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Maintenance Skills You Should Know

1/24/2020

5 Maintenance Skills All Homeowners Should Know

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Owning a home can be one of the most important parts of a satisfying lifestyle. The joy of coming home to someplace you can call your very own offers security and comfort. Yet owning a home comes with responsibilities as well; maintaining the home in proper condition is critical to avoid larger problems later.

While some people are handier than others, here are 5 maintenance skills anyone can master.

  1. How to Turn off Your Gas and Water – If you smell gas o have a water leak,taking quick action to shut off the source to the home while you wait for a professional can save thousands of dollars, and even lives.

  2. Understanding How Electricity Is Fed to Your Home – Learn how to reset GFI outlets and popped breakers at the panel to avoid expensive house calls.

  3. How to Find a Wall Stud – Avoid dry wall repair when hanging pictures or shelves.

  4. How to Change Your Air Filters – Keep your air fresh and your HVAC systems running efficiently.

  5. How to Address Simple Plumbing – From fixing a running toilet to recalling the shower, simple plumbing related issues can save money in service calls and damage.

A quick visit to the local home supply store or afternoon online watching repair videos can help any homeowner tackle a few simple do-it-yourself tasks around the house. Learning a few basic maintenance skills will ensure you and your loved ones are safe and you’ll help your home stay in top condition.

What to Repair in your HomeBefore you List

5/27/2019



A lot of money goes into buying a new house so it is understandable if a seller feels hesitant investing even more money to fix up their current house prior to selling. However, sellers may not realize that some of the issues they live with everyday and consider minor, such as the hallway light switch or the kitchen sink that has plumbing issues, may actually be considered major to home buyers. These issues may even prevent buyers from making an offer on a home or making a lower offer. It’s crucial to keep your house presentable and in good shape before you list it on the market. That being said, read on to find out what repairs you might want to consider before you list on your house on the market.

Roof Problems

A roof is one of the most important components of a home, protecting all that is underneath. Additionally, roofs are major expenses to replace. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the roof well maintained and free of damage and leaks. Issues like water and sun damage, clogged gutters, and rotting will lead to bigger issues if not fixed timely. Tending to these items immediately will help prevent further damage and help present the home well.

Poor Maintenance

Minor issues such as damaged flooring, paint chipping, and old carpeting can be easily fixed to give your home a renovation. Your goal is to make your home appealing so start by replacing anything that is heavily worn and adding a fresh coat of paint. And these minor upgrades can be inexpensive because you’ll most likely see a return on investment.

Plumbing

Plumbing problems can result in minor or major issues and it is very important to take care of these issues right away as they can lead to furtherproblems. Bigger problems such as water damage can lead to mold and easy fixes to leaky faucets can be replaced inexpensively.

Wiring

Electrical problems can cause a wide variety of problems. Smaller fixes such as faulty switches, missing wire nuts, or damaged junction boxes can be

fixed with a good electrician. Replacing a circuit breaker might be needed if they don’t match the amperage of your home. Some repairs are obvious to see and others aren’t so it’s a good idea to run a pre-inspection of your house before listing. After, review it with your realtor because they can advise on which ones are the first priority.

How Incorporating Natural Design Elements Can Help You Sleep

5/22/2019

As a working mom of two littles life is always on the go and some days sleep is hard to come by. Even worse is the feeling of being dog tired when you've slept all night. Today, a guest post on how to improve the quality of your sleep with natural design elements. The text was written by Amy Highland, an expert at SleepHelp.org. Enjoy!

How Incorporating Natural Design Elements Can Help You Sleep

 Sleeping outdoors isn’t necessarily conducive to sleep, but bringing elements of the outdoors can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed so you have an easier time getting to sleep. And some natural elements, such as air cleaning plants, can make your sleep environment a more healthy place to spend your night.

Why Nature is Good for Sleep

 Nature can be calming and offer relaxation and focus for sleep. Natural colors, cleaner air, and natural materials may make your bedroom more healthy and conducive to sleep.

 Air quality in particular can make a difference in how well you sleep at night. Research has found that fresher bedroom air tends to offer better sleep quality. In a recent study, participants who had fresher bedroom air were less sleepy, felt better the next day, and were more able to concentrate and perform well in a test of logical thinking.

 If you’re struggling with health issues, nature may be especially helpful for sleep. A recent study found that patients with hospital rooms that included plants and flowers had more positive signs of healing. Those patients had lower heart rates and blood pressure. They reported lower pain, anxiety, and fatigue ratings as well, taking fewer painkillers after surgery.

How You Can Bring Nature Into Your Bedroom

Using natural design may help you sleep better at night, offering a more relaxing and tranquil place to spend your time resting.

 Choose natural bedding materials. Natural bedding fibers, including cotton and bamboo, may offer a more comfortable night of sleep than synthetic materials. Natural fibers tend to be more breathable, while synthetic materials may feel uncomfortable or hot. Cover your bed with natural materials for a higher level of comfort.

 Stick to natural colors. The colors of nature can be calming and help you sleep better. Look for muted tones found in nature, including blue, light brown, light green, and other natural tones. Typically, blue is the best color for sleep.



Take advantage of natural light. Your circadian rhythm relies on cues from nature, and light is one of the most powerful ones. When you’re exposed to bright light, your brain gets a signal that it’s daytime and therefore time to be awake. Natural light in your bedroom can help you start your day more alert, while limiting light at night can help you wind down. You can achieve bright light during the day and darkness at night with blackout curtains. Close blackout curtains at night when you need to limit light, then open them wide in the morning for a burst of light.

 Eliminate electronics. It’s a good idea to go screen free in your bedroom. Just as natural light can make you feel more alert, the blue wave light from electronics can stimulate alertness, even at night when you should be sleeping. Turn off screens at least one hour before bed, including your TV and mobile device, and avoid bringing them into your bedroom with you.



Choose air cleaning houseplants. Houseplants can be effective for clearing toxins out of your bedroom air, making your sleep environment healthier with fresh air. Choose ferns, ivy, or other indoor plants known to be naturally air clearing.

 Turn on a fan at night. With a fan, you can benefit from air movement at night. In addition to air clearing plants, a fan can improve your air quality and make your bedroom more breathable for better sleep. An overhead fan or even a small fan on your nightstand can be helpful for improving air quality.

With natural design, you can bring nature indoors. That means you can enjoy both the comfort of the indoors and the calming benefits of the outdoors. Use natural design to make your bedroom more relaxing and conducive to sleep.

 Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. 

Are your bedrooms electronics-free? I am guilty and fall asleep with the TV on almost every night. I find it difficult to sleep without it. How do you make your bedroom more conducive to sleep? Leave a comment below or on my social media.

With love,

 

A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market

5/16/2019



The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest point in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2019.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory! Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply has not kept up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

“Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check, the sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”

Jessica Lautz, Vice President of NAR

“There’s a supply-demand mismatch… More inventory is needed at the lower end and a price reduction may be needed at the upper end.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

“Heading into spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions… A buyer’s experience will vary notably depending on the market and price point they’re targeting.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time! Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price!

New Research Shows Housing Is Affordable For First-Time Buyers

5/16/2019

Home prices have been on the rise for the last seven years, leading many housing market analysts to conclude that first-time homebuyers are being shut out of the market due to affordability concerns.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports on the percentage of First-Time Home Buyers (FTHB) on a monthly and yearly basis. Their latest report shows that FTHB’s made up 33% of buyers in March, which matches their reported share in 2018.

NAR uses survey data from their members to come up with this statistic, so their results do not include every transaction completed. Rather, they only show the transactions reported by members who complete the survey.

The other entity that reports on FTHB share is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI uses data from mortgage applications that define an FTHB as “any borrower who did not have a mortgage for the preceding three years.”

This means the AEI measurement also includes former homeowners who transitioned out of a home they previously owned and re-entered the market after at least 3 years. The latest FTHB share data from AEI shows that first-time buyersmade up 57.5% of all mortgages in August 2018. NAR’s data shows a 31% share for the same time period.

New research from the New York Federal Reserve shows that these traditional reports on FTHB share have been unable to give an accurate depiction of this group’s involvement in the market.

The NY Fed was able to take consumer credit data and identify when a mortgage payment entered a consumer’s credit report to determine when a first-time home purchase was made. Using this data, they were able to show that AEI’s reported FTHB share was consistently 10% higher. The NAR reports were right on par with their findings until 2010, when NAR’s share dropped to the 11% gap seen today.

So, what does this all mean?

First-time home buyers have not disappeared from the market as many analysts had believed. Buying a home is very much a part of the American Dream for younger generations, just like it had been for their parents and grandparents.

This also means that rising prices have not scared buyers away from the market. Many first-time buyers are making sacrifices to save their down payment and make their dream a reality.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is scrolling through listings on your phone every night dreaming of buying your own home, there are opportunities in every market to make that dream a reality!

Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Buy/Sell

3/8/2018

If this the first time you're considering buying a home, or selling your first purchase, there are a lot of possible challenges you can end up facing. Having the right agent can ensure you're able to get through these challenges, but since some of the issues are universal, let's review some mistakes you want to avoid making.

 

1. THE RIGHT PRICE

Pricing a property is a science of it's own. There are a lot of components and factors, so many small details, that ultimately lead to the value of a home. Although there are a lot of sites with estimates, namely Zillow, the technology uses on online sites to determine property values are simply not accurate. Zillow even states that their numbers can be inaccurate up to a whopping 20%. Without a background as a real estate professional, it's virtually impossible for a consumer to be able to know the proper components needed to price a home. When you're purchasing a home, you're want to find a deal, can lead to stubbornness about what you're willing to pay and what you think a home is worth. But what you WANT it to be worth is the complete opposite of what it should sell for. If you're a first time seller, you may want to sell your home for as much as you can squeeze out of it, but this can lead to unrealistic expectations, and ultimately lead to an overpriced home that never sells. Don't make the mistake of assuming you know what a home's value should be. Instead, partner with a real estate agent that truly is working for your best interest, and let them provide you the tools to support home values, so you can place an offer, or price your home, at a number that makes sense.

 

2. REFUSING TO NEGOTIATE 

If you go into a sale, or purchase, refusing to make negotiations, hard-set on what you want without exception, you're more than likely going to cause a lot of grief and stress for yourself during the sales process. When you're looking to buy or sell a home, you have to have an open mind about negotiations. They are a common practice within the industry, with buyers wanting to spend less and sellers wanting to net more. If neither party is willing to make negotiations, you'll find yourself in a contract time and time again, only to fall apart before you can finally close on the home. Having a great agent will help you ensure you make negotiations that are reasonable to lead both parties to the closing table, without compromising you. 

 

3. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Although we all have an idea in our mind what our dream home should be, sometimes the market, and your budget, don't fit realistically into check marking everything off of your list. Find an agent that helps you look for the most important needs in your dream house, but keep an open mind to a home that fits most of your needs, but not necessarily all of them. Having too many expectations within a home can become stressful and result in never finding a home that really matches your needs. If a home has the major components you are seeking, get creative and see if the other things you want can be added down the road. Have a certain number of non-negotiable items, like bedroom/bathroom count, but then have a list of "wants."

 

4. YOU'RE NOT ALONE, DON'T GO IT ALONE

Don't make the mistake of trying to handle the sales process all on your own. There is a reason that the real estate profession, and the laws around it, are as strong as ever. Real estate agents are a necessity during the sales process to ensure the right steps are taken to get a home sold. Buying and selling is a difficult process that requires knowledge and expertise that comes from a professional within the industry. From legal terms, to finding homes that aren't even listed on the market, there are a lot of ins and outs un-experienced buyers and sellers may not think about, which can lead to losing value on your home or never finding the right one. Avoid the stress of "learning the hard way" and find a professional that can give you the guidance you need to get the task at hand completed and ensure you're happy with the outcome. 

6 Reasons Your Home Won't Sell

3/1/2018

 

Are you ready to sell your home and want it to have a great first impression on the market? Or maybe your home has been listed for a few weeks or months, and you can't figure out why it won't sell, and you know your agent is working hard to market it. We've listed below the top 6 reasons your home may not make a good impression and end up stagnant on the market.

1. IT'S OVERPRICED

To be clear, an overpriced home is the #1 reason a home won't sell. We often times want our homes to be worth a lot more than we may see based on the data, but if you put your home on the market for the number you wish it will bring instead of the price it actually needs to be, your home can sit on the market for months without getting a single showing. If you're thinking you need to price high to leave room for negotiations, statistics show that views for your property, for buyers in your price range, can drop a whopping 90% if it's priced too high. Discuss with your agent what the market says the value of your home is, then price it competitively to potentially get a bidding frenzy instead of low offers or having it expire.

2. LOW SHOWING AVAILABILITY

Making sure the house is clean and having to leave on a daily basis for buyers to tour the home may get a little overwhelming, but it is crucial to have open availability to have your home shown. You could end up missing out on the perfect buyer if you decline too many showings. The longer it sits on the market, the less value buyers will see in it. Talk with your agent about having a 24 hour notice period if the extra time is needed, but make sure your home is available to be shown as often as possible.

3. CLUTTERED SPACE

Buyers want to walk into a house and envision their lives in that home. This is difficult to do if your home is cluttered with personal belongings. They are instantly given the feeling of invading someone else's personal space, instead of the satisfaction of being able to see a future in your home. Make sure your property is clutter free before putting it on the market; and store away any family photos.

4. UNPLEASANT ODORS

If you smoke or have pets, it's easy to get used to the smell to the point that you don't even notice it anymore. But it's important to understand that the scent can be picked up by new people visiting your home, and it can really turn them off from making an offer. Before a showing, make sure to dispose of any garbage, don't cook fish or other strong smelling food, and ensure the home is freshened up so there are no pet or smoke odors. 

5. UNWILLING TO MAKE REPAIRS

Selling your home as-is may sound appealing at first, but being unwilling to make repairs could cost another mortgage payment that far exceeds the cost of repairs if you refuse to work with the buyer on their requests and the home goes back on the market again. It's wise to be open to repair requests, and simply go over with your agent what you can afford to do and make a reasonable counter offer during the repair negotiations. 

6. UNWILLING TO NEGOTIATE WITH BUYERS

It's important to have an open mind about requests that will come from buyers when it comes to purchasing your home. These requests can come in the form of price negotiations, repair requests, or even requests to cover closing costs or home warranties. With your agent on your side advising you of the best steps to take, it's best to be open to working with the buyer's on some of their requests to ensure a successful closing.

Why Now Is The Time To Buy

2/15/2018

 

If you have been considering purchasing a home, you may be curious to know if this is the right time in the market to make your move. The market is fast changing, with new laws coming into play, interest rates are constantly rising, and a whole slew of things buyers have to face when it comes time to picking the right house. What does that mean for you? Well, that there isn't a better time to buy than now. Let's break down the benefits of purchasing a home now, instead of waiting. 
 

1. INTEREST RATES ARE SOARING

If you haven't been keeping up with the real estate market, you might be missing out on the data around interest rates. They are going up, and they are going up fast. 5% may not seem like a lot, but can be the difference between hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on what you are paying out towards your loan on a monthly basis. Would you want to pay an extra $200 towards interest for your loan each month, or would you prefer to pocket that $200? Well we know the answer to that. 

Buying a home now while interest rates are at a low is going to be an advantage, both now, and long term. Take advantage of today's rates and purchase a home that doesn't cost you extra just because of interests.
 

2. HOME PRICES ARE INCREASING

Have you been hearing about folks complaining in your market about the price of homes going up? Well those prices are going to continue climbing. A home that is $200,000 now, could go up to $400,000 in 10 years because of market conditions. We also are aware that wages are not increasing as steadily as the cost of living. Purchasing a home in today's market can get you a bigger and better deal on a house than if you were to wait a few years. Especially in hot city markets, where prices are virtually guaranteed to sky rocket, making a move now can save you hundreds of thousands. 
 

3. COMPETITION IS GETTING BIGGER

Population growth is a real thing, and with more people, comes more competition for homes. Homes are selling faster, which means a high demand increases home prices. Buying your home now, while the competition isn't as strong as it could be 5 years from now, helps you get a better deal on the home you want now then if you were to wait it out. 


So, in conclusion, the ball is in your court in today's market. There isn't ever a better time to purchase then now. Avoid the competition and the increase in fees and prices, and take advantage of a market that is still in the buyer's favor.

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