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Monthly Archives: April 2014

4 Places Real Estate Agents Say, “Don’t Go Cheap!”

4 Places Real Estate Agents Say As most real estate agents will tell you, remodeling, decorating or repairing your home can go a long way towards getting it sold. For that matter, it can add value to your property in case you want to sell later – that is, if you don’t choose the wrong places to buy cheap:

  • Windows – Never buy a window based on which one is cheapest. You want windows that look good, and, as most real estate agents will recommend, you want energy-efficient windows. During 2009 and 2010, you may be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency of up to $1500 when you purchase Energy Star windows.
  • Paint – Paint is one of the biggest places people skimp when it comes to cost, and a big no-no. Cheap paint may take several coats to look right; those several coats can end up leaving blotches and runs.  In addition, cheap paint has a tendency to peel or wash off under light cleaning.  If you’re going to add painting to your remodeling or repair work, quality is always better.
  • Doors – Whether it’s for a shower or a screened-in porch, the door you choose can make all the difference. A rickety shower door falling off the railing is a big “don’t buy” sign. While you don’t want to blow your whole budget, the doors throughout your house should be of quality material. Likewise, a solid front door adds to the curb appeal and security of your home. Some exterior doors also qualify for the Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency. Find out if your exterior door qualifies for an Energy Star Rebate or Tax Credit.
  • Flooring – Unless it’s expensive carpet on sale, cheap flooring never looks like anything but cheap flooring. Low cost carpet and wood flooring seldom has high durability and is likely to wear out before you’re ready to replace it again. Take the time to find quality flooring at a price you can afford – don’t go cheap!

 Many real estate agents will push quality, but the biggest point they’ll push these days is – go green! It may not be the cheapest option, but the benefits in efficiency and property value more than make up for the cost.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding In Your Home

Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding in Your HomeEven the most aesthetically pleasing homes can have mold issues. A type of fungus that thrives on moisture, mold can trigger symptoms such as itching eyes, asthma attacks and bouts of sneezing or coughing.

As a result of the possible health issues, mold is the sort of problem that should be dealt with prior to listing a home, and people who are in the market to buy a home would do well to have a licensed professional conduct a mold test on any home they’re seriously interested in buying.

What follows is a rundown of five places in the home where mold could be hiding.

The Unwanted Basement Tenant

If climate control measures are not implemented, basements can end up becoming breeding grounds for mold. Most basements get little or no direct sunlight, are often more humid than other areas of the house, and get scant ventilation, which can pose a problem should water somehow get into the basement.

Mold can go undetected for years in such spaces since it can grow behind walls, baseboards and insulation. Fortunately, detecting mold is possible not only by sight, but also by scent. A moldy or musty smell should not be ignored since it could be evidence that there is a mold problem.

The Air Conditioner’s Chilly Reception

Unfortunately, mold can take root in places that people cannot easily access and monitor such as on the inside of their air conditioner units. Mold can grow on the coils and, when moisture enters into the picture, a small problem can become a big one quickly.

People who find themselves coughing or sneezing whenever they turn on their air conditioners ought to be suspicious since mold could be the culprit.

Not On The Kitchen Menu

Leaving leftovers in the fridge for too long can create conditions where mold thrives. The mold can then get into crevices where it will have even more places to grow. The problem can become even more serious if contaminated food and appliances transfer the mold to other areas in the kitchen.

Furthermore, kitchens that are insufficiently ventilated can also have negative implications as far as food safety is concerned,

The Chimney: Where There’s Smoke…

Leaky chimneys can cause mold problems that, if not fixed, may end up infecting other areas of the house. In a leaky chimney, moisture can seep into crevices and create mold areas that may eventually make their way down to the walls. Therefore chimneys that are in need of repair should be fixed promptly so that problems don’t pop up later.

If Walls Could Talk

One of the most common places for mold to form and grow is behind walls. Humid air behind the walls can be problematic, particularly if water finds its way back there as a result of things like flooding.

It’s also possible for mold to form behind wallpaper. People can determine whether or not they have mold behind their walls by having an inspector come in and check.

Mold is no laughing matter. Before listing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to address any mold issues. People who are planning to buy a home should have an inspector conduct a test to ascertain if there are any problems.

Taking the proper steps will help to remedy any mold situation that may be present. Whether you’re looking to sell or looking to buy, the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Call your trusted real estate professional today for more information on how to deal with mold when buying or selling a home.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 28, 2014

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 28, 2014Last week’s economic news supported recent reports that home sales were fewer and home prices increased, but did so at a slower pace.

The NAR reported a slower pace of existing home sales, and FHFA reported a slower year-over-year rate of growth for home prices on properties financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell to their lowest level since July 2013. Mortgage rates rose for fixed rate mortgages, but were unchanged for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Here are the details:

Existing Home Sales Slow, Moderate Growth In Home Prices

March sales of existing homes dipped by 0.20 percent according to the NAR. 4.59 million previously owned homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis against projections of 4.55 million sales and February’s reading of 4.60 million pre-owned homes sold.

Rising home prices contributed to the slowdown in sales, which started last summer. Rapidly rising home prices due to short supplies of available homes and high demand for homes caused some buyers to leave the market. The national average price for existing homes was $198,500 in March, which represented a year-over-year increase of 7.90 percent.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that home prices for homes financed with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owned mortgages rose by approximately 7.0 percent year-over-year as of February.

Severe winter weather was cited as a possible factor in slowing home sales, but as the peak home buying season gets underway, analysts forecast that some sales lost may be recovered in warmer weather.

 Mortgage Rates Rise, New Home Sales At Lowest Level In 21 Months

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates for fixed rate mortgages rose. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by six basis points to 4.33 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also rose by six basis points to 3.39 percent.

The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.03 percent. Discount points were also unchanged at 0.60,.60 and 0.50 percent respectively.

Sales of new single-family homes slumped to their lowest level in since July 2012 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The median price of a new single family home rose to $290,000, which represented a 12.60 percent increase year-over-year.

Analysts noted that month-to-month home sales numbers are not as reliable as sales trends measured over months, but 384,000 March sales of new homes fell markedly short of expectations of 450,000 new home sales and February’s upwardly revised reading of 440,000 new homes sold.

Unemployment Ups And Downs Contribute To Buyer Uncertainty

New jobless claims rose to 329,000 against expectations of 315,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 305,000 new jobless claims. The Labor Department said that seasonal adjustments were incomplete due to the Easter holiday, which occurs on different dates.

As labor and other sectors of the economy endure ups and downs during the economic recovery, it is reasonable to expect some home buyers to put off buying homes.

This Week 

This week’s scheduled economic news includes Pending Home Sales, Case-Shiller’s Housing Market Index, the FOMC meeting and statement and Construction Spending. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release April’s Non-Farm Payrolls Report and National Unemployment Report on Friday.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Take Your Laundry From Drab To Fab With These Five Easy Fixes

Take Your Laundry From Drab to Fab With These Five Easy FixesIf you’re looking to lengthen the life span of your clothing without always needing to purchase something new to wear, consider the following five easy steps every time you do a load of laundry.

It’s a little bit of effort that goes a very long way; and who knows, you might just enjoy doing laundry again after seeing such great results!

Button, Zip, Turn Inside Out, And Separate

Spend a little bit of extra time making sure your buttons are buttoned, your zippers are zipped, and clothes are turned inside out.

Doing so will ensure that your garments are less likely to snag one another in the wash, prevent pilling, and keeping your colors from fading. It’s an extra step, but completely worth your time. Wash your colors in cold water, and separate from your whites when you can. 

While it’s tempting to wash everything together, a little separation can go a long way – especially when you’re dealing with delicates as they should always be in a separate load (or hand washed and laid flat to dry).

Hang Those Clothes Out To Dry

Stop in the name of shrinking, pilling, fading, and unraveling! Is the garment in your hand made of a delicate fabric? Is that sweater made with mainly wool or cotton? Is that t-shirt your favorite? Better hang them all to dry.

Consider purchasing a clothes drying rack, as they fold beautifully and can be tucked away in the corner when not in use, and generally range between 10 and 50 dollars. If you’re concerned over the softness of your hang to dry clothing, there are always detergents you can buy with built in softeners, but often, the quality of the water in your area may be enough.

Shorten Your Cycle

If you are washing regularly, and your clothing isn’t heavily soiled, then there is no need to set the washer to a longer cycle. The longer your clothes wash for, the more damage is done. A quick wash, believe it or not, is more than you need if you are just looking to wash out the general scent and small stains of everyday wear.

Whiten And Brighten Naturally

Stop bleaching if you don’t need to! Bleach, while it may be useful for extremely soiled clothing (do you work and play in the mud regularly?) is not needed for your everyday garments. Bleach is harsh on your clothing, and using something as simple as baking soda can have the same effect as bleach on your clothes in the wash.

A spoonful of baking soda naturally brightens your clothing by boosting the effects of your detergent. For treating specific stains, try sprinkling and rubbing some baking soda into the stain and let it sit for a bit before your wash to maximize the stain lifting action.

Soften And Scent Naturally, Too

Softening with fabric softener is great, but often fades your clothing at a faster rate than you’d like. So when it comes to softening, a dryer sheet or two will do the trick. If you’re not a fan of/ have sensitivities to strong fabric softeners or detergents, a spoonful of fresh squeezed lemon juice is a beautiful natural option for giving your laundry a fresh, pleasant scent.

Keep your laundry looking like new, and spend some time filling your laundry room with some essentials that you feel would help you become more efficient with some of the steps above. After a few loads, you’ll quickly begin to see the difference.

So on your next laundry day, don’t forget to congratulate yourself for a job well done on extending the life of your garments!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Baby On the Way? Baby Proof Your Home In Just One Weekend

Baby on the Way? Baby Proof Your Home in Just One WeekendOne of the most exciting times in a parent’s life is the time before a baby’s arrival. Between anticipation and preparation time passes in an instant, and before you know it you will be holding your little one in your arms.

Although newborns are too small to get into too much trouble, in only a few short months your child will be looking to explore the world around them. Make sure your home is ready for the adventure, and baby proofing is done in advance.

Over the course of a single weekend you can transform your home into a baby friendly safe zone, ready for discovery.

Getting Down To Have Look Around

Cupboards and corners are potential hazards, but are not the only places baby can run into trouble. Cracks and crevices can trap and scratch little fingers, and an exposed baseboard nail could lead to unneeded tears and medical attention.

These problems can be avoided with minimal time and a little filler. By bringing yourself down to baby level, you can easily get the low down on your home’s toddler readiness. Another down and dirty danger is electrical outlets. If you have lots of cords in the home, consider using power strips to keep the number of plugs needed to a minimum.

These are easy to unplug and replace with a cover when not needed, or when baby is at play. Not only will this make things easy at the outlet, but it will also save you money by minimizing wasted energy.

Switch To Greener Cleaners And Keep It Up

Of course keeping chemical cleaners and cleaning supplies out of reach is an important part of baby proofing your home, but what about the freshly mopped kitchen floor? Baby’s soft skin can easily pick up the chemical cocktail that is most traditional cleaning solutions.

Switching to natural cleaners is a safe choice for both your home and your family. With green cleaning products, you won’t have to wait until baby is away or napping before chipping away at the daily chores.

Keep Baby In Bounds And Block Danger Out

There is a contraption for every possible danger, but regardless of the measures taken, accidents can always happen. Once you have baby proofed hazardous zones like bathrooms and offices, you can add extra assurance by placing baby locks or latches on the outside of doors.

Baby gates can block off areas of the home beyond the staircase. You can use these safety gates to section off nearly any area, and portable gates are easily moved throughout the home.

Babies grow quickly, and sometimes we as parents feel unprepared for the phases and milestones that lay ahead. Knowing your home is ready to go from newborn to toddler will give the peace of mind needed to enjoy each moment that you share with baby in your home.

If there are structural challenges that simple baby proofing cannot overcome, call your local real estate professional today. Connecting buyers with just the right place is both our pleasure and priority. Finding the perfect home for you and your growing family can be a great way to transition into a new normal.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How You Can Get The Full Selling Price You Want For Your Home

How You Can Get the Full Selling Price You Want for Your HomeWhen it comes to selling your home and getting the full selling price you want, there are certain tactics and methods you can employ to ensure that this wish becomes a reality.

Avoiding the commonly made mistakes that end up lowering the value of your home and discouraging people from viewing it is ultimately the key in getting top dollar, as well carrying out the showings and sale of your home in a professional manner.

Listen to the professionals, and make sure you employ these real estate sale methods to get your desired number on your home sale.

Listing Tactic: Adding A Buffer

Always dependent on the type of market you find yourself in, a common and successful tactic in getting the price you really want for your home is adding a buffer on the list price.

This means that if you want $500,000 for your home, you should list your home somewhere around $510,000 to $520,000 to allow for some negotiating room. Even if you’d prefer not to negotiate, the majority of buyers will always assume that you have room to come down on the price, and will put in their offers accordingly.

Overpricing: Avoid At All Costs

With that being said, you don’t want to overprice your home too much so as to discourage potential buyers from looking at it, or to put your home outside of a financial bracket. Make sure you speak to your trusted real estate advisor on exactly what the right list price should be to obtain your desired value.

Increase Desire: Have Your Home Staged

In order to get the price you want for your home, you need to make a good impression on the prospective buyers. Having your home professionally staged can dramatically increase the amount of interest you receive on your home, perhaps even creating multiple offers – which is the best situation a home seller can be in!

Appeal To Online Shoppers With Professional Photos

With so much of today’s modern real estate shopping happening online, you want to ensure that your home has a strong online presence with professional photos and a digital floor plan available to prospective buyers. Also make sure that all information online is full and complete, and presents your home in the best light possible.

Always Say Yes To Open Houses And Showings

Especially in a hot market, you want to ensure that you leave your home empty for your realtor on weekends so that they can hold it open to the public. This is especially important early on in your list date so that the buyers on the market who are ready to make a move can see your house right away.

You should also apply the same importance to showings, and ensure that each showing request is promptly responded to with an easy “yes.”

If you put these tactics into your home selling plan, you will find that it will be much easier to obtain more interest from buyers. And with more interest, it will be much more likely that you will be able to obtain the price you want for your home.

So don’t underestimate the importance of these factors, and discuss them today with your trusted real estate professional. 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Six Creative Lighting Installations That Will Enhance Your Home

Six Creative Lighting Installations That Will Enhance Your HomeWhen people purchase their home, one of their common requests is “plenty of light.” And for good reason! This is a critical factor for enjoying your home, and when designing your interior, you should pay special attention to just that: your sources of light.

See them not only as a way to brighten up your room, but also as an opportunity to infuse your home with a fashionable design and aesthetic appeal. You’d be surprised at how much lighting can dramatically enhance any given room in your home.

Here are our six favorite lighting installations that are bound to give you and your home that “wow” factor.

The Chandelier For Pretty Places

Chandeliers provide arguably the prettiest and most classic fixtures possible, and they are a growing trend right now in interior design.

Acting as the “centerpiece” if you will to any room, chandeliers offer the perfect amount of brilliance and light, while instantly multiplying the room’s feeling of warmth and appeal. Create a pretty place you won’t be able to resist; hang a modern crystal chandelier above your dining room table or a bright pendant chandelier in your master bedroom.

Quirky and Contemporary Ceiling Lights

To achieve the same sense of fashion-forward style for your home’s decor but in a more practical way for the tall folks, consider a close-to-ceiling light fixture in its many different quirky and contemporary styles. You can also opt for the bright, patterned pendant style, or get a wide crystal embellished highlight for your ceiling lights.

The Demure Brilliance: Recessed Spot Lighting

For the most demure, nearly hidden brilliance, opt for recessed spot lighting. These light installations typically offer dimmer switches and provide the perfect ambiance for any space, especially kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms.

Perfect Pendants For Closer Lighting

Perfect hanging pendants come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be hung in a row for horizontal spaces like your kitchen’s eating bar. They can also be hung at varying lengths to achieve a tasteful fashion statement.

Instant Modernity: Arc Floor Lamp

The arc floor lamp, which typically rests in one corner of the room and reaches over in an arch for center lighting in a sitting area, is a growing trend in home décor. You can find these floor lamps in virtually any style, ranging from textured, retro versions to sleek, contemporary styles.

Matching Shades: Table Lamps

To tie your room together in its design aesthetic, the most perfect – and most simple – option may be matching table lamps. Perfect for your side tables in your living room, or the nightstands on either side of your bed in your master bedroom, matching shades can be a quick fix to a room that needs more brilliance and a more cohesive look.

Whether you already have plenty of natural light flooding your home, you can never have enough brilliance to rely on when the sun goes down. So take a look at these six light installations that will instantly enhance your living space, and infuse your home with the light it deserves.

And if you could use a trip through a show home for further design inspiration, call your trusted real estate advisor today for a few pointers.  

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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