Moving is such sweet sorrow. There’s the joy and anticipation of settling into your new space and the pain of leaving the old one behind.

Over on Houzz, they’ve come up with some easy steps to make letting go a little less hard. Take lots of photos, of course—but you already knew that. How about taking a bunch of shots when the place is a total mess? They’ll likely help you recall the true everyday vibe of the home you’re leaving behind way better than those pristine listing photos do. Such untidy, antistaging pictures will “provide a more meaningful record of your house and how you used it,” they write.

Another idea: Fete the home in style with a farewell party, no matter the number of boxes strewed about. “String up some lights, play some music and enjoy the house with the family and friends you’ve shared it with over the years.” And don’t forget to raise a glass to your soon-to-be former abode. They also suggest leaving a little something behind, perhaps a little talisman of sorts, even if it’s hidden in the attic. OK, that’s beginning to sound a bit weird…

As for your new home, if Fido and Tiger are coming along, ease them into the new place, too—don’t underestimate their feelings. “Cats should be kept inside the house for a week or so,” they write, “to prevent them from trying to return to your old home.”

Hendersonville, NC (July 29, 2015) – Hendersonville Board of Realtors presented Henderson County Habitat for Humanity a check for $3,000 on July 29 at their general membership meeting. The money was raised through their annual charity golf tournament held on May 11 at Kenmure Country Club.
About Henderson County Habitat for Humanity
Henderson County Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization, builds quality affordable homes, creates strong communities, and changes lives by partnering with committed volunteers, professional staff, and eligible families living in inadequate housing. For more information about Henderson County Habitat for Humanity, please visit, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @habitatie.
About Hendersonville Board of Realtors
The Hendersonville Board of REALTORS® is a nonprofit membership organization for Realtor members, serving Henderson, Polk and surrounding counties. For more information, please visit our website or find us on Facebook for the most accurate information regarding buying and selling your home.

With soaring rent rates and a ridiculously low occupancy rate—4.1%, according to real estate research firm Reis Inc.—apartment hunting isn’t much fun lately. And the late-summer timing might be making things even harder.

From the sweltering heat that’s keeping many tenants in their great apartments you could be renting if they’d just move already, to the college kids coming back and scooping up available rentals in droves, inventory in the dog days of summer is slim pickings.

That’s the bad news. The good news: You might be able to boost your luck with help from pro. Realtors® work in rentals, too, and they may be the key to your next pad.

They’ll get you VIP access

You might have that whole Craigslist apartment-hunting thing down, but Realtors still have you beat when it comes to finding new inventory. They have access to properties you wouldn’t normally see on your typical apartment-hunting website, and they often hear about new rentals as soon as they become available, before the ad goes up online.

Many Realtors can also easily set up an email notification system for you based on your preferences and price range that gives you VIP status over other apartment hunters.

“It is immediate access. The second a property comes on the market, you’ll be notified via email,” says Chandler Crouch, broker at Chandler Crouch Realtors, landlord and rental market survivor. “There’s nothing quite like that.”

They’ll reduce your stress level

Apartment hunting is stressful.

Scams abound on many of the popular rental websites. It isn’t always easy to tell if the landlord is legit, if the property is really available for rent, or if you’re about to get taken for a ride. When you work with a Realtor, “you can feel confident you’re dealing with a legit lead,” Crouch says.

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You’ll also have an advocate, someone on your side who is willing to work out the tougher life questions with you that a landlord normally wouldn’t handle.

Say, for example, you’re apartment hunting with a roommate. “If you have a situation you want to talk about privately, like splitting the bills or finding a rental that matches two wish lists, your Realtor can help you with that,” Crouch says.

You’ll still have to do some legwork

Depending on whom you work with, you may end up doing some of the legwork yourself.

To make sure you don’t miss out on properties, you’ll likely end up doing at least some searching yourself. The reason is simple: Realtors don’t make a lot of money representing tenants.

“What most people don’t know, at least in my market area, the commissions the landlord or listing agent offers a tenant’s agent are supersmall,” says Crouch. “The maximum the listing agent or landlord might give is 60% to as low as 20% of one month’s rent. There really isn’t a lot of incentive, and the Realtor would be smart not to spend a lot of time on it.”

How to work well with a Realtor

Realtors have the best inventory and the fastest access to new leads, but you may end up feeling frustrated if you work with them exclusively. So what’s the solution? It might be as simple as trying a different approach: Ask a Realtor for help, but do the actual hunting yourself.

“I recommend finding a Realtor and just making a deal with them,” Crouch says. “Ask them to set up the automatic email notifications for a small fee—say $50, for example—and then go look at the listings yourself.”

The win-win alternative

You could also rent from a Realtor directly. Many Realtors buy and rent out homes and small apartment buildings, and the quality may be higher than that of other available rentals in your area.

“Realtors are held to a higher standard,” says Crouch. For you that means full disclosure on a prospective rental, such as if there’s lead-based paint. It also means renting from someone who knows what his or her legal obligations are when it comes to upkeep and maintenance on the property.

Realtor-owned properties might be cheaper, too. According to Crouch, a Realtor has to offer a fair market rate, while a private landlord might spike prices when a neighborhood becomes trendy or competition gets fierce.

“What it boils down to is, I would trust a Realtor-owned property more than someone else, because they have a reputation to uphold and know more,” Crouch says.

To: State Presidents, Local Presidents, State & Local AEs, State & Local GADs

From: Chris Polychron, NAR President

RE: NAR Call for Action on Patent Reform Legislation

Date: 20 July 2015

On Monday, July 13th NAR launched a Call for Action to all REALTORS® asking them to contact their Members of Congress and urge support for H.R. 9 - The Innovation Act. Today, I am asking for your help to promote this Call for Action among your membership.

Why should you and REALTORS® care about Patent Reform? You may think a "Patent Troll" can’t disrupt your business but individual REALTORS®, Brokers and Multiple Listing Services have all been targeted with vague and deceptive letters alleging patent infringement to demand unjustified payments for using basic technology like dropdown menus, website search functions, and even office scanners.

Currently a loophole in our legal system allows "patent trolls" to disrupt businesses, big and small, local and national, by demanding fees for the use of common business technologies. The Innovation Act - H.R. 9 - would close these loopholes.

While the opposition to H.R. 9 has been very vocal and is trying to delay the vote, our efforts to encourage a vote have been noticed on Capitol Hill and the House Leadership has signaled that a vote could take place next week. Now is the time to get every REALTOR® to answer the Call for Action and help convince the House of Representatives to pass this legislation of vital importance to the real estate industry.

Please use every tool at your disposal to contact your members and ask them to take action. Congress listens when REALTORS® speak with a strong and unified voice.

Chris Polychron
2015 NAR President

Congratulations, new grads: You’re free! After four long years at college, it’s time to move on to the next stage of your life: adulthood.

That means you get to start thinking about exciting things like your first job, a 401(k), and—sexiest of all—homeownership. And while you might still be sleeping off those Jell-O shots from last night, it’s time to wake up, chug some water, and start preparing yourself financially—if buying a house happens to be one of your long-term goals.

Start preparing now, and buying a house won’t be a struggle. “If you make good money, you have a clean credit rating, and you’ve got enough money set aside for the down payment, buying a house is not really a big hassle,” says Stewart Koesten, the chief executive and executive chairman of KHC Wealth Management in Overland Park, KS.

Sounds easy, right? Make money, save money, have good credit. Ta-da, a house! Not so much: Getting your finances in order for homeownership can be a challenge, even if your goal isn’t a luxury mansion. Here are seven ways to start achieving those goals right now.

1. Get your credit score in order
Sure, your mailbox may be overflowing with credit card offers and the idea of “paying the bills” still seems a bit confusing, but now’s the time to start getting your credit score in shape. One simple way to start building a history: Get your first credit card, because the credit bureaus consider the average age of your accounts when evaluating your score—and you’ll want a great score when it’s time to buy a house.

But if you have a history of overspending, this may not be the right solution for you. A long credit history with a high balance and poor on-time payment record will do more damage. One option might be a secured credit card, which is backed by a cash deposit that’s usually equivalent to your limit. That way, you can never spend more than what you have available.

“There’s not too much difference between a good and a great credit score, in terms of buying a home,” Koesten says. The maximum score is 850, but once you get above 700, the only major advantage a better score will get you is a few points difference on your interest rate. “A bad credit score will hurt you. If you have a credit card or debts you didn’t honor, and you messed up your credit in the process, it will be detrimental to the whole process,” he says.

If you have student loans, a credit card may not be necessary. They also contribute to your score, so focus on paying them down regularly (and on time) to improve your rating.

2. Consider jobs with homeownership in mind
It might be a little too late to change your major, and we’d never suggest passing up your dream job just for money. But if you’re still evaluating your career path (i.e., you really have no idea what you want to or can do for the rest of your life) and homeownership is your dream, make sure to keep finances in mind when you’re searching.

It’s not just about the salary: Does the company match your 401(k) contributions? That will save you tens of thousands of dollars down the line. Are there career opportunities in the cities where you’d like to eventually purchase a home? Everyone should do what they love—but first, make sure that the career you crave is aligned with the lifestyle you dream of.

The easiest way to start saving is to smart small: Put away $10 a week, or use an app like Digit or Acorns to invest your small change.

3. Pay off that debt
If you’re like most young Americans, you’ll be coming out of college with a mound of debt. (The national average for a 2015 grad is $35,000!) It’s easy to ignore it, but balancing a mortgage and your student debt payments is a big burden, even with a generous salary.

Make paying off your debt your No. 1 priority, even if it means sacrificing other goals in the short term. For instance, if you have the opportunity to live at home while working for a few years, do it! (Seriously, we’re not judging—just know what you’re getting yourself into.) Or give up smaller pleasures, like Starbucks and gym membership, until you’ve paid down your debt. Short-term independence is a worthy sacrifice for long-term freedom. Plus, making regular payments will help improve your credit score.

If you’ve graduated college with credit card debt, make that the priority: The super-high-interest rates that come with most student credit cards can make them a crippling financial burden for years to come.

4. Decide what kind of home you want
You’re young—it’s OK if you don’t know a ranch home from a Colonial. (Unless you were an architecture or urban planning major, in which case, uh, maybe brush up on Design 101 before graduation.) But you should start thinking about where you want to live and how you want your future lifestyle to look. Would you feel lost without a yard? Or are you more of a city person, dreaming of a pristine rowhouse?

Even if you’re just looking to buy a starter home or studio apartment and save the dream home for your future, it’s important to keep in mind how you’d like to live.

First, make sure your financial future matches up with your ideal location.

“If you have a modest income in an area that requires higher incomes to live well, you have to adjust your expectations and live where you can afford,” Koesten says. “Don’t try to be too aggressive with your finances.”

Don’t worry if you haven’t mapped out all of the specifics yet. Even a general idea of your goals can help you develop a financial plan that meets your future needs.

5. Start saving your money
No one’s surprised that homes are expensive—you can see the price right there on the listing! Your dream home might cost more than four years’ tuition, but you just need to save up for the down payment, right?

Not so fast. What can be surprising is how much is due upfront: In addition to your down payment, you’ll have to pay for a home inspector, any relevant taxes, and a bevy of closing costs. Together, they can add up to 5% (or more) of the home’s price.

“Make sure you have sufficient reserves, so when you do eventually buy a home you’re not tapping all your resources,” Koesten says. “You want enough money left over after you buy the home to give yourself a little cushion.”

Sure, it seems like a lot of money—it is a lot of money!—but the sooner you start socking money away, the sooner you’ll be able to start looking for your dream home.

6. Don’t play games with your savings
Don’t treat the housing market like a casino and gamble with your future home.

As tempting as it might be, dumping your home savings into the stock market willy-nilly could lead to major trouble if there’s an upset right before you’re looking to buy. Either hire a financial adviser or stick to high-interest savings accounts and CDs.

“You want to make sure that in 10 years, the money you’ve saved has a high probability of being there,” Koesten says.

7. Don’t fall for lifestyle inflation
It’s fun to make money: More nights on the town! A bigger apartment! You can finally get a dog!

Rein in your impulses, and never change your lifestyle because of your salary. A big jump in income is a huge temptation to spend more on eating out or entertainment or weekly happy hours, especially if you’ve been living on a college student budget.

Our advice? Ignore the impulse. The No. 1 way to throw off your financial goals is to fall prey to lifestyle inflation. Raises and bonuses serve you best tucked away in your savings—even if that’s not as much fun.

8. Start small
Your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. You may love the idea of a white picket fence and multiacre lawn—but it’s OK to start saving with a smaller home or apartment in mind. If you’re planning on staying in one place, purchasing a modest house or studio apartment can be an excellent beginner home. Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford your dream home off the bat: You’ve got many years left to save.

So, are you ready to get out there and start saving for a house now? We sure hope so. After all, you’re not getting any younger.