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DO IT YOURSELF MYSTERY SERIES by Jennie Bentley

What is it with Realtors writing cozy mysteries? There are so many of them (myself included). Every Realtor I ever met said, “I could write a book.” I guess it is true. Lord knows, I had some crazy experiences as a Realtor. But Jennie Bentley, aka Jenna Bennett, does not have a Realtor as her protagonist, Avery Baker is a former textile designer turned home renovator with her boyfriend Derek Ellis. There is a Realtor in the books however. And because the book is told in the first person, you don’t get Avery giving a lot of description of herself. She does describe the Realtor in detail. A lot. Because she is Melissa, Derek’s ex-wife. I kept thinking that I knew this woman. And then it hit me. Remember back when Two And A Half Men was still good? Back when Charlie Sheen was still on it. For a while, Charlie had a girlfriend named Lydia who was a Realtor. (Played by actress Katherine La Nasa.) Melissa is Lydia. To a T. Melissa aside, the books, set in Maine, have a good size cast of well developed characters. Most importantly, they have some well written mysteries that will keep you guessing. Each book has it’s own unique home to be renovated and flipped (one for a reality show) and at the end some decorating/renovating tips. This is a must read series. ♥♥♥♥

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JENNIE BENTLEYJennie Bentley is the author of the New York Times bestselling Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, whileJenna Bennett writes the USA Today bestselling Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. Jenna is also the author of various forms of romance, from contemporary to futuristic, and from paranormal to romantic suspense, including the award-winning Fortune’s Hero, first in the Soldiers of Fortune series, and winner of a 2012 SFR Galaxy award for best Enemies to Lovers story.

A former Realtor® and renovator and current full-time author, Jenna/Jennie lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with a husband, two kids, an African dwarf frog, a goldfish, and a hyper-active dog. Originally from Norway, she has spent more than twenty years in the US and still hasn’t been able to kick her native accent.
THE BOOKS:

Avery Baker was once a New York designer, but inheriting her aunt’s old Maine cottage has led her down a new career path home renovation. Now, with help from hunky handyman Derek Ellis, Avery starts learning the ABCs of DIY. But when the designer-turned-renovator finds clues that lead to a missing professor, she wonders if she can finish the house without getting finished off in the process.

Avery Baker and her boyfriend, Derek Ellis, are flipping a seriously stigmatized house rumored to have ghosts. Soon they’ll have even bigger problems-and this renovation project might haunt them forever.

Ex-New York designer Avery Baker left the bustle of the big city to start her own home renovation business in Maine. But as she renovates an old carriage house on behalf of a soon-to-be wed friend, she stumbles across a lifeless body-a person known all too well by the blushing bride. The small town is abuzz with big suspicions, and Avery realizes she must unravel a matrimonial murder.

Avery Baker was once a New York textile designer, but inheriting her aunt’s old Maine cottage has led her down a new career path-home renovation. Finding a property’s hidden potential has rewards and challenges-especially when a mystery surfaces from behind the walls of a centuries-old house on an island that has more than its share of deadly secrets.

Avery and her hunky handyman boyfriend are renovating a house belonging to a local news anchor who’s thrilled to be filmed as part of a home renovation show. But cable television fame proves fleeting when the man is murdered and Avery faces the task of nailing the killer. Fast.

Avery and her partner, Derek, are fixing up a cute little condo in homey Waterfield, Maine, hoping for a quick turnaround and some extra money. It seems like a simple project—and Avery is looking forward to using her big-city experience with small spaces.

But they didn’t expect to have their every move watched by the resident busybody in the condo, Hilda Shaw, who loves snooping on everyone’s comings and goings. When the busybody becomes a dead body, Avery suspects foul play. Soon she’s doing some snooping of her own—and it seems everyone in the complex has a secret. Could one of them be worth killing for? Avery needs to work fast, before someone decides to fix her…for good.

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WE HAVE OUR HOME FOR SALE AND RECENTLY RECEIVED AN OFFER FROM A BUYER. PROBLEM IS, THE OFFER ISN’T QUITE WHAT WE WANTED. WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

The first thing you should do is analyze the offer carefully with your agent.  Here’s why.  Sellers frequently examine just one or two parts of an offer: price and financing.  While these items are important, there may be other areas that can make the offer either more or less attractive.  These include: earnest money, down payment, interest ceiling (the highest rate buyers will pay for new financing), closing costs, financing time limit, closing date, type of financing, personal property contained in the offer, and any contingencies related to the offer.  By examining the offer with your agent, there are three actions you can take:

First, you can accept the offer as is.  If you do this, you have a binding agreement.

Second, if the offer is totally unsatisfactory, you can, of course, reject it altogether.  This option closes the door on the offer.  Sometimes it’s the right action, but I would suggest the third alternative.

 Third, make a counter-offer.  If everything is satisfactory except the price, for example, you can ask for more and submit the counter-offer back to the buyers.  Or, if there are other elements of the offer you want to counter – say, for example, they want to close in two weeks – you can ask for a month. 

Keep in mind that an offer you have in hand will be binding as soon as you’ve signed it.  Any changes you make to the offer will require the buyer to initial or sign it again. 

If you’re thinking of buying or selling soon, and require competent and caring representation, please call me at 401-595-2956.

This entry was posted on March 29, 2010, in Real Estate.

WHAT AREAS OF MY HOME SHOULD I FOCUS ON TO PROTECT MY INVESTMENT AND MAXIMIZE ITS VALUE?

There’s no doubt, your home is a substantial investment.  So it makes sense to protect it to maximize its value.  One way to do this is with regular maintenance.  While many homeowners keep their homes spotless on the inside, they may not be aware of what needs to be done to the exterior or “structural” areas of their home.  Here’s a quick checklist of items you should inspect and maintain every six months.

 Your Roof.  Climb up and look for damage.  Flat roofs frequently show soft spots, or areas where there may be ponding – signs of potential leaks.  Pitched roofs should be inspected for roof tiles and seams.  If you see a crack or problem, fix it immediately.

Your Mechanical System.  Mechanical systems include your heating and air conditioning systems.  Heating systems should be checked for deadly cracks and leaks, and air conditioning systems should have filters changed and checked for their efficiency.  These small inspections will save you money, and quite possibly your life.

Exterior Paint And Fascia.  Wood exterior needs frequent inspection and maintenance.  Small lapses can be costly.  Inspect the exterior of your home for signs of wear, and stay on top of any required maintenance.

Safety Systems.  Check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries every six months.  After all, the time you need them most is not the time you want to learn they failed because of something so simple as a battery.  Also, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in or near every bedroom.  It could save your life if there is a gas or heater leak.

If you’d like more information on how simple repairs and fix-ups can bring you as much as $10 dollars for every $1 invested, call me at 401-595-2956 or email me at kateshannon@cox.net for my Free Consumer Booklet, Home Seller’s Guide To Money-Making Fix-Ups.”  

This entry was posted on March 29, 2010, in Real Estate.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A QUALIFIED, COMPETENT AGENT?

Do you remember the old riddle, “what do you call the person who graduated dead last in his/her medical school class?”  Answer: DOCTOR!  Well, the same is true for real estate agents.  Just because someone passed a state licensing examination doesn’t mean they are qualified to handle your needs.  All agents are not the same.  Here are a few things you should look for in a qualified agent.

First, determine if he/she specializes either in your area or type of home.  Second, ask them specifically how they helped clients overcome specific problems they encountered in a past transaction.  Third, ask them specifically what they will do for you if they represent you.  They should have a step-by-step plan of action.  Fourth, ask them how long they’ve practiced real estate, and how many transactions they have under their belt.  Fifth, ask them about their marketing skills.  See, most agents are trained to handle transactions and understand the law, but few are trained in effective marketing.  A poor marketer will cost you thousands of dollars in wasted time and energy.  And finally, ask them for a reference list of past clients they’ve helped.  Call those references and ask questions about how they handled the transaction.

And if you happen to be in RI, call me at 401-595-2956. I have been in real estate since 1995 and

Ill put your house up in lights!

I'll put your house up in lights!

 Red Realty is one of the most advanced agencies in RI for marketing. We use tomorrow’s techniques today – always on the cutting edge. And here is one of the first things I will do for you – put your house up in lights! It will appear several times an hour, 24/7, on a street with a traffic count of 22,000 every day.

This entry was posted on January 18, 2010, in Real Estate.

OPEN HOUSES {not for what you think}

What I would really like to put on a sign

What I would really like to put on a sign

I have to laugh at this cartoon because it is just how I feel. You sit there for two hours praying for someone, anyone, to come in and ward off the boredom. When you list a house, the first thing people want to know is when you are doing an open house. I had one guy who actally wanted me to do one every single day! Since 1995 until today at least, I have NEVER sold a house as the result of an open house – at least not the house I had open. See that’s the key. We may not enjoy doing open houses but we do them for two reasons. 1) To make the homeowner happy and give them something visible that shows we are trying to sell their house, and 2) it gets us new clients. People that come to open houses fall into three categories. First category includes the nosey neighbor or the professional open houser – the person who goes to open houses every Sunday as a form of entertainment. Seriously. At least, the nosey neighbor, I can understand. Second is the person planning to sell their own home. They go to open houses to size up Realtors. So I have frequently gotten another listing by having an open house. Third are actual buyers. But the odds of your house being THE house are very small. But it is an excellent chance for a Realtor to pick up buyers to work with. So if your Realtor does not do open houses, don’t think they are not doing everything possible to sell your house. Perhaps they are so busy working to sell your house and all their other listings that they don’t have time for that bit of self promotion.

This entry was posted on January 18, 2010, in Real Estate.

FOUR PHASES OF SELLING

If you’re selling your home, you need to be aware that there are four critical phases of the selling process.  A mistake in any of the phases can jeopardize a fast, top-dollar sale.  Here are the phases:  1) Pricing the property to ensure the likelihood of stimulating offers.  Many people try to set a high price thinking they can come down later.  That’s a big mistake because above-market pricing stifles showings and discourages offers of any kind, usually netting the homeowner a lower price than they planned on getting. This is even more important in the current market than it has ever been before.  2) Marketing the property to attain the highest number of showings from qualified buyers.  Check your agent’s marketing plan carefully to ensure they have the ability to do more than just place it in MLS and hold a few open houses.  3) Creation and Negotiation of the purchase contract.  A good agent’s negotiating skills can make or break a purchase contract. Check their experience in these matters.  Ask questions about past transactions they handled.  4) Managing the escrow process.  During this phase, your agent must be on top of all the escrow functions: inspections, appraisals, financing, contingencies, and more.  When interviewing real estate agents, make sure you address each of the four phases of the selling process.  Your dialog will be pivotal in establishing trust and a personal chemistry that is crucial between you and your agent.  If you have a question about selling your home, please call me at 401-595-2956 or email me at KateShannon@cox.net.

This entry was posted on December 9, 2009, in Real Estate.