GOING TO THE CHAPEL
I and Love and You
Happy June, y’all! Love is in the air! I hope you’re enjoying the wedding season as much as I am. It’s nothing but hope and white dresses, far as the eye can see. This is the time of year when anything and everything feels possible.
In June, I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite quotes about marriage, which works equally well for real estate: “A good marriage is one where each partner secretly suspects they got the better deal.”
So let’s all raise a wine glass full of club soda and toast to the love and marriage edition of Glennda’s Gazette.
First love, second wife, third real estate agent… #GlenndaBaker #AtlantaRealEstate #RealEstate #FirstLove￼ #secondwife
HELP ME HELP YOU
Because I’m in the Business of You
Y’all were so sweet last week to fill out my poll, so I’m asking for your input again. Looks like the majority here are seasoned agents, so I want to make sure I am my most helpful. Please tell me in a perfect world how can I bring value to you! This newsletter isn’t a vanity play. It truly is a place where I want you to come to be inspired, impacted and informed!
What is the most difficult part of your real estate business?
THE REALITY OF REAL ESTATE
Marriage or Mortgage or Both? (I Love This, By the Way)
During the pandemic, a show called Marriage or Mortgage premiered on Netflix. It featured couples who were trying to figure out whether they should spend their nest egg on a splashy wedding or a home down payment.
Photo credit @Netflix
Oh, my stars and stripes, did I find myself hollering at the couples on the screen for bypassing these beautiful, well-located and appointed homes, opting instead for landlords and ceremonies featuring taco trucks and craft cocktails.
I mean, a wedding is one day. Real estate is forever. My own daughter opted to buy a house rather than have a big splashy wedding!
According to the National Association of Realtors, 61% of homebuyers are married couples, as opposed to 10% who are unmarried couples. Now, that doesn’t mean unmarried couples have less of a commitment to each other. (Or aren’t happier, for that matter.) The thing is, those who are legally wed do possess an advantage over single borrowers. Lenders see married couples as being more stable and financially secure, which means that married couples are more likely to be approved for a mortgage and receive a lower interest rate.
Lenders trend toward lending to married couples as they often have a higher income than single borrowers (don’t worry–I’m covering the topic of being a single buyer in July), so it’s more likely that a duo can cover the monthly mortgage payments. Lenders also view married couples as less likely to default on their loans, as the assumption is they have a shared interest in maintaining their homes. Plus, married couples are more likely to stay in their homes for longer periods of time, particularly if they have children in a desirable school district, so it’s less likely they’ll prepay their mortgage loan, which can mean big bucks for the lender.
Now, before you rush your unmarried couple clients to the altar, remember that their marital status alone won’t impact whether they’ll qualify for the loan as the lender will qualify each applicant’s individual income and credit history.
But maybe do remind them that they’re better off with a thirty-year, equity-producing commitment than shelling out thousands of dollars for a donut wall for a day.
SUGAR & SPICE REAL ESTATE ADVICE
Are You Going to Do It Before Marriage?
Of course, I’m talking about buying a home together before you’re legally wed. (Y’all have some dirty minds.) If this is something you’re considering, make sure you listen to my advice first!
ONCE UPON A TIME WITH GLENNDA
Everyone wants to love and be loved. We all want our happily ever after. No one goes into a marriage thinking, There’s more than a fifty percent chance that this won’t work, because then we’d never put on that poofy white dress and stroll down that aisle.
Marriage is the ultimate expression of optimism.
Now, even when your name is Glennda Baker and only awesome things happen for you, sometimes despite your best efforts, love ends.
When it comes to divorce, you might think that the collateral damage is the family. And, of course, it is.
However, you may not realize that the house typically is also a victim of divorce. The upkeep often goes down because the husband's moved out and there's nobody to cut the yard. There's nobody to change that high light bulb on the front porch, no one to squirt the pesticide at that hornet’s nest in the apple tree, no one who can secure that tricky gate latch, no one who understands how to coax additional blooms out of the hydrangea bushes lining the walkway.
When a couple breaks up, frequently the money for the upkeep stops flowing because one partner is staying in the house and the other partner doesn't want to pay for it. Maintenance automatically gets deferred and typically the person who’s left in the house doesn’t know what to do. Often the remaining party—and this is equally accurate for either sex—only takes care of it to the best of their singular abilities. The remaining spouse might not know how to work an Allen wrench, or when to balance the rose garden’s pH levels. That deferred maintenance just goes on and on as that divorce goes on and on.
By the end of the day, that house is a shell of the grandeur that it once was. It’s sad.
Maybe you’re dealing with this with your clients, or maybe you’re going through this yourself. But I want to tell you that this downward spiral won’t last forever. I’m living proof.
For me, I lost my dream home in Indian Hills in my last divorce. I loved that house the moment that I laid eyes on it. Oh, my stars, the feeling I had looking out over the golf course. I was so proud to live there because I was fulfilling my mom’s dream of having home on a golf course. I felt like I was honoring her every time I peeked out those panorama doors at a sea of manicured green.
Still, at the end of the day, I came to realize it was just a house.
Yes, it killed me a little to lose it in the divorce because I felt like I worked so hard to make that house a home. But, ultimately, home is where you are with your family. What I didn’t know at the time was that divorce would be my happy ending. I didn’t know that I was setting myself up for a lifetime of independence and joy, nor that I’d end up buying the specific home on which my mother had always set her heart. In the words of Semi-Sonic, I learned that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
So what you must remember is that people, like homes, are resilient, and that love is always a renewable resource.
Today, We’re Real Anonymous
Normally, I like to feature those who write in, but this question—and it’s a good one—came in anonymously from a homeowner on Instagram…
I am engaged. My fiancé does not want to put in any money toward the down payment but he is agreeing to pay the monthly mortgage payment if I put down the down payment. We want to buy in the $350,000 range… I am planning to put down 20%. He says that it will all work out over time. My concern is that I am putting in the initial equity. If something goes wrong and we break up and/or get divorced, he would get half of the equity which I have contributed the lion’s share of. How do I handle that without him getting upset?”
OMS… Great question! You need to pose this question to your fiancé. Having clarity and certainty and something in writing that outlines the terms that you both agree to are critical to success. If he is going to get upset by acknowledging that the down payment came from your separate funds, that is a red flag. (I bolded that part because it’s that important.) I hope you live happily ever after and never have to find out, but it would be much better to know what he is going to want if things go south now than later!
I Say This So Much, It’s Basically My Mantra
There’s never a problem ‘til there’s a problem.”