Healthy Living Trends

•February 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Healthy living is a significant factor in recent housing trends. The number of buyers looking for homes promoting a lifestyle centered less on commuting and more on community is growing.

More homes are being built or refurbished in “walkable” urban and rural areas, where less daily commuting is necessary. In suburban and rural areas community features like convenient shopping, parks, and entertainment centers are more desirable than ever.

If you are interested in buying a home, call me. I will use my knowledge and expertise to guide you to the right home for you.

Why Buy In The Winter?

•February 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

This winter may be the best time to buy a home. Home sales area being pushed upwards due to job creation. Surveys of individuals who have home buying plans points to a strong season. The questions is: why buy in the winter?

Home inventory is not likely to increase before late spring and probably not quickly enough to keep up with demand. If you are considering a home purchase, consider the benefits of buying now!!

Those who are ready to purchase in the next few winter months will be faced with less competition and more choices, and may avoid the risk of home prices rising dramatically in the spring.

 

Home Pricing Tips

•February 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Keep these tips in mind

Your asking price should be based on your competition – comparable local listings – not on how much you paid for your home or renovations. Go to open houses in the area, and check out recent home sales to get a better idea of home values. Most importantly, contact a professional! A realtor will help you market and price your home competitively.

Remember that setting a price very close to the going rate will not allow room for buyers to negotiate downward. If your house has been on the market for several weeks, you may need to adjust your price.

If you would like more information about your home’s value and what to expect during the selling process, give me a call. I will use my expertise to create an efficient strategy that suits your needs.

 

 

How To Avoid Buying a Money Pit

•January 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Fortunately, there are a number of real-life strategies that buyers can act on to prevent their own home-buying plotline from including a lemon of a home. Here are five steps that will help you avoid buying a home that needs extensive home repairs.

1. Attend inspections  

There are a lot of things you can outsource and rely on professional representatives to do when you’re buying a home, but you should attend your own inspections, including the overall home inspection, pest inspection, roof inspection, and others. When you’re there in person, the inspector is able to physically show you the items that may need repair and give you their professional opinion of how serious and large needed repairs may actually be. The written report may lack this level of detail.

If you are at the inspection in the flesh, you can brief the inspector on what level of cost and effort you consider major (and what you consider minor). You can ask them to help you gauge roughly which repairs take priority in terms of safety and cost.

2. Read the reports and disclosures

Attending your inspection is just the first step. Reading the inspectors’ reports is critical to avoid a money pit — both the reports generated by your own inspectors and any reports and disclosures provided to you by the seller. Things to watch for and investigate further in the seller’s reports and disclosures include repairs the seller completed themselves, repeated repairs to the same home feature (such as multiple repairs to the central air unit), water and leakage issues, and any reports of nonfunctioning mechanical or other systems in the home.

In your inspectors’ reports, make sure to note repair estimates they offer, items that seem as though they will have to be completed soon (versus upgrades you can do over the long run), and items that seem as though they might be the most costly. You should especially pay attention to recommendations that come from a specialist. If your general inspector is calling in a specialist (say, for termite damage), it’s a sign that the problem could be big — and expensive.

It behooves you to follow up on your reports and disclosures by working with your agent to list your questions and concerns, ask the inspector(s) and seller follow-up questions, obtain follow-up inspections (including obtaining an extension of your inspection contingency, if needed), and obtaining reliable repair estimates.

3. Get multiple repair bids  

While your pest, roof, and other inspection specialists may offer you a repair cost estimate with your report, most general property inspectors do not — many states even forbid it by law. Money pits often occur when buyers buy a home thinking it just needs a little work but actually turns out to be a much more costly or involved repaironce the actual repair contractor provides an estimate. Avoid surprises by getting multiple repair bids from reputable contractors while you are still within the inspection contingency time frame of your contract. These repair estimates can also provide the basis for any renegotiation you and your agent choose to initiate with the seller for price reduction, repairs, or increased closing cost credits.

4. Stop overconfidence in its tracks

Unless you are a construction professional, all but the most minor home improvement or repair projects tend to take more time and money to do yourself than you expect at the outset. Even if you expect to cut costs by doing some work yourself, obtain bids on the repairs or upgrades you plan from actual professionals, so you can at least be armed with the information about what it will cost to get them done if you can’t complete them for any reason.

5. Prioritize price reductions and credits over seller repairs

For the most part, buyers will select their own materials and repair contractors with more care and are generally more invested in ensuring that repairs are completed to their satisfaction than an outgoing seller. If you are negotiating with your home’s seller over repairs that need to happen, discuss with your agent whether it might make sense to ask for a price reduction or a closing cost credit to offset the cost of the repairs so you can have them completed to your standards and with your choice of materials and contractors after closing.

 

Avoid Home Decorating Mistakes

•January 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Photo: © Breadmaker – Shutterstock

Home decorating is full of traps for the unwary. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, and skillful decorators can often ignore the guidelines. They may even create striking effects by breaking convention, but it takes a trained eye to do so. For the less experienced, there are small and easy tips to follow to achieve a more professional look.

Paint: A color that looks just right as a small sample may appear either far brighter or much darker when applied to a large wall. To be safe, choose a color slightly lighter than the effect you wish to achieve. Consider also the amount of natural light the wall or room receives, as this will influence the final effect.

Pictures: A surprisingly common error is hanging paintings or pictures too high. Enlist someone’s help to hold the pictures in place while you “eyeball” them to see where they look best.

When hanging pictures, think of the wall (or other space) where it will hang like a frame. Would you put a 4-inch thick frame around a postcard? You may be able to get away with large pictures in a small space, but small pictures in a large space are seldom effective.

Rugs: To be effective, a rug or mat should define an area, not just cover bare floor. Use rugs to unify arrangements of furniture, such as two easy chairs and a coffee table.

Furniture arrangement: It’s often tempting to push sofas and chairs right against the wall, especially in a smaller room. Ideally, leave a gap of at least 4 inches or more if space permits.

Scale: Matching an item of décor to the space it will occupy is key. Most of us know intuitively that large, heavy furniture may look incongruous in a small room; equally, spindly furniture may be too delicate in a larger space.

The same principles apply to patterns, whether it’s on wallpaper or curtains. A big and bold pattern may overwhelm a small space, whereas a small print may seem to disappear in a large area.

Eclectic styles: It’s possible to mix styles from different periods; for example, juxtapose and contrast old cottage furniture with bright modern prints. However, unless done carefully, it can appear a bit mishmash. When combining different styles, try to find something that brings them together. If your furniture is a mix of styles and ages, then look for coordinating pieces of similar type and color. A mix of woods and styles tends to look untidy and uncoordinated. Similarly, you can bring together a display of diverse pictures or family photos with frames that are the same style and color.

When planning a home makeover, give yourself space for experimentation and error. Never leap into irreversible decisions that could be expensive to remedy—or that you might have to live with for a long time.

Expect Price Growth In Next 12 Months

•December 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

In the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, NAR asks REALTORS® “In the neighborhood or area where you make most of your sales, what are your expectations for residential property prices over the next year?” The map below shows the median expected price change in the next 12 months for each state, reported in the October 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report (http://www.realtor.org/reports/realtors-confidence-index) .10

REALTOR® respondents from Florida were the most upbeat, with a median expected price growth in the range of five to six percent. In Washington, Nevada, and Colorado, the median expected price growth among respondents was four to five percent.

Nationally, REALTORS® who responded to the October 2015 survey expected prices to increase by 3.2 percent over the next 12 months (3.2 percent in September 2015; 3.0 percent in October 2014). REALTORS® expect the recent strong price growth to moderate as rising prices have made homes “unaffordable” for many, with home prices almost at par with their levels prior to the housing downturn.

Design Your Home To Be Gender Neutral

•December 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Hesitant to paint your living room accent wall that bright new trending color before listing your home this spring? Worried those beautiful floral patterned curtains in the bedroom will scare your husband away? Whether preparing your home for sale or updating your décor with a fresh new look for the season, it’s important to keep the following styling tips in mind in order to appeal to both gender’s personal tastes.

PJ_great room

1. Choose a neutral color base.
A hard and fast rule for neutralizing is starting with shades of gray, beige, and white for walls, flooring, countertops and larger furnishings. To add some depth, use deeper tones like navy or black paired with pops of color in accents such as pillows, rugs, curtains, and wall art.

PJ_familyroom

2. Choose tailored furniture with modern accents. Big tufted velvet or floral patterned sofas speak more to feminine tastes with a more formal style while a streamlined sofa (pictured above) in a neutral fabric paired with a contemporary coffee table and modern accents creates a relaxed, welcoming feel. Adding an orange leather chair with a herringbone couch fabric will please both sexes. 

3. Bring in texture and pattern in accents. A patterned rug along with fun accents such as cozy woven throws and textured pillows is a great way to add generic, chic appeal. Avoid delicate trinkets on tables and shelves. Instead, try adding a little industrial or vintage style with chrome, metal, and brass side tables, floor lamps, and other finishing touches.

4. Mix and match fabrics. Leather or velvet fabric furniture can be neutralized by adding accent pillows in linen, cotton, or canvas and simply draping a cashmere throw. Window treatments should be kept simple with soft, easy flowing fabrics or a tailored roman shade style.

PJ_bathroom

5. Add elements from nature. Add a natural touch with earthy elements such as reclaimed wood tables, tree stump stools, woven baskets, natural fiber rugs, and twisted tree branch arrangements. Instead of a feminine style silk floral arrangement, try a cactus plant or other faux potted greenery. And wall art with a coastal or nautical theme or any landscape scenery are all perfect ways to add a mutually pleasing style.