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Mar 16, 2017

Join Our Team!!!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Join Our Team!!!


Jan 27, 2017

We CLOSE for Kids!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Our brokerage has been dedicated to contributing to causes that benefit children and families in our local community. Each of our Realtors at CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC contributes a portion of every dollar earned to support organizations  benefitting children. This year we have been able to contribute to amazing causes impacting the place we call home. 

Lowndes County Imagination Library
The Imagination Library is a program that provides free books to children from birth to their 5th birthday, giving young children the opportunity to learn and grow through the gift of books. Learn more about the Imagination Library by clicking here: http://www.lowndesil.org/
Peter Imes and Ashley Gressett, Lowndes County Imagination Library
Sally Kate Winters Family Services helps improve the quality of life by providing safe and loving environments of children and families in need. To see more of what their organization does click here: http://www.sallykatewinters.org/ 
We are thankful to be able to make a difference in our local community. Valuable business relationships within the Golden Triangle area, as well as the trust and loyalty of our amazing clients, have made it possible to continue contributing to child driven causes on an annual basis. Our focus is to pour back into the community we serve to help make the Golden Triangle a wonderful place to live.
CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC also makes an annual contribution to the local Fire Dept. that goes towards fire prevention education and fire safety in our schools. This program is imperative to educate our youths to not only help save homes, but most importantly to help save lives!
Thank you to our community and clients for your continued support.
Your CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates Team.

Jan 13, 2017

December Top Producers

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC


Producing Selling Listing
Patton Whitten Patton Whitten Patton Whitten
Dana McLean Becky Gunter Felishia Ferguson
Becky Gunter Dana McLean Jane Smith



















Jan 4, 2017

Our CENTURY 21 Team

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

We are excited to introduce to our clients, community, and friends, the newest member of the CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC team!

Lakeydra Walls has joined the office staff as the new Office Manager.
Lakeydra is from Columbus, MS and is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women where she received a BS in Business Marketing. Stop by our office to say hello to Lakeydra.


Dec 19, 2016

November Top Producers

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC


Producing Selling Listing
Patton Whitten Patton Whitten Patton Whitten
Dana McLean Dana McLean DJ Williams
Roger Burlingame Roger Burlingame Rusty Greene







Dec 15, 2016

43 Ways to Market Your Home

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

1.)  Make those minor repairs.

All those tiny flaws in your otherwise beautifully maintained home will add up to one thing to the observant buyer: the dreaded O.N., otherwise known as Owner Neglect.  All signs of Owner Neglect must be eliminated.

2.)  Regardless of season, tackle spring-cleaning.

Those hours spent thoroughly cleaning your home will be hours well spent when the result pays off in an early and profitable sale.  Clean windows are important!  Pay particular attention to your kitchen and bathrooms – they involve personal health and hygiene, and areas buyers scrutinize closely.

3.)  Create the illusion of spaciousness.

Make your living space appear larger by eliminating bulky, unnecessary furniture --rearranging to give the illusion of spaciousness.

4.)  Give your rooms a light, bright look.

Most buyers want large, bright, cheerful rooms.

5.)  Use color and lighting to draw attention to your home’s best selling features.

Highlight the graceful bay window with a colorful arrangement of flowers.  Color has the power to attract.  Lightning should be used to emphasis.

6.)  Disguise unsightly views

Disguise that potentially offending view, but always let light into your rooms.  Replace heavy curtains with sheer white panels.  Above all, don’t apologize for a poor view.  Never mention it to a salesperson or a buyer.

7.)  Eliminate unpleasant odors.

Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odors than others.  Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to the objectionable doggy odor.  Use powdered products like “Love My Carpet” regularly.  Mildew odors are another no-no.  Don’t allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers or old laundry to pile up in closets.

8.)  Avoid eccentricities.

Smart sellers play down individualistic touches that may express perfectly their taste and personality, but at the same time, appeal to a minority of homebuyers.  In selling, play the odds.  If your rooms are painted purple and beaded curtains hang in every doorway, don’t rely on your real estate agent to find the perfect buyer whose tastes match yours.  The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond purple walls and eccentric décor.  Two coats of paint may be the best investment you ever made.  Other areas of possible offense are those two old bugaboos: politics and religion. Everyone is entitled to his own beliefs in these areas, but if you are trying to sell to the widest possible market it is wise not to make your living room look like a campaign headquarters, or  a dining room resembling a sacred temple.

9.)  Recognize the fine line between clutter and sterility.

Notice the small details that make the rooms particularly attractive and appealing - a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, a brightly colored pillow in a wing chair, a basket of knitting yarns.  Accessories can make or break a room.  But, be on the lookout for distractive clutter.

10.)  Display photographs that show your home during other seasons.

Go through your photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all four seasons.  If hung at eye level in a well-lighted area, the pictures will speak for themselves and give you yet another selling edge.

11.) Give special attention to your home’s front entry.

No matter how lovely your home may be behind that front door, a buyer will be turned off by crumbling front steps, a doorbell that doesn’t work, creaky hinges, or chipping paint on porch columns.    Remember, first impressions are likely to color the remainder of the house tour.

Source: Houzz.com

12.)  Set the scene for you Dining Room/Dining Area by setting the table.

You can stimulate a buyer’s imagination by setting you dining table with pretty china and silver—a warm and welcoming site.  (Notice the photographs of dining rooms in any home decorating magazine.)  Avoid going overboard—any stage setting that you create should reflect the character of your entire home to be effective.

13.)  Visually enlarge a small Dining Area.

If your dining table has one or two leaves take one or two out.  Consider placing your dining table against a wall.  Remove any extra “company” chairs.  Consider putting that looming china cabinet in storage until your house is sold.  Aim for a clean and tidy look.

14.)  Use props to set a cheerful kitchen.

The kitchen continues to be the “heart of the home.”  A pleasant, working kitchen is near the top of most buyers’ list of priorities.  Set the scene with: -An open cookbook - A copper colander filled with blueberries – A basket of eggs – A bunch of carrots on a wooden cutting board – A ceramic mixing bowl and a wire whisk.

15.)  Make it smell like Grandma’s kitchen.

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven.”  These aromas are associates with happiness and a sense of well-being.  An original kitchen aroma can be created on top of your stove, or here’s a mix guaranteed to have buyers longing to whip up a batch of cookies in your kitchen:

                                Granny’s Aromatic Secret

                                1 Whole Nutmeg

                                5 Cinnamon Sticks

                                1-Tablespoon Whole Cloves

Halve the nutmeg and add all ingredients to 3 cups water in a saucepan.  Bring to a bowl and then to a low simmer.


16.) Expand your small counter space

Clean your counters of small appliances.  Check the counter top around your sink, and remove any detergent or cleanser, etc., that may be cluttering the area

17.)  Create more storage space.

If your cabinets, drawers, and closets are jammed full, buyers assume that your storage space is inadequate.  Weed out all these areas, removing what you don’t use, storing seldom-used items elsewhere, and re-organizing shelves.  Neat, organized shelves and drawers fool the eye by looking larger.   

18.)  Accent your kitchen windows.

Large, cheerful kitchen windows are a real plus and should be highlighted as a special feature of your home.  Hang a stained glass mobile or some wind chimes in front of your sunny kitchen window.  If you hang a bird feeder outside your window, nature will seem to become part of the room.

19.)  Highlight an eat-in area of your kitchen.

Accentuate by setting the table for an informal meal with bright placemats and a generous bowl of fruit as a centerpiece.

20.)  Make the laundry room cheerful and appealing.

Add a fresh coat of paint!  Is it well organized?  Piles of dirty laundry can be a real turn-off to buyer’s eye & nose!  A separate laundry room is a true asset & is appreciated by all buyers.  Don’t hide this treasure behind closed doors.  Spruce up the room - leave the door proudly open for inspection.

21.)  Set it up to do double duty.

If there’s room for a table & chair, could it be a pleasant sewing area? Set up that old Singer -place a bright colored piece of fabric under the presser foot.

22.)  Improve your bathroom’s floor covering.

Notice the word is “improve,” not “replace.”  Scrub & wax the old floor. Cover the largest area you can with a large scatter rug.

23.)  Put out fresh towels and soap.

Prospective buyers are very special guests in your home. Give them VIP treatment with fresh-smelling towels - new soap in an attractive dish.  Splurge on a box of fancy sculpture or perfumed guest soap.

24.)  Go easy on air sprays and room deodorizers.

A gentle hint of fragrance in the air is fine, but keep it subtle.

25.)  Keep your attic well light and accessible.

Whether a high-ceiling room or a crawl space under the eaves for storage, your attic area will be examined and should not detract from the well-kept appearance of your house. If your attic is reached by a steep flight of stairs, be sure that they are clutter-free & well lit; if your attic space is reached by a folding set of stairs that you pull from the ceiling, be sure the mechanism is well oiled & there is adequate light.

26.)  Erase that creepy, haunted-house feeling.

Spruce up your attic space, hide the mousetraps, and install bright lights. If your attic does have windows, be sure to clean off the grime -let in as much light as possible.  Clean is needed.

27.)  Make the most of your attic’s expansion potential.

If a large, cheerful, windowed attic, you’re sitting on a potential gold mine.  Don’t renovate your attic; just stage to suggest your attic space has terrific potential.

28.)  Spend a Saturday cleaning out your basement.

If your home has a full basement, chances are the “machinery” of your home furnace, water heater, electrical circuit breakers, etc. is located there. Since educated buyers will inspect this area, do necessary clean up & repairs. Get rid of broken tools, rusted lawn furniture, & other assorted debris that has accumulated over the years. Give your basement a thorough sweeping & organize your storage areas to present a tidy appearance. As a final touch, take a damp cloth & wipe off any dust * grime from the surface of your water heater and furnace. 

They’ll look newer!

Yes, we all want to save on our heating costs, but a chilly house can make buyers nervous and set them to wondering if your home is poorly insulated or your furnace is on its last legs.

36.)  Turn on the lights in each and every room.

You can make home showings smoother for your agent if you turn on lights in every room before prospective buyers arrive.  This also gives you an opportunity to select the lighting effects you want for each room.  Be sure not to overlook areas like your attic and basement where light switches are often difficult to locate.  No area of your home should be dark.

37.)  Turn on pleasant background music.

Music has subliminal powers.  Why else would stores bother to pipe in soft background music if not to put customers in a comfortable, relaxed mood for what else—buying?  Speaking of sound, every seller should know better than to leave a television set blaring away when his home is being shown.  This is rude and distracting.

38.)  Put pets out and send children to play at the neighbors.

Perhaps it’s unfair to lump children with pets, but that precious toddler can cause just as much inconvenience when you’re trying to sell a house.  Keep pets away from buyers.

39.) Keep out of sight when the salesperson is showing your home.

Once you’ve answered the door and welcomed the real estate agent and potential buyers, you should find something else to do—preferably outside of your home.  This is the time to take a walk or visit your neighbors or go grocery shopping.  The shrewd seller sets the scene so that buyers can walk onto the stage and immediately begin play-acting, pretending the home is already theirs.

40.)  Never volunteer information.

If you’ve followed the previous tip, you won’t be around to chat with the buyers, but if you are at home, resist the urge to volunteer information about what you consider to be important sales features.  It’s all too easy to develop seller’s “foot-in-mouth” disease.

41.)  Assemble house records for buyer perusal.

In these times of rising energy costs, buyers will most certainly ask what your home heating and electrical costs are.  If you are including any appliances in the sales price of your home, you should keep warranties and instruction booklets in this same file.

42.)  Tell everyone you meet that your house is for sale.

Why keep it a secret?  Your neighbors across the street may have friends who have been waiting to move into the neighborhood.  Word of mouth is a strong selling aid.  If each person you tell that your house is for sale tells two more people, and those people each tell two more people, word can spread quite rapidly.

43.)  Remain optimistic.

The buyer for your home will be knocking soon! 

Oct 25, 2016

Halloween Home Safety

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC


So you’ve gotten all your Halloween decorations up and you are stocked up on way too much candy, what’s next? Make sure that you’ve done everything to ensure that no one gets hurt while trick or treating at your house. Here are some important home safety tips to remember:

Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters. Make sure your front yard, walkway, and steps are swept and free of debris, wet leaves, etc. And remove anything, like flowerpots or hoses that could cause people to trip in the dark.

Use Christmas lights to illuminate the path to the door. Finally, those Christmas lights have another use besides adorning the tree. If only someone else could untangle them for you…

Make sure scary gags are harmless. Having decorations that pop up and scare trick-or-treaters can be fun — just make sure they’re safe. Instead of shovels or pitchforks, opt for rubber/fake alternatives.


Keep pets secured. Even friendly pets can become a handful when costumed kids keep showing up at the door. With lots of visitors and excitement pets may run out the door. Make sure your pets are secured in another room or leashed. And you never know what trick-or-treater might be allergic to cats or dogs.


Make sure your Jack o’ Lantern isn’t a fire hazard. Place the candle inside a small dish or tuna can to prevent it from becoming a hazard if it tips over inside the pumpkin. Or even forego the candle altogether and use Christmas lights or battery operated tea lights.


Secure your home if you will be gone.
If you won’t be home to distribute candy to trick-or-treaters, make sure your doors are locked and cars are in your garage. If you don’t want trick-or-treaters to come to your door, turn off your porch light but leave some internal lights on. With heavy foot traffic, it doesn’t hurt to leave the lights on so your house doesn’t look vacant.

Have Fun & Be Safe this Halloween!!

Oct 19, 2016

Contributing to our Community - United Way of Lowndes County

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

We are proud to continue supporting programs in our community through the United Way of Lowndes County. In 2016, we have continued with 100% office participation in our donations. Our team is passionate about improving the community in which we live and serve. United Way contributes to a variety of different organizations that support different aspects of our community and we are proud to aid them in helping them achieve their fundraising goals. Pictured below are the Realtors and office staff of CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC!


For more information about United Way of Columbus or to make a donation, visit their website:


Oct 6, 2016

J.D. Power: CENTURY 21 Three-Peat!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Recognition is the reward for hard work and dedication.

J.D. Power, the leader in customer satisfaction insights and solutions, representing the Voice of the Customer, J.D. Power’s Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study is now in its ninth year, released the 2016 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study and for the THIRD consecutive year in a row, Century 21 Real Estate received the highest ranking among national real estate companies across all four customer satisfaction segments in the study.

“Highest Overall Satisfaction for First-Time Home Buyers, First-Time Home Sellers, Repeat Home Buyers, and Repeat Home Sellers (Tied in 2016) among National Full Service Real Estate Firms, Three Years in a Row”

The CENTURY 21®  brand has received more 2016 J.D. Power Awards for home buyer and seller satisfaction than any other brand. View the press release here, released on August 3, 2016.

Here are some facts about the 2016 study:

  • Over 4,000 real estate consumers provided over 5,000 evaluations of national real estate brands.
  • These consumers bought and/or sold a home between March 2015 and April 2016.
  • The real estate brands were evaluated on a 1,000 point scale, and many factors were considered. Examples include the agents themselves, agent responsiveness, the real estate office, the closing process, and follow-up after closing.

*The CENTURY 21 brand received the highest numerical score among 5 real estate companies for first-time home buyers and sellers, repeat home buyers and sellers (in a tie for repeat home buyer) in the J.D. Power 2014-2016 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study. 2016 study based on 1,453 total responses, measuring the perceptions and experiences of customers who bought and/or sold a home between March 2015 and April 2016, surveyed February-April 2016. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com


Sep 13, 2016

2016 Commercial Dispatch Awards

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

We are honored to have been voted by our clients, friends, and community members as the Best Real Estate Firm in the Golden
Triangle, from The Dispatch Readers Poll. We are passionate about serving our clients and we are dedicated to helping our
community by matching our clients with their perfect homes!


CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Aug 31, 2016

Real Estate Terms from A- Z

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

From A-Frame Design to Zoning Variance,
we’ve got you covered on Real Estate Terms and Definitions!


Buying or selling a home may be one of the biggest financial decisions you make. It is important to be educated each step of the way. We want to partner with our clients to assist them in making the most educated decisions during this important and exciting milestone.

There are a lot of terms and phrases that get thrown around during the home buying and selling process. We want to educate our clients on all of the terminology associated with these processes. In order to help our clients better understand the process of buying or selling a home, CENTURY 21 has provided a list of commonly used terms and definitions. Browse though all the definitions or search for a specific term to get started. Click on a term to access the definition and you will also find a short video to help emphasize these terms.

Click HERE to see a full list of glossary terms from A to Z!



Aug 16, 2016

Dedicated to Serving Our Clients

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Whether you are looking to list your home for sale, relocate, buy a new home, or build your dream house, at CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC we are here to assist you in all of your real estate needs. We are honored to serve and support our clients through every step of the process. Read below what another one of our satisfied clients has to say about their CENTURY 21 Experience. 

Aug 2, 2016

Customize your Home Search Experience!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Find your perfect home using one of the easiest online property search tools. No need to register, visit our site and start searching immediately. 

To customize your home search process, visit our website, www.dorishardy.com and click FIND A HOME!

Here you will be able to search our MLS system and find the home that best fits your needs, wants, and desires. You will find accurate listings with up to date information directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). With a simple user interface you can fill in your home parameters and let the search begin. To revisit your search at a later time you can save the search criteria and pick up where you left off and see new search results.

While using our home search feature, you will also be able to:

  • View high-resolution photos, virtual tours, maps and additional media
  • Save home search preferences
  • Access data live from the MLS system, so you know it’s always up to date to the second!
  • Unlike other home search tools, you can view ACCURATE and TIMELY property information on ALL listings!

Jul 20, 2016

We CLOSE for Kids!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

We are dedicated to serving our community and in doing so supporting the children of our community.
Each of our REALTORS donates a portion of every dollar earned to support our children. 


Jul 5, 2016

Local Buying Tips Part 2

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Question 8: Is it possible to negotiate interest rates?

Compare the mortgage charts published in most newspapers.

Occasionally lenders are willing to negotiate on both the loan rate and the number of points. This, however, isn't typical among many of the established lenders who set their rates, but it never hurts to shop around, know the market and try to get the best deal. Always look at the combination of interest rate and points for the best possible transaction. This is reflected in what is called APR (actual  percentage rate).

The interest rate is much more open to negotiation on purchases that involve seller financing. These are generally based on market rates, but some flexibility exists when negotiating such a deal.

Question 9: Is it better to buy a new home or resale?

Sales price increases in either type of housing are strongly tied to location, growth in the local housing market and the state of the overall economy.

Some people feel that buying into a new home community is a bit riskier than purchasing a house in an established neighborhood. Future appreciation in value in either case depends upon many of the same factors. Others believe that a new home is less risky because things won't "wear out" and need replacement.

"Existing homes have been appreciating a little more than new homes but every once in a while they're at the same level and sometimes the new home prices go up a little quicker" according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).

NAR figures show the median price of existing homes went up 3 percent between 1994 and 1995; projections are that prices will increase 3.2 percent in 1996 and 1.2 percent in 1997.

New home median prices went up 0.8 percent in 1995 and are likely to increase another 0.5 percent in 1996. For 1997, the group predicts a 1.1 gain in median new home prices.

Question 10: Fixer-Uppers – Are they good or bad?

Distressed properties or fixer-uppers can be found everywhere. These properties are poorly maintained and have a lower market value than other houses in the neighborhood. It is often recommended that buyers find the least desirable house in the best neighborhood. You must then decide if the expense required to bring the value of that property to its full potential market value is within your budget. Most buyers should avoid run-down houses that need major structural repairs. Remember the movie " The Money Pit?" Those properties should be left to the builder or tradesman normally engaged in the repair business.

Question 11: Can you borrow the money to repair?

HUD's Rehabilitation loan program, Section 203(K), is a program designed to facilitate major structural rehabilitation of properties with one to four units that are more than one year old. Condominiums are not eligible.

A 203(K) loan is frequently done as a combination loan. You purchase a "fixer-upper" property "as is" and rehabilitate it. Or, you may refinance a temporary loan to buy the property and do the rehabilitation. It can also be done as a rehabilitation-only loan.

Investors are required to put 15 percent down. Owner/occupants have a required down payment of 3 to 5 percent. A minimum of $5,000 must be spent on major improvements.

Major repairs can be a new heating/air system, roof, replacement windows, etc. You may then also finance additional repairs and improvements such as new carpeting, kitchen cabinets, appliances, etc. Of course, you must "qualify" for the total amount you will be borrowing through this program.

Two appraisals are required. These appraisals will be on the property "as repaired" not "as is." Plans and specifications for the proposed work must be submitted for architectural review and cost estimation. Once approved, mortgage proceeds are advanced periodically during the rehabilitation period to finance the construction costs.

Question 12: Is there a good “return” for my efforts?

Remodeling a home improves its livability and enhances curb appeal, making it more salable to potential buyers. Some of the popular improvement projects are updated kitchens and baths, enlarged master bedroom suits, home office additions and increased amenities in older homes.

The resale market is often difficult because of competition with new construction. Your home needs every competitive advantage if you are selling an older home.

Home offices are a relatively new remodeling trend. Adding one to a house often recoups 58 percent of the costs, according to a survey found in a report called "Cost vs. Value Report" in Remodeling Magazine.

Question 13: Are foreclosures good or bad ideas?

The incidence of foreclosures is cyclical, based on national and regional economic trends.

People can get a rough estimate of the number of foreclosures in a target area by dividing its population by 2,500, according to John T. Reed of Reed Publishing, Danville, Calif.

New England had so many foreclosures that newspapers added foreclosures-only sections to their real estate classified advertising section. But these states recovered in the mid-1990's.

Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale can be risky and dangerous. The process has many disadvantages. There is no financing so purchases require cash. The title needs to be checked before the purchase or the buyer could buy a seriously deficient title. The property's condition is not well known and an interior inspection of the property is generally not possible before the sale.

Additionally Estate (probate) and foreclosure sales are exempt from some states' disclosure laws. The law protects the seller (usually an heir or financial institution) who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.

Question 14: When buying a home, how much does my REALTOR® need to know?

Be sure to find out who your REALTOR® is representing before you tell them too much. The degree of trust you have in a REALTOR® may depend upon their legal obligation of representation. An agency working with a buyer has three possible choices of representation. The REALTOR® can represent the buyer exclusively, called buyer agency, or represent the seller exclusively, called seller agency, or represent both the buyer and seller in a dual agency situation. Some states require REALTORS® to disclose all possible agency relationships before they enter into a residential real estate transaction. Here is a summary of the three basic types:

  1.  In a traditional relationship, real estate REALTORS® and brokers have a fiduciary relationship to the seller. Be aware that the seller pays the commission of both brokers, not just the one who lists and shows the property, but also to the sub-broker, who brings the ready, willing and able buyer to the table.
  2. Dual agency exists if two REALTORS® working for the same broker represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. Potential conflict of interest is created if the listing REALTOR® has advance knowledge of another buyer's offer. Therefore, the law states that a dual REALTOR® shall not disclose to the buyer that the seller will accept less than the list price or disclose to the seller that the buyer will pay more than the offer price without express written permission.
  3. A buyer can hire a REALTOR® who will represent their interests exclusively. A buyer's REALTOR® usually requires a retainer which is refunded once the buyer purchases a house. The amount of the retainer differs from REALTOR® to REALTOR®. A buyer's REALTOR® can perform enhanced services for the buyer, such as preparing a market analysis on the home they are buying. All information provided to the buyer's REALTOR® shall remain confidential and will not be relayed to the seller's REALTOR®. 


Jun 16, 2016

Local Buying Tips

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Question 1: What price home can I afford? 

As a "rule of thumb" you can afford to buy a home equal in price to twice your gross annual income. More precisely, the price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:

  1. Your income.
  2. The amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender.
  3. Your outstanding debts.
  4. Your credit history.
  5. The type of mortgage you select.
  6. Current interest rates.

Lenders will analyze your income in relation to the projected home cost and your outstanding debts. This will determine the sum you can borrow. Your housing income-to-expense ratio is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which includes the principal and interest payment on your loan, property taxes and hazard insurance. The sum of these costs is referred to as "PITI (principle-interest-taxes-insurance)."

Monthly homeowner association dues, if you're purchasing a condominium or townhouse, and private mortgage insurance are added to the PITI. Your housing income-to-expense ratio should fall in the 28 to 33 percent range. 28 percent of your gross monthly income is allotted toward PITI. 33 percent of you gross monthly income is allowed for PITI and all long term debt. Some lenders will go higher under certain circumstances.. Your total income-to-debt ratio should not exceed 34 to 38 percent of your gross income.

Question 2: How do I find out about the condition of the home I’m considering?

First and foremost, it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional person to inspect the home. Many inspectors belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). They attend seminars and stay abreast of the latest developments.

Secondly, some states require sellers to complete a disclosure form revealing everything known about their property. Home sellers are required to indicate any significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home's major systems. A checklist specifies interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, as well as the electrical and plumbing systems.

The form also asks sellers to note the presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners, any encroachment of easements, room additions or repairs made without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning violations, citations against the property and lawsuits against the seller affecting the property.

Also look for settling, sliding or soil problems, flooding or drainage problems.

People buying a condominium must be told about covenants, codes and restrictions or other deed restrictions, if the homeowners association has any authority over the subject property and ownership of common areas with others. Be sure to ask questions about anything that remains unclear or does not seem to be properly addressed by the forms provided to you.

Question 3: How low can I consider offering?

There are always some sellers who must sell quickly, however a very low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately. In a strong buyer's market, the below-market offer will usually either be accepted or generate a counteroffer. If few offers are being made, an outright rejection of offers becomes unlikely. In a strong seller's market, offers are often higher than full price. While it is true that offers at or above full price are more likely to be accepted by the seller, there are other considerations involved:

  1. Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer's current house? If so, such an offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition.
  2. Is the offer made on the house "as is," or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs before the close of escrow or make a price concession instead?
  3. Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency.
  4. Are there any requests for seller concessions, such as asking the seller to contribute towards points and/or closing costs? If so, the offer is not really full price.

Question 4: How and what do I negotiate?

Different sellers price houses very differently. Some deliberately overprice, others ask for  close to what they hope to get and a few (maybe the most clever) underprice their house in the hope that potential buyers will compete and overbid. A seller's advertised price should be treated only as a rough estimate of what they would like to receive.

If possible, try to learn about the seller's motivation. For example, a lower price with a speedy escrow may be more acceptable to someone who must move quickly due to a job transfer. People going through a divorce or those who are eager to move into another home are frequently more receptive to lower offers.

Some buyers believe in making deliberate low-ball offers. While any offer can be presented to the seller, a low-ball offer often sours a prospective sale and discourages the seller from negotiating at all. Unless the house is extremely overpriced, the offer probably will be rejected anyway.

Before making an offer, investigate how much comparable homes have sold for in the area so that you can determine whether the home is priced right.

Question 5: What about my down payment? Should I put more or less down, if I can afford it?

Various types of loan programs exist. Some FHA loans require a minimum of 3 percent down payment or 5 percent on conventional loans. VA loans for veterans can require no money down.

Putting down as little as possible allows buyers to take full advantage of the tax benefits of home ownership. Mortgage interest and property taxes are fully deductible from state and federal income taxes. Buyers using a small down payment also have a reserve for making unexpected improvements. It may be more prudent to make a larger down payment and thereby reduce the amount of debt that must be financed. If a buyer puts twenty percent or more as a down payment on their desired home, the requirement for mortgage insurance will be waived.

Mortgage insurance is a requirement on all loans, with the exception of veterans guaranteed loans. That means a full years premium for the insurance is collected "up front' at the closing of escrow, plus you will be paying monthly as part of your PITI.

Question 6: What is title insurance? 

Title insurance is a form of insurance in favor of an owner, lessee, mortgage or other holder of an estate lien, or other interest in real property. It indemnifies against loss equal to the face amount of the policy, suffered by reason of title being vested otherwise than as stated, or because of defects in the title, liens and encumbrances not set forth or otherwise specifically excluded in the policy, whether or not in the public land records, and other matters included within the policy form, such as lack of access to the property, loss due to unmarketability of title, etc. The title policy form sets forth the specific risks insured against. Additional coverage of related risks may also be added by endorsements to the policy or by the inclusion of additional affirmation insurance to modify or supersede the impact of certain exceptions, exclusions or printed policy "conditions." The policy also protects the insured for liability on various warranties of title.

In addition, the policy provides protection in an unlimited amount against costs and expenses incurred in defending the insured estate or interest.

Before it issues a title policy, the title insurance company performs, or has performed for it, an extensive search, examination and interpretation of the legal effect of all relevant public records to determine the existence of possible rights, claims, liens or encumbrance that affect the property.

However, even the most comprehensive title examination, made by the most highly skilled attorney or lay expert, can not protect against all title defects and claims. These are commonly referred to as "hidden risks." The most common examples of these hidden risks are fraud, forgery, alteration of documents, impersonation, secret marital status, incapacity of parties (whether they be individuals, corporations, trusts or any other type), and inadequate or lack of powers of REALTORS® or fiduciaries. Some other hidden risks include various laws and regulations that create or permit interests, claims and liens without requiring that they first be filed or recorded in some form so that the potential buyers and lenders can find them before parting with their money.

Since the cost for home owner's title insurance is usually sharply reduced when taken simultaneously with the issuance of a purchase money mortgage, the risk is one that a well informed buyer should not take. In fact, several states have adopted statutory requirements which require a notice to home buyers as to the availability of title insurance similar to that being obtained by their purchase money mortgages.

Question 7: What steps should I take when looking for a home loan?

It is strongly recommended that home buyers are prequalified or pre-approved for a loan as their first step in the process. By being prequalified, a buyer knows exactly how much house can be afforded. More informed decisions can be made in the market place. This does not mean they will definitely get the loan because their credit reports, wages and bank statements still need to be verified before a commitment from the lender for the loan can be granted. Most mortgage lenders will prequalify at no charge. Many offer this service on the internet.

In order to be pre-approved, an application will be taken. For a fee, your credit report will be obtained, your employment and income will be verified, and your checking/savings accounts will be confirmed. All the necessary documentation will have been completed for you to obtain a loan. The only things remaining will be your search for a home, obtaining an appraisal on the selected property to prove its value to the bank and performing whatever inspections you may desire. This process considerably shortens the time needed before closing.

Jun 3, 2016

Home Selling Tips

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

In order to engage in a great venture, you must first have a spirit of adventure! Are you ready for the voyage of your life? We can promise you smooth sailing and a spectacular journey if you partner with us! Whether you are thinking about upgrading in order to accommodate the needs of your growing family, or downgrading for retirement or in order to save on those outrageous electricity and gas bills, we are here to help!

Our team of top professionals will assist you with every aspect of the selling process-from the initial listing presentation to the final exchange of title. Our Realtors® will guide you step by step through the labyrinth of business negotiations and help you to effectively market your property. They will work closely with you to identify your goals and needs so that they can better assist you in accomplishing your objectives.  Additionally, they will carefully study the unique features of your home and develop a business strategy to differentiate your property from the other homes in your market. Our Realtors® are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service and to selling your house in the shortest period of time possible at the highest attainable price!

In an effort to achieve our business goal of full customer satisfaction, we are pleased to provide you with the following marketing support services. We utilize these services, along with our proven advertising strategies, to better position your property in the marketplace and to maximize your pool of potential buyers.

We develop a unique and attractive prospectus for each property we list. They are posted on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website and a copy is given to interested buyers who need more information about your property or would like to have a visual reminder of the features of your home.

High Quality Visual Representation
We take high-resolution digital photos and create top-quality visual tours of the exterior and interior of your house. These can be viewed on our company website; Realtor.com; and the MLS website, assuring you of maximum internet exposure. Office use of interactive media technology allows a link to your property information to be sent to potential buyers in an email format. The information can then be viewed by the recipient as a full-scale media presentation, thus engaging the viewer and generating excitement about your property.

Property Analytics
We track all activity associated with your property. We collect marketing information regarding the number of showings, the showing agents, buyers’ feedback, and sales offers.  You are kept informed about the status of each inquiry.

Advanced Advertising
We engage in multi-media advertising to raise public awareness of our company’s operations and excite interest in our featured properties. We periodically display our properties through home previews and open house announcements, as well as through direct mailings of promotional materials to prospective buyers.

State of the Art Marketing
We employ state-of-the-art marketing tools to determine the fair market value of your property. An accurate estimate of your property value is crucial for the development of an effective marketing strategy for your home.

Global Exposure
We feature your property globally though the marketing portals of our international relocation network. Our top notch technology and worldwide connections make it possible for global buyers to view the profile of your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We strongly encourage you to harness the potential of our international broker system and the brand power of CENTURY 21®, the most recognized name in real estate. 

May 23, 2016

Welcome to Our Business Home

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC

Thanks for stopping by our blog, Our Business Home! Here at CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy & Associates, LLC we don’t just sell houses, we match houses with people. Houses that fit their needs, dreams, and investments. Houses that become homes. We deliver integrity without compromise and we have a commitment to excellence.

Extra care and a personal touch...that’s our style. We are dedicated to serving you...it’s just that simple.