evidence is strong, and you follow the rules, you can have your property taxes lowered. Just know that it’s more of an uphill battle in some places.

For more tips and tricks, head to

Great Article from Bt Home inspections here in Memphis

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Apr• 07•15

closet 1I get these guys monthly news letter and this month there was an article that I thought was definitely worth sharing with all of you.

here it is for you.

and if you’d like to visit their page you can also read the article here at


Clothes Closet Lighting
closet 2
People don’t often think about the fire risks posed by the light in their clothes closet, but it’s one of the few places in the house where a source of high heat can get too close to flammable materials. Lighting must be installed safely with adequate separation from clothes, boxes and other flammables stored in the closet. Additionally, the quality of the light, as well as bulb efficiency, will influence your lighting choices.
closet 3
The minimum distance between luminaires installed in clothes closets and the nearest point of a storage area shall be as follows:

1. Surface-mounted incandescent or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source shall be installed on a wall above the door or on the ceiling, provided that there is a minimum clearance of 12 inches (305 mm) between the fixture and the nearest point of a storage space.

2. Surface-mounted fluorescent luminaires shall be installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling, provided that there is a minimum clearance of 6 inches (152 mm).

3. Recessed incandescent luminaires or LED luminaires with a completely enclosed light source shall be installed in the wall or the ceiling, provided that there is a minimum clearance of 6 inches (152 mm).
4. Recessed fluorescent luminaires shall be installed in the wall or on the ceiling, provided that there is a minimum clearance of 6 inches (152 mm) between the fixture and the nearest point of storage space.
closet 4
5. Surface-mounted fluorescent or LED luminaires shall be permitted to be installed within the storage space where identified within this use. Also, metal pull chains may be dangerous; if the base cracks, the chain can become electrified.

CRI is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully, in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. The closer the CRI of a lamp is to 100, the more “true” it renders colors in the environment. Poor CRI is the reason that a shirt and pants that seemed to match at home now clash in the restroom at work. For clothes closets lighting, the CRI should be as high as possible. Incandescent lights are inefficient but they have a CRI of 100, making them the most aesthetic lighting choice. Compact fluorescents lights (CFLs) are far more efficient and have a longer life than incandescent bulbs, but they have a CRI in the low 60s, making them a poor choice for clothes closet applications. Low-voltage halogen and LED lights are relatively efficient, long-lasting, and have a high CRI, although not as high as incandescent bulbs. In summary, homeowners should replace lighting in their clothes closets if the light has the potential to ignite flammable materials in the closet.

by Nick Gromicko

6 Acts to Avoid When Buying a Home

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Mar• 26•15

6 Acts to Avoid When Buying a HomeBuying a home can be one of the most exciting events in a person’s life. Just imagine living in a house that you call yours. Nothing will surely beat that achievement. However, buying a house can be daunting as well. This is especially true if you have committed mistakes during the searching and buying process.

What are these mistakes? Here they are…

1. Being Unprepared

Just thinking of the scope of task included in purchasing a home, it is surprising that many people do not do a comprehensive research to know their purchasing power. As always, it is sensible to know your financial capacity before you even hunt for a home. A lot of people do not take time to know this and simply waste their precious time in searching for houses that they cannot actually afford. Remember, sellers are not interested in buyers who do not have mortgage pre-approval.

2. Failure to Use an Agent

A lot of people begin the process of home buying by simply shopping around the neighborhood and look for houses for sale signs, get the number on the sign or visit an open house. The process of home buying can be difficult and mistakes can happen, so buyers must strive to have a real estate agent. What might be difficult for a buyer can be a piece of cake to a professional agent, and he or she knows what to do and when to inform a buyer if something out of the ordinary happens. The agent will also help in assessing the fair market value to avoid overpayment on the part of the buyer.

3. Waiting Very Long

Buying residential real estate is not something that should be considered very lightly. The real estate market is not stable and can dramatically change. Also, interest rates can increase while the buyers are wandering around. Although it is luring to explore everything even when they have already seen their dream house, that house may no longer be available after they have finished looking around.

4. Failure to do a Neighborhood Research

Your dream home can turn out to be nightmare when you find out that it is locate in an unsecured locality. Relevant facts concerning the neighborhood such as community activities, schools, crimes, etc. should be researched well prior to deciding to purchase a house in any community.

5. Concentrating on One Feature

Buyers who investigate at every house with little impression often overlook better possible worth of the house. Sometimes, buyers are easily caught by decorating features, get engrossed on controlled appeal or strictly focus on the price. These features can quickly be altered or negotiated and buyers can overlook a better deal if they become overly fixated on one feature of the house and decide not to buy it.

6. Expensive Home Price

There are times that lenders are likely to over qualify a purchaser for a house they cannot afford to constantly make regular payments. Buyers must be careful not to take a loan that is already beyond his/her means.

Things to Do Before Moving Into a New Home

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Jun• 20•14

Jaime-Osborn-Can-help-you-be-prepared-to-buy-a-new-homeWhen buying a new home we need to still pay attention to our new home. There are a few tasks that need to be done before you move on, such as the following:

• Changing the locks on your exterior doors as soon as possible. Although the closing of the deal may be done and you have the keys, you would be a lot safer if you have a locksmith drop by to replace all the locks with new ones just in case. The previous owners and realtors likely still have a key to your place, so it would be in your best interest to change those locks, even if you are on great terms with all of them. Its the sensible thing to do and it would greatly increase the overall security of your home.

• You should get the house cleaned regardless of how you found it. In many cases there may be areas that were overlooked by the previous owners, so you will need to work on it. You can either do this yourself or hire a cleaning company to get the job done for you. Whatever the case, you should make sure you get everything taken care of. You will need your cleaning supplies for that of course, so stock up and make sure you clean your cabinets, plumbing fixtures, counters and other areas that need attention, such as the walls and ceilings if you must.

• You will possibly need to repaint some walls and ceilings as well. Since this is pretty time-consuming and you may simply be too busy to get it done yourself, then you may need some professional paint. This is especially important if you managed to buy your place cheap, but it has some minor cosmetic damage such as cracks and other defects. Unless you have help and experience working on such matters, you may want to work with a contractor for such things. You should consider neutral colors if you’re not sure what you want to pick, as they will make it much easier to deal with and will last a long time without getting in the way of your senses.

• You need to get some organizers if you want to keep things in order. A lot of the older homes out there have closets that have a single shelf and a pole and that’s pretty much it. You can check different stores for alternatives to such a simple setup. They will give you options for closets and how you can fit things in there in a better way. You will also need to address the other items apart form the ones that go in your closet. Your seasonal clothes, boots and other things will also need a good place, whether its a wardrobe or a similar solution.

• Install some new switch plates around your home if they are in need of a change. The same goes for vent covers and other small aspects of your home. It will take a little bit of work, but when you’re done your home will look exactly as you wanted it to be with nothing but a simple fix.
For more cleaning ideas you can contact: Domestic Cleaning Chiswick.

Home Buying Guide for Single Women

Written By: Jaime Osborn - May• 29•14

Home Buying Guide for Single WomenDepending on our priorities, each woman’s life may develop in radically different directions, as our expectations may also vary greatly. Things in most cases follow a certain order for a woman: we finish school, getting a good job, maybe getting married, buying a nice home and having a chance to raise kids. Traditions are a wonderful thing, but not everyone’s life takes the same turn and the same sequence of events. There are more than a few ways a woman can move in life, and this goes in several directions. One thing most of us would agree upon is that a home of our own is desirable in any situation. This is a serious investment however, which requires a good bit of preparation if you want to succeed:

• Budget and Costs
This is the first thing you need to keep in mind when you’re getting ready. Most people often fall to the oversight of the extra expenses that surround a purchase of that kind, as there are more expenses than simply buying it. Make sure you aim slightly below the maximum amount of money you’re willing to give so you can have a safe margin around what you can afford.

• Credit Score Importance
You will need to use a loan to get yourself on your way toward a new home and this is where your credit score will be of the utmost importance. Most of us don’t simply have the resources to buy one at the ready and waiting in the bank, so a loan is a necessary evil that allows us to approach the issue in a more controlled, long-term way. Depending on your credit score the brokers will usually have options that work with different scores, so you don’t need to worry if yours is not exactly stellar.

• Real Estate Agents
Unless you have experience with real estate or a friend that works in it, you will find it difficult to find a good place without help. Real estate agents will greatly help in the long run, as you have a chance to find a greater range of properties you would not be able to reach any other way. You will need a good bit of information concerning the market and this is where a real estate agent will be of great use.

• Aim smaller
You would do well to aim for a cheaper home than the maximum amount you can afford, as you will have a far easier time managing your mortgage if you do so. Check out any possible expenses you will need to deal with, such as utilities, maintenance and taxes and you will get a better understanding so you can budget well.

• The choice
In the end your choices will greatly dictate your future, so consider the advantages and disadvantages of what you plan on choosing. Location, security and other benefits are all valid concerns, so don’t underestimate them.
For more moving tips you can contact: Balham Man with a Van Hire

The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer Tips

Written By: Jaime Osborn - May• 04•14

I keep coming across these great infographics from Marketleader! I love this one, and since my last few posts have been about home buying 101…… I thought it fit in perfectly…. Cheers!

Click here to read a list of more homebuyer tips

Home buying 101 cont’d

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Apr• 29•14

I was recently passed this info graphic and thought it was a prefect description of the process that all buyers really need to go through to determine if they are in fact actually ready to purchase a home!

Are you ready to become a homeowner? Find out here!

House-Hunting 101: Four Tricks To A Smooth And Manageable House-Hunting Tour

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Apr• 23•14

House-hunting can be physically, emotionally and financially stressful. Your feet can get tired from endless walking, going from one house to another and inspecting the ins and outs of the compound. It can be an emotional and financial struggle too having to weigh the pros and cons of each and every property you visit, assess which is closest to your idea of a dream home and compare the budget with the listing price.

How To Have A Smooth And Manageable House-Hunting Tour
Aside from following etiquette, there are some items that you should likewise do during the house-hunting tour. The following tricks are guaranteed to make your trip smoother and more manageable.

1. Dress appropriately. Regardless if it’s a condo, an apartment or a two-story house and lot in a city, chances are, sooner or later, you are bound to visit distant places or view two houses or more in one day. It only makes sense then to dress comfortably so you can move around with ease. Footwear matters a lot so make sure that you choose something that is easy to take on and off in case the current homeowner brings you to a shoeless zone. For women, keep away from high heels and opt for flat shoes instead. Bring extra slippers so your feet can rest when not on tour. For men, wear your best socks.

2. Avoid carrying food and drinks. Leave them on the car. Do remember that accidents happen all the time. You never know, your drinks may spill or you may leave sandwich crumbs inside the residence you’re visiting. Plus, it is quite disrespectful to act as if you already own the property and eat anytime you want. The homeowner deserves some courtesy.

3. Make the trip a fun experience for your children. There are instances when your kids would want to tag along to see the house for themselves. In situations like this, set some ground rules first and afterwards, get them involved. Give them tasks to perform – putting smileys on your notes if they like one particular room or sad faces if they don’t. Bring a companion who can accompany them when they get bored. Offer diverse entertainment – their favorite games and toys, portable DVD player or audio books.

4. Carry a notebook and a camera. Notebook is for taking notes while camera is for capturing the front view of the home. To be on the safe side, consult the realtor or the person who hosts the viewing if taking pictures are allowed. Another alternative is to take a commentary video so you can easily keep track of the plus and negative points of the residence you just recently visited.

When is the wrong time to Lease purchase a home

Written By: Jaime Osborn - Mar• 08•14

what-is-a-rent-to-own-image-with-textSince My company sponsors a credit program, I wanted to take a few posts to talk about lease purchasing a home. I think the topic is pretty important in the Memphis area since Lease purchasing a home seems to be so popular here. First let me explain to you that lease purchasing a home is merely glorified renting up until the time in which you actually purchase the home. Sometimes the terms of a lease purchased home are slightly better than what you can get renting the home, but both situations almost always end up with the same result……. with the buyer / renter moving out with nothing to show for it.
The city of Memphis has almost double the average percentage of non owner occupied properties than most major metro areas. This gives the perfect environment for investors to lease purchase a home to someone who really has no hopes of actually buying the home. Since the major difference between lease purchasing and buying a home really entails a large non refundable down payment given at the beginning of the lease instead of a security deposit which is given back at the end of the lease (the property being in the same conditions as it was at move in of course) this actually allows the investors to make a larger profit with often times less risk. This is a practice that is seen all over town, and in all price ranges. From fifty thousand dollar properties to half million dollar homes, you can always find some investor ready to lease purchase a home instead of rent it out.
Since the title of this post is, when is the wrong time, I’ll focus on that. The answer to that questions is almost always. There are only a few good reasons to lease purchase a home. The wrong reasons are abundant. The number one time when it is a bad idea to lease purchase is “when you want to buy a house but don’t want to wait to do it the right way.” no-credit-check-bannerThis is usually the reason most people lease purchase a house. They have the down payment now and even though they know it would be better to wait, and get their credit in order,they want it now, not a year from now or six months from now, but NOW. This is just the worst way to buy a home, and almost always ends up with the buyer losing the down payment.
The second worst time to lease purchase a home is when you are under a time limit to be out of your current place and you can’t find exactly what your looking for in a rental so you just decide that buying a home would be better than renting anyway. Right? Then you make a hasty decision and choose a home that isn’t right for you. but it’s yours (or so you think) Then when the time comes to actually purchase the home, you are happy to give up your down payment and move on to something better suited for you, which is what you should have done in the first place anyway.
As you can tell I’m not a big fan of lease purchasing a home as a buyer/renter….. Of course for an investor this is great, you get a renter that will gladly give you a few thousand bucks as a non refundable down payment and as an added bonus they act like the house is actual theirs and take significantly better care of it than a normal renter does. In fact the only down side that you get as an investor is that you normally have to accept someone as a renter that has worse credit than average, but the extra money you get to keep as a down payment usually makes up for the added risk of that.
Oh I almost forgot the worst part about making the decision to lease purchase a home. That is the fact that most of the homes are over priced, and there is such a short supply of available homes.
All in all Lease purchasing a home is almost always a terrible idea, although in a few situations in can be good and I’ll discuss that in my next post.

remember if you are in the market for homes for sale in the Memphis area click on the contact me page and let’s connect to see how I can help you!