Moving to the Country: 6 Things You Should Do before Buying Rural Property

By Susanne Dwyer

Buying a piece of land can be a very satisfying feeling. After all, we are not so very far removed from the days of the Wild West land races when families would compete in a race to put down their stake to claim land. But today, the process of buying land has become far more complicated. If you are buying rural country property, the complications increase again. In this post, learn six things you should do before buying rural property.

1. Commission a land survey to verify property size and contents.
With cities becoming increasingly overcrowded, a land survey isn’t often on the menu. But when you get into buying 2, 3 or 10 acre lots, you want to be sure the acreage you are paying for is the acreage you are getting! Along with this confirmation, a land survey can tell you a lot about other potential perks or pitfalls of the property in question. Water sources, utility lines, metes and bounds (boundary lines) and other features will all be detailed in the survey.

2. Meet your neighbors and learn from them about local life.
After living in the city, you know how easy it can be to live right next door to someone and not see them for months (or ever). But in the country, that neighbor living 2 acres over on the next lot may become your lifeline in an emergency.

In addition, with a smaller community and fewer local resources, living out in the country can feel like living in a small, spread out town. And in small towns, there are few if any secrets. So just be sure you meet your near neighbors before you buy to see if you find them welcoming and hospitable. You will be glad you did!

3. Consider working with a buyer’s agent.
Especially if this is your first time buying a piece of country property, you may stand to benefit by working with a buyer’s agent to purchase the land. This way, you can learn what questions you don’t know to ask, get expert advice about whether the land is fairly priced, find out the ins and outs of country complexities such as easements and water rights, and have an advocate on your side should negotiations become complicated.

4. Get an insurance estimate in advance.
Just as you never want to put yourself in the situation of purchasing more car than you can afford to insure, you also want to be sure your new land comes with manageable insurance costs. Title insurance is definitely something to consider, especially in case you find that toxic or hazardous waste has previously been stored or dumped on the property. Consider as well extras like flood insurance if your land is located in a floodplain.

5. Be sure you can get the services you need.
Imagine living out in the country on your new land, and you go to pull up the internet and…nothing. You don’t want to find out too late that your area doesn’t get service. Be sure to find out your options for internet, cable television, etc., before you buy the land.

6. Calculate the total cost of moving your life into a rural situation.
This calculation should include any extra equipment, services, vehicles and other items required to manage and maintain your country property. It should also consider less tangible costs such as travel for medical services, airport transportation and work.

By carefully considering the total impact of making a big change from city to country living, you can be sure now is the right time to make the move and feel confident you have the resources to make it a success.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

From: Home Spun Wisdom


Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey

List of gardening events in the Houston area

By By Kathy Huber List of gardening events in the Houston area

Fall vegetable gardening, landscape design, plant sale, other activities. 9 a.m.-noon at Brazoria Environmental Education Station, 585 CR 443, Angleton;

Gardening in Small Spaces: with Harris County extension horticulturist Skip Richter. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-746-6320,

A Passion for Plumeria: with Galveston County Master Gardener Loretta Osteen. 1-3 p.m. at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 4102 Main, La Marque; 281-534-3413, email reservations to,

Bee Forum: with Angela Chandler of the Garden Academy and Matt and Kelly Brantley of BZ Honey. 11 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-746-6320,

Petal Pushers Garden Club’s Welcome Back Social: 7 p.m. at Burgess Recreation Center, 4200 Kalwick, Deer Park; 281-479-1223.

From: Gardening


Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey

3 Tips to Convert Online Leads Every Time

By Susanne Dwyer

Finding new prospects is the lifeblood of any real estate practice. Lead generation is one of the most profitable tasks you can factor into your schedule, especially in today’s market. But what happens after you capture new leads?

Customized landing pages, social ads and other technological advancements make capturing leads easier than ever, but converting them is more difficult. The sales paradigm has shifted, and agents need to learn how to adapt if they want to fill their calendars with qualified leads and appointments. Here are three tips from Chris Smith, author of The Conversion Code, to help you get the highest conversion rate possible.

  1. Follow up ASAP

Waiting to call a new lead until you’ve finished a showing or closing could mean the difference between gaining a new client or losing them to a competitor. According to the 100x Rule, if an agent attempts to call a potential client within five minutes of a lead submission, the conversion rate is 100 times greater than if the contact occurs 30 minutes after submission. To convert leads to sales, contact every lead within five minutes.

Realistically, it’s often difficult for agents to call a new lead as soon as it comes in. Fortunately, there are other options. For example, text messages have almost a 100 percent open rate. With technology advancements, it’s possible to send a highly customized text message that says, “I just got your request for more info. Can you talk now?” If you can’t send a text, email is another possible way to follow up, but it’s not as effective. In the end, calling is by far the most effective way to get in touch with a new lead.

  1. Persistence pays off

Some agents will call a new lead once or twice and then give up if they don’t receive a response. According to Smith, the optimal number of calls, to reach the highest number of contacts possible, is six. Even if you obey the 100X rule and call in the first five minutes, you’re still likely to only contact about 48 percent of leads. But if you call those resistant leads six times, you’ll end up contacting 93 percent of your leads. By doing this you’ll end up doubling your conversion rate just by working the leads you’re already getting.

If your lead doesn’t pick up the first time you call, practice the double dial—hang up and immediately call them back. For most of us, if we get a call from a number we don’t recognize, and then immediately get another call from the same number, we assume it must be important, and we answer. If a lead still doesn’t answer after the second dial, try texting. Writing a message like, “I got your request about ____. Is this a good time to talk?” allows you to identify yourself and remind them about their request.

  1. Prepare your script

Most agents have a script they’ve prepared for new client contacts. However, don’t just read from your script. Rather than focusing on the logical reasons people are looking for a home, dig deeper to find the emotional reasons. Listen to their responses so you can find a way to connect with them on an emotional level, then use that information to close the sale. Remember, most people make buying decisions based on emotional, not logical, reasons.

One of the most important things to do when you have a new lead on the phone is to gain their trust. If the person you’re talking with is unfamiliar with your company, try aligning yourself with a trustworthy company or brand that they’ve heard of and tie yourself to that company with a powerful statistic. For example, if one of Smith’s leads is unfamiliar with Curaytor, he could tell them the company spends over $3 million a year on Facebook ads for real estate agents. People know Facebook and they know $3 million.

Once you’ve built trust and discovered why your lead is looking to buy or sell, go for the “trial close” with a “here’s what happens next” question to keep the selling process moving forward. For example, “Does Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. work best for my professional photographer to come by and take pictures?” This will help your client understand what you are going to be doing for them and make them feel more secure in the final steps of the process to list their home.

Does your busy schedule make it difficult to respond to new leads right away?’s new Lead Concierge service screens your phone and email leads within minutes and forwards the serious buyers and sellers to you. Don’t let another qualified lead slip by!

From: Home Spun Wisdom


Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey

Don’t Be Wowed: Look for Little Details in a Potential Home

By Susanne Dwyer

When you walk into what turns out to be your dream home, you’re blown away. It might be the color scheme or the vaulted ceilings or the massive fireplace that does it, but you’re going to notice something right away that really wows you. Every room after that will make you more and more excited. You might even be ready to make an offer after only seeing a few rooms. But wait!

You might be so overwhelmed by the big, amazing features of the home that you forget to check out the little details. These details may seem insignificant next to the things you love about the house, but if you find several of them, they can add up to some major issues. Here’s what you’ll want to check for.

Take a look at all of the windows to make certain that the thermal seal isn’t broken, the glass isn’t cracked, and that all of the windows shut securely. However, don’t stop there. You also want to make certain that there’s at least one window in every room that will open in case of an emergency. Some older homes may have windows that were painted shut to help lower the utility bill. It’s also possible some windows haven’t been opened in years.

Many buyers simply take a quick glance around the basement, especially if it’s dark, but you need to go down there with a flashlight and really look around. Check for any signs of dampness, mold and water damage. The last thing you want is to discover that you have dangerous mold growing in your basement after you’ve bought the house.

Likewise, make sure you stick your head up into the attic and get a good look around. If you see daylight coming through in places that it shouldn’t be, the home may have some roofing issues. That’s something the inspection will note. What that report may not mention is the amount of insulation in the attic. If it appears that there’s not a good amount of insulation, the home is going to be difficult to heat and cool, especially if it has high ceilings. Take note that you may have to have additional insulation added later.

Beyond noticing the color of the carpet or the fact that the home has wood flooring throughout, many people don’t really look down. You want to carefully check the flooring in every room to make certain it’s in good condition. For carpeting, look for stains or areas where the carpet seems worn. For tiles, check for cracked tiles and for tiles that don’t seem to be secured to the floor. Any wood flooring should also be secure and shouldn’t appear to be warped. Linoleum and other stick-down flooring shouldn’t show any signs of coming up around the edges. It may be a pain to carefully examine every room’s floor like this, but it can save you money later. You don’t want to buy a house and then discover you need to replace half the flooring.

Not a part of the house exactly, but some potential buyers forget to do a little research into the neighborhood, including the schools. You may not have children at the moment, and you may not even be planning to start a family within the next five years, but life is full of surprises. You should take a look at the school just to see if you would ever want to send a child there. Also look at what’s close to the neighborhood—what’s the closest hospital, mechanic, grocery store, etc. A quick check of the area’s crime statistics is also a good idea.

Then there’s your commute. Don’t just look at the map and decide your commute to work every morning will be fine. You need to actually drive the route during the same time you’ll be going to work and getting home every day. You might find that what looks like a quick ten-minute drive is really about thirty minutes when you take into account rush hour traffic. You may want to try out a few different routes to see if you can make the commute the amount of time you want.

A lot of buyers visit the home during the day or in the early evening, but what’s it like later at night or on the weekends? Is there a neighbor who tends to have large parties? That could ruin many of your quiet weekends at home. Drive through the area at random times of the day to see if the street looks significantly busier. Also, stop the car and roll down your windows. Do you hear any dogs barking or other strange noises?

These are just a few of the little details and other things you might overlook if you’re really wowed by the home. Don’t be discouraged if you find that your dream home isn’t perfect. It may still be a great place to live. You can talk with your real estate agent about any small issues you find to determine how big of an impact they will really be. For those who are in the LGBT community, you may even want to work with a gay or lesbian agent from

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice


Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey

4 Big Storage Solutions for Tiny Spaces

By Susanne Dwyer

One of the worst things about living in a tiny house or apartment is the lack of storage space. When your belongings are constantly underfoot, it can be quite annoying. In this modern world, people tend to accumulate items much faster than they get rid of them. This can quickly turn an already cluttered small living space into a nightmare. If you are dealing with storage space issues in your home, try these four big storage space solutions for tiny spaces.

  1. Get Furniture That Does Double Duty

One of the best ways to increase the storage space in a tiny apartment is to get furniture that includes storage space inside of it. For example, you can get a bed frame that includes drawers inside of it for you to store your clothing inside. Another example of this is an ottoman that has a compartment inside of it to store things. There are many types of furniture like this that can double as storage space.

  1. Add Shelving

If you have too many things in your home, a creative way to store them is to add shelving. There are likely many areas of your home where you could install shelving. Not only does adding shelving to your home give you additional storage space, but you can actually beautify your home by displaying books and tchotchkes on the shelving.

  1. Get an Offsite Storage Unit

Sometimes, no matter how creative you get, you will not be able to find enough room in your home for everything you own. If this is the case, the ideal solution is to get an offsite storage unit. You can place all the things in your storage unit that you do not use regularly. Hialeah Storage Units recommends that people who store things in an offsite unit select a climate-controlled storage facility to give their belongings protection from temperature extremes.

  1. Install a Murphy Bed

A Murphy bed is a bed that folds up to store inside or next to the wall. This gives you a tremendous amount of extra space during the day. You can also put a loft bed in, like those found in college dorm rooms, to free up some storage space.

Living in a small space doesn’t mean you have to accept inadequate storage. If you implement these four ideas, you will gain back a tremendous amount of storage space. The key to having enough storage in a tiny space is to be flexible and creative.

This post originally appeared on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for real estate tips and trends.

From: Home Spun Wisdom


Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey