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Sept. 2, 2021

Experience Matters When Negotiating Multiple Offers

Experience Matters When Negotiating Multiple Offers on a Home

Mary is a friend of mine who I just sold a home to.  After working at Erlanger Hospital for 20 years, she told me that she "wanted something to show for all of her work."  Mary wanted to buy a home, but she was a first time home buyer who was having a hard time getting to an accepted offer during multiple offer situations.  She called me after she had worked with an agent for several months who was not meeting with her fast enough to make offers on homes and who did not know how to make the contract as "skinny" on the extra costs to the seller as possible in order to get an accepted offer.  She was frustrated and had been home shopping for homes since early Spring (it's now September).

Mary had some of the odds stacked against her.  The type of loan she was using sometimes requires repairs to be made, which sellers do not want to do if they do not have to.  She also was not a cash buyer who could waive the appraisal.  She was not in a place to waive the inspection, like some buyers have been doing lately. 

At times when I was representing home sellers in other sales, I saw contracts that escalated the sales price by $2,000 over of the best offer, but then asked the seller to pay for $2,000 worth of title policies for the buyer.  That buyer's agent complained to me that he was not able to get any of his buyer's offers accepted all Spring.  I suggested that he change that practice of asking the seller to pay for the buyer's title policies.  If your agent does not know how to draw up a net proceeds of the sale sheet for you, that agent will not be able to lead you to an offer that will be accepted by a seller. Chattanooga's real estate market is competitive with really low inventory, and you have to make your offer ask for the least amount of concessions as possible in order to buy a home in a multiple offer situation.

Mary closed on her home this week.  A few hours after the closing, she called me.  I though, "Ut oh, what's going on?"  I stepped away from what I was doing and answered her call.  She then told me how clean the house was.  She also told me that the buyer left the refrigerator, that the buyer said she was going to take with her.  It ended up that Mary went to her new home, and she started crying tears of joy.  Then Mary thanked me for helping her get her new home.  Her gratitude made this one of my favorite sales of 2021. 

The moral of the story is that you need an experienced Chattanooga Realtor to help you buy a home right now, not the brand new buyer's agent who called you after you gave Zillow your information.  Call the Chattanooga Realtor who can lead you to a successful home purchase.  Call Nathan Walldorf at 423-544-7700.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 7, 2021

The Difference that Staging a Home to Sell Makes

The Difference that Staging a Home to Sell Makes

I put a home on the market for a good friend of mine and an investor for less than 24 hours before I told her that we could get more money for the home without it looking like a bachelor pad and with it staged.  She agreed to take the home off the market, to let the ten tenants find a new home, and to pay $1,300 for staging.   We were able to put the home back on the market and sell it for $20,000 more than what it would have sold for looking like a bachelor pad.  Take a look at the transformation.  Staging pays off even if you don't hire professionals and simply clean up, pick up, and pack up before selling your home.  Home buyers needs to be able to imagine themselves  in your home with today's style of furniture. 


Posted in Selling Your Home
April 15, 2021

What's Best for You When Selling Your Home? Part 2

What's Best for You When Selling Your Home? Part 2

In part 1, we looked at presenting, pricing, and marketing your home professionally as being key to getting you multiple offers on your Chattanooga home.  We also looked at the value of having a professional presentation and at the value of having professional help to interpret your multiple offers.

Today we'll look at 3 other unprofessional pitfalls in selling your Chattanooga home

1) Don't fall for the agent who offers to throw your house in Facebook for you, and see if they can get you a bight.  You may get 1 bight, but you may miss the rest of the market that is dying to buy your home.  That one Facebook bight could cost you the chance to have multiple offers and a sale above the price you are asking in today's Chattanooga real estate market

2) Don't become one of those "MLS only" listings.  If you pay a Realtor less money to simply put your home in the MLS for you, you miss out on all of the professional guidance that you would have along the way when you receive offers, negotiate those offers, negotiate repairs after an inspection of your home, managing your transaction from start to finish, and negotiating your appraisal.  That "MLS only" listing agent will give you no help with this process, because they aren't being paid to give you that help.  Did you know that Realtors have to work extra hard today to make sure your Chattanooga home appraises for the contract price?

The scary thing is that only a few excellent agents, like the Walldorfs, are presenting appraisers with a packet to help the property appraiser for the contract price.  I sold one of these "MLS only" listings, and the seller had no idea what was going on.  His agent collected paperwork for his file but did nothing else for his seller.  It was sad to see that he had no one helping him negotiate or helping him to keep his side of the sale on track.

3) Don't set sail without a captain.  You wouldn't set off to sail around the world without an experienced captain.  Why set off to sell your home without an experienced professional? 

One thing I have found about myself is that I am a leader and an innovator.  I use my innovation and creativity to be sure a home looks its best when it goes up for sale.  For some reason, God has made me a leader.  Everywhere he drops me, I seem to end up in a leadership role in that community.  Part of what I love to do as a Realtor is lead people through their home sale or purchase.  I like making people's Chattanooga home purchase or Chattanooga home sale as smooth as I can for them.  I love to help them solve problems and reach the best agreement possible.  Call me, Nathan Walldorf, to sell your Chattanooga home at 423-544-7700.  Get industry leading and innovative real estate service.


Posted in Selling Your Home
April 9, 2021

What's Best for You When Selling Your Chattanooga Home? Part 1

What's Best for You When Selling Your Home?

You will have many options today when you think about selling your Chattanooga home.  You can throw it on Zillow using a Zetimate to guide your asking price (that is self-admittedly up to 20% off).  You can sell by owner.  You can do an MLS listing only.  Finally, you can sell your home with a professional Realtor.  What is the value of Realtor anyway?

You want to put your best foot forward when you sell your Chattanooga home.  Part of receiving multiple offers on your home today is how well the home is presented and staged.  If your home looks really sharp on-line, you will have people falling all over themselves to see your home and hopefully get multiple offers.  Multiple offers means a higher sales price for you.  The last thing you want in this great Chattanooga real estate market is to let one person that you know into the home and only have that one person to negotiate with.  A client of mine was able to turn down an offer that was lower than the asking price, because we created so much activity around the house.  What you think you will save in not paying a commission, you will actually get back and more with a good Chattanooga Realtor doing professional marketing for you.

Most people who sell a home by owner either leave money on the table or out price the market.  A 20% margin of error in pricing is $40,000 on a $200,000 home.  Do you want to get $40,000 less than what your home is worth because of a Zestimate or pay a professional somewhere around $12,000 and probably get $50,000 to $60,000 more than you would have on your under priced home?

What if you get multiple offers selling your Chattanooga home by owner?

Will you know how to break down those offers and evaluate the terms of each offer?

We put a nice duplex on the market recently and had 8 offers in less than 24 hours.  More offers came later, but those offers were too late.  We helped our client look at 12 different terms in the contract to truly evaluate which offer was the best.  It ended up that the highest price offer being contingent upon an appraisal was actually going to net the seller less money in the end all than an offer that was slightly lower but was not contingent upon an appraisal.  Would you be able to pick the terms of a contract apart and see which one is the best value for you?

Get professional help to make the most money off of your Chattanooga home sale.  Call Chattanooga Realtor, Nathan Walldorf, at 423-544-7700.

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 5, 2021

Housing in Biden's Infrastructure Proposal

President Biden's Infrastructure Proposal includes plans to "build and rehabilitate more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income home buyers." The White House called it "a pathway for more families to buy a home and start building wealth."  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) thanked President Biden saying the following; "NAR thanks President Biden and his administration for recognizing that housing represents a critical piece of our nation's overall infrastructure. While a lack of inventory and rising prices continue to limit opportunities for homeownership – especially for younger Americans and minority populations – policies that support nationwide housing affordability are now more important than ever."

Broadband internet expansion is also a part of President Biden's Infrastructure Proposal.  As many Americans are now working from home due to the pandemic, it is crucial that Americans have access to broadband internet.  On a state of Tennessee level, Realtors have pushed legislators to continue to expand broadband throughout the state as well.  Most home buyers require good internet availability as part of their home search right now. 

The President of NAR, Charlie Oppler, ended his statement of thanks to the President saying, "We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to ensure these proposals are funded responsibly while continuing to promote additional housing inventory,"


Call Nathan Walldorf to buy or sell your home at 423-544-7700.

Posted in Market Updates
March 24, 2021

Active First Quarter in Chattanooga Real Estate

Active 1st Quarter of 2021 in Chattanooga Real Estate
The Chattanooga real estate market in the first quarter of 2021 was great as Chattanooga continues to gain national notoriety as a great city to work from home.  Tennessee was Uhaul's number 1 growth state for one way truck rentals coming into the state in 2020.  The low inventory of homes that we have for sale in the Multiple Listing Service supports this fact.  As of March 23rd, there were only 664 homes available for sale.  In mid-March, the number of homes for sale in Chattanooga was down by 65.4% from 1 year ago.  The newly listed Chattanooga homes for sale are down by 8.2%.  The low inventory has lead to homes selling very close to their asking price if not over their asking price (most homes are selling for more than the asking price right now).  The percent of the original list price that people are receiving in February was 99%.  The average days that a home is on the market right now is only 39 days. The median sales price for Chattanooga homes was up by 10.4% in February.  The market has been very active in the first quarter of 2021 with home buyers waiting for homes to come on the market like what they are looking for.  It is a great time to sell a home. Call Chattanooga Realtor, Nathan Walldorf, to help you find a home. 423-544-7700

Posted in Market Updates
March 23, 2021

How to Invest in Real Estate

How to invest in real estate

My wife and I have invested in Chattanooga real estate for the past 8 years.  I have also helped many investors buy investment property that still makes them money today.  These are some of my tips on how to invest in real estate.

    1.    It’s all about the numbers. If you are buying a property to rent it (sometimes called fix and hold or buy and hold) you have to be sure the monthly rent will be more than the monthly expenses to hold the proper so you have some profit. If you are making $200 or more a month after all expenses on a rental, you are doing well.
    2.    Obviously if you are buying a property to remodel and resell it (fix and flip), you have to be able to to fix the property and sell it for more than the amount money that you have in it.
    3.    Consider commission, cost to remodel, and how much you want to make off of the remodel (how much you want to be paid for your work), the cost of insuring the property while you own it, and be sure there is enough profit in the property.
    4.    Do you want multi-family or single family? With multi family you will make $ on the rent collected and not as much on appreciation of the property over time. You also will typically have at least 1 side of a property making money even if the other side is vacant. With a single family home, you should make sure you will still make money off of the rent than what it cost to hold the property, but you should also reap the greatest profit when you re-sell the home down the line. Obviously, the less expensive the house is the better the return that you get. The flip side is the worse the area the worse the tenant will be (most likely).  Think about the kind of tenant you want when you choose to buy a property.  You want the tenant who pays the rent and does not destroy your property.

    5.    Make sure that you have a lease agreement and a way to check a potential tenant's credit.
    6.    Lastly, if you decide to be a landlord, please remember that you cannot decide to not rent to someone based on race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, familial status, and disability. If you do that, you could end up in a large law suite. If you can’t do that, hire a property manager to rent the property for you or don't get in the rental business at all.

Nathan Walldorf has a system to help you set up your rental property business.  Call him and see how he can help you. 423-544-7700

March 8, 2021

How to buy a home in a low inventory market

1) If you notice a home that you like, look at it right away with your Realtor.

2) If you are out of town, have your Realtor do a FaceTime tour of the home.

3) The fewer contingencies the better. If you load your contract up with contingencies, the seller will go to the next contract that is close to yours in price.

4) Buy a home without making it contingent upon selling your current home.

5) Make sure your financing is in order. If you don't have a pre-approval letter, a buyer might go to the next contract.

6) Don't make low offers.  There will be offers at the listing price and above in Chattanooga, TN, so make your best offer.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 21, 2021

Happenings in Chattanooga Real Estate & How to Buy with Low Inventory

The Chattanooga real estate market was great in 2020 and should continue to be great in 2021. The Walldorfs sold $9,754,397 in real estate in 2020, so we were very busy. Despite the pandemic, Chattanooga real estate sold very well. People from many different areas of the country moved to Chattanooga in 2020 because of our high speed internet, our start-up friendly environment, and our low housing prices. Freddie Mac commented on the 2020 housing market saying, "Even though the overall economic recovery is uneven, the housing market has made a remarkable comeback. The surge in home sales has put pressure on housing inventory and resulted in an acceleration in house price growth."

The trend of people moving to Chattanooga in 2020 is continuing in 2021.    In 2021 we will see 5 things happening in the real estate market. 1)Home prices will continue rising in most US cities. 2) The housing market inventory will remain tight. 3) Home sales will remain steady. 4) Mortgage rates will stay around 3%+/-. 5) It will be another big year for refinancing your mortgage.  

With the low inventory of homes on the market you 1) have to see the homes that interest you right away.  If you wait a day or 2, the house may be under contract. 2) If you are an out of town buyer, ask your Realtor to do a FaceTime showing for you. 3) Write your contract light on contingencies.  4) If you own a home, try to buy a home without a contingency on your home selling. Homes are selling too quickly for that strategy to work. 5) Make sure your financing is in order or a home seller may pass on your offer to purchase their home and take another one. 6) Do not make low offers.  Your offer will get beat out by other, higher offers.

Call Nathan Walldorf to buy your next home. 423-544-7700

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 8, 2021

Home Improvements That Do Not Pay Off

Home owners renovate their homes with things that are important to them.  Those updates are not always important to the general public.  Many times those updates cost more money that what you can recapture when you sell your home.  Below are some updates that DO NOT pay off.

1. A Luxury Kitchen.  Kitchen updates do pay off, but you have to temper your kitchen dream. You will not get a $10,000 return for your $10,000 Wolf 6 burner range with a double oven.  Remodeling Magazine's Cost v Value report says, "An upscale kitchen renovation recoups just 54%of its costs in added value." The imported Italian marble countertops will not pay for themselves.  Go with a less expensive granite and GE instead of Wolf.  

2. Do It Yourself Painting. I painted the master bedroom in my first home a lime green color in 2000.  Unfortunately, I was not a good painter.  I got many splotches of lime green paint on the ceiling.  The farm house red in the living room did not help me sell that first house either. After several months, and a professional paint job, we sold the house. It could have sold much sooner with a good paint job from the beginning. 

3. Expanding a Master Suite. I showed a home in North Chattanooga a few years ago that used to be a 3 bedroom home, but the owner decided to combine 2 of the rooms into a large master bedroom with a huge walk-in closet and a master bathroom.  There is a big difference in price between a 3 bedroom home and a 2 bedroom home in North Chattanooga.  Essentially, the owner made the home worth less with their remodeling. In certain neighborhoods, my wife and I have remodeled a 5 bedroom home into a 4 bedroom home with a master suite.  In that neighborhood and with family sizes being smaller today, that made sense.

4. Wall-to-Wall Carpet.  This one is pretty obvious.  Most home owners want hardwood floors today.  Opendoor says that carpet as the primary flooring in a house drops the value by $3,900.  The National Association of Realtors says that home owners recoup the entire cost of refinishing hardwood floors. Installing hardwood floors gets you $1.06 for every dollar spent.

5. A Swimming Pool. A majority of home buyers see a swimming pool as a money pit dug in their potential back yard. The biggest mistake that I see in an entry level home is a pool in the back yard. When the home goes up for sale, most of their would-be buyers pass.  In an upper-end home, a pool is a nice luxury although it does not always completely pay for itself when you sell the home.  

Make Sure The Update Is Worth It.  Ask your Realtor if an update will pay for himself.  I love it when clients call me and ask me if the update they are thinking about it is a good investment. I encourage clients to do so. 

Compare Home Features in the Area. See if your update will be unusual for the neighborhood or if your home will be the nicest home in the neighborhood. 


Call Nathan Walldorf to ask if your future update is worth the money. 423-544-7700.

Posted in Remodeling