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In 2006, I purchased my first apartment in New York City. Nothing huge, the compact one-bedroom was all I needed as a single woman with a pocket-size dog in tow.

I paid $426,250—a deal by New York standards—because it clearly needed work. The kitchen would need a complete overhaul, and the bathroom was in sorry shape, too. So I decided to splurge on my renovation.

I started with the kitchen. I reconfigured the layout, had custom cabinetry built, and procured top-of-the-line appliances. I found the prettiest granite for counters, along with beveled subway tile for a backsplash, a wine rack, a spice cabinet, and many other bells and whistles.
Next, I set my sights on the bathroom. Before I knew it, this dark, cramped space was encased in floor-to-ceiling Carrara marble. I had the dingy old bathtub demolished and replaced with a floor-to-ceiling spa shower. Read more here.

Come to our annual party at Hendersonville Country Club this Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm!

Enjoy door prizes and live music by Dashboard Blue. The party will be on regardless of weather. Look forward to seeing you there.


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Many consumers consider selling their home directly but eventually turn to REALTORS®. Smart home sellers realize they need the expertise in pricing their home, making connections with REALTORS® working with buyers, arranging and staffing open houses, and coordinating with other professionals in the sales process. Eighty-five percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home, according to NAR Research, and 79 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.

Only about half of all real estate agents are REALTORS® – the top half, in our not-so-humble opinion. REALTORS® work independently, for small agencies, or for large brokerages. They help people buy and sell residential or commercial properties, vacation homes, and land; they conduct appraisals; they operate in the United States and in other countries; some specialize in auctions; and others are buyer’s representatives.Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. REALTORS® follow an industry accepted Code of Ethics. REALTORS® are active members of their communities.

REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS
If you have ever bought or sold real estate, you have undoubtedly employed the services of a real estate agent to guide and assist you through the process. Consumers are often uncertain who regulates real estate professionals. Many real estate professionals are subject to two sets of rules. First, each jurisdiction has a governmental agency, typically referred to as the real estate commission, charged with the authority to issue licenses to real estate professionals and enforce related state laws and regulations. Additionally, many real estate professionals, after obtaining a license, choose to become members of a REALTOR® association, whose mission is to promote the profitability and success of its members. Those licensees agree to abide by a strict Code of Ethics, and the local REALTOR® association is responsible for assuring that members adhere to the Code.

REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONS
Each jurisdiction has a real estate commission whose primary mission is to protect the public from unqualified real estate practitioners. As such, the real estate commission has the authority to implement and enforce real estate licensing laws. In keeping with this authority, the real estate commission serves various important functions, including:

Authority to Issue a license, and monitor real estate activities.
Establish requirements for maintenance of a real estate license, such as continuing education.
Conduct investigations into alleged violations of jurisdiction licensing laws and regulations based on complaints filed by the public or on the real estate commission’s own motion.
Perform routine audits of trust accounts.
Enforce licensing laws and take disciplinary action against licensees who have been found in violation, including revoking their ability to practice licensed real estate activities in a respective jurisdiction.
Members of the public who suspect a real estate licensee has violated the licensing laws can direct their complaint to the real estate commission of the respective jurisdiction, which will then review the allegations and determine what action, if any, is appropriate for the jurisdiction to pursue.

REALTOR® ASSOCIATIONS
Membership in a REALTOR® association is entirely voluntary, but carries with it the responsibility for each REALTOR®member to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Real estate professionals join their local REALTOR® association and, as part of their membership, they automatically become members of both the state REALTOR® association, and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The NAR Code of Ethics, which establishes a public and private standard of behavior for REALTOR® members when dealing with the public and other real estate professionals, is enforced at the local level through the local REALTOR® association. It is therefore the function and authority of the local REALTOR® association to:

CONDUCT HEARINGS INTO ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE NAR CODE OF ETHICS.
Take disciplinary action against a REALTOR® member, which can include the ordering of fines or revocation of a real estate professional’s membership in the REALTOR® association.
Similar to filing a complaint with the state real estate association, members of the public can also contact their local REALTOR® association and file a complaint where they suspect a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred. It is important to understand, however, that a REALTOR® association does not have any authority over a real estate professional’s license, as this is the exclusive jurisdiction of the respective real estate commission. REALTOR® associations only discipline REALTOR® members for violations of the NAR Code of Ethics. For all other alleged wrong doing, consumers should contact the respective real estate commission or consult with an attorney.

In conclusion, real estate professionals are held to high standards under which they must conduct their business. The real estate commission enforces its license laws, while members of a REALTOR® association must agree to follow the NAR Code of Ethics. If a real estate professional fails to adhere to these standards, appropriate action can be taken.

Mortgage interest rates went up
Mortgage interest rates have played an important role in the slowing of the housing market. That's because as they go up, so do monthly mortgage payments. And we're talking big bucks: A single point increase can add more than $100 to a monthly bill and tens of thousands over the life of a 30-year, fixed-rate loan. That plus higher home prices are taking a toll on prospective homeowners.

The result is, more buyers are pushed to the sidelines. Others are purchasing cheaper and smaller homes, moving to less desirable locations, or considering inexpensive fixer-uppers.

Mortgage rates reached a high of 4.94% in November, before tumbling down a bit to hit 4.75% earlier this month. While that's a welcome reprieve for buyers, they're unlikely to keep going down. The Federal Reserve is poised to continue hiking short-term interest rates this year and into 2019. And while mortgage rates aren't tied to the short-term ones, they typically follow suit.

 

What does that mean for 2019? Buyers should anticipate rates exceeding the 5% threshold.

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It's where food is eaten and friends gather, but it can also turn into a dumping ground for everyone's stuff. And that can make it almost impossible to keep every corner and surface neat and organized.

To help you reduce clutter and set up efficient—and budget-friendly—storage solutions in your kitchen, we tapped top home organization experts and asked them to spill their tips. Think of it as the next best thing to hiring a professional organizer.

Crates, boxes, or baskets can be used on your shelves to corral your glasses, mugs, napkins, or any other odds and ends in the kitchen. They come in a variety of sizes, with or without dividers.

“Use wooden boxes turned on their sides as a standalone shelf,” recommends Marty Basher, organization expert at Modular Closets. “You’ve got space inside the box and on top of the box—and using more vertical space looks tidy.”

If decorating with crates feels too farmhouse for your taste, try rattan baskets (Wayfair, $19.99) for a more bohemian vibe. Looking for something particularly modern? This white plastic box (Ikea, $12.99) will fit the bill.

Read more.