Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it.

Please reach out if you have any questions at all.

We would love to talk with you!

 

Aug. 17, 2020

What Homeowners Want

Most home buyers have to sacrifice some of their wants to find a new home.  Unless they have unlimited funds and time, chances are there are “must-haves”which outweigh the “like-to-have” items on the list. Yet, there are always features that these buyers refuse to part with, and they might surprise you.

1. Outdoor Space –

Over the past decade or so, outdoor spaces have become extensions of the home. From outdoor kitchens to outdoor living rooms, the line between interior and exterior has blurred. Home buyers have embraced this way of living and are insisting on some kind of outdoor patio or space when looking for a new home.

2. Garages –

Today’s home buyer wants a garage. True, some of them plan to use it for non-traditional purposes, such as for storage or home gyms, but they still insist on a garage. Even with the rise of ride-share services and public transportation options, statistics show that the average household owns 1.95 cars and studies demonstrate they are looking for a home with at least a single-car garage.

 Surprisingly, while these buyers might be willing to compromise on other aspects of the home, outdoor space and garages are among the “must-have” items in 2020. 

Posted in Blog
Aug. 12, 2020

Why you need a Real Estate Agent

Do-it-yourself projects are in vogue these days. You can find advice online for everything from investing in crypto-currency to tearing down the living room wall. When considering the cost of moving, it’s natural to wonder if real estate commissions are one way to save money, but it would be a mistake. A good real estate agent might make it seem easy, but the fact is that selling your own home could actually cost you thousands of dollars.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Sell Your Home without an Agent

1. The Safety of Your Home and Family is a Priority –

Real Estate agents control access to your home.

2. Most Serious Buyers Start their Search Online –

A professional listing area will market your home aggressively online, which is where the buyers are searching.

3. The Buyer Might not be Qualified –

A real estate agent knows how to qualify a buyer and what to look for with lender letters. Selling your home on your own risks wasted time with an unqualified buyer.

4. You Don’t Know How to Negotiate Properly –

Every aspect of a real estate transaction is negotiable; you don’t have the experience to know what to negotiate to get the best deal.

5. You Could Expose Yourself to Liability –

Required disclosures and paperwork for a home sale is extensive; unless you plan to use an attorney, you could miss critical disclosures and expose yourself to financial harm.

Finally, more often than not, sellers net more when they use an agent than when they try to do it themselves. In addition to selling faster, a professional agent knows how to properly price and promote your home, ensuring you get the best possible sales price and terms. 

Posted in Blog
Aug. 3, 2020

Common HVAC Problems

The summer heat is here and it may seem like your air conditioners has been running almost constantly. Your air conditioner is an important part of your home, and you certainly don’t want to discover that it’s stopped working on a hot, humid day. Here are five of the most common HVAC problems and how to avoid them in the first place so you can enjoy your air conditioning all summer long.

1. Clogged Drain Lines –

Your air conditioner has a drain line attached to the evaporator coil which removes moisture from the air. Clogged lines can create a back-flow into the unit, causing damage. You can clear these lines periodically with a wet-dry vacuum.

2. Leaking Refrigerant –

Refrigerant leaks are typically caused by low levels of refrigerant, which prevent absorbed liquid from converting to gas, causing build-up and damage.

3. Faulty Capacitor –

Your air conditioner has two capacitors that keep the compressor functioning properly. If one of these burns out, the entire unit can malfunction. Regular servicing by a professional can ensure these continue to work properly.

4. Thermostat Malfunctions –

Issues with the thermostat inside your home can often be the culprit responsible when your air conditioner is not working properly. Simply replacing the batteries in your thermostat regularly can solve many problems with the HVAC system.

5. Blown Fuse –

The most common reason for a blown fuse is an obstruction that blocks airflow. Replacing a dirty air filter is an inexpensive way to ensure proper operation. Summer is in full swing and our air conditioners are working harder than ever. Ensure your system operates at its best by checking your system for these common problems before they create a larger issue. 

Posted in Blog
July 27, 2020

7 Carpet Cleaning Hacks

Carpet is making a comeback. While the last couple of decades have trended toward hardwood floors and travertine tiles, 2020 has seen a resurgence of wall-to-wall carpet in interior design. With bold designs and colors that have modernized an old standby, carpet has once again taken center stage. Whether you have wall-to-wall carpet or just a few rooms of it, keeping carpet clean and stain-free is always desirable.

Of course, you can always call in a professional carpet cleaner, but it’s not that scary to tackle carpet dirt and stains on your own. You can save on professional cleaning services with these do-it-yourself carpet cleaning hacks.

1. Try a Lint Roller –

Dirt, crumbs, pet hair, and spills like flour, rice, glitter, and other tiny particles can be pulled from the carpet with a good old lint roller.

2. Use a Squeegee –

A damp squeegee will remove even stubborn pet hair from carpets.

3. Blot, Don’t Rub –

Carefully and gently blot stains with your cleaning solution to keep them from spreading and soaking deeper into the fiber.

4. Deep Clean with DIY Cleaning Solutions –

White vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and more can be used to safely and cost-effectively clean your carpet. Consider these eco-friendly solutions the next time you clean.

5. Bring the Heat –

Carefully heating a stain with a blow dryer will help loosen the stain and make removal easier.

6. Shaving Cream –

This budget-friendly solution is an excellent cleaning solution for small spaces and leaves carpet fresh and clean.

7. DIY Deodorizer –

Keep carpets smelling clean by mixing Borax, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil; sprinkle and vacuum after a few minutes.

Whatever your opinion about carpet, it’s here to stay. Keep yours clean and long-lasting by using these carpet cleaning hacks in your home. 

Posted in Blog
July 23, 2020

Why Upgrade Before You List?

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home looked as modern and chic. Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer an older floorplan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

• Buyer Impression –

A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.

• Lower Offers –

Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in lower offers.

• Value Differences –

You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more negotiations and lower sales price.

• Home Condition –

A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.

• Loan Approval –

Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple updating so your buyers can see the value of your home. 

Posted in Blog
July 14, 2020

Trends in Pool Designs

Now that warmer weather is upon us, the focus turns to the outdoor space of our home. As Americans spend more and more of their time at home, this might be the perfect time to invest in a new pool or pool remodel. Here are 5 trends in pool design for 2020.

1. Natural Pools –

As more of us consider the effect of chemicals on our health, more pool owners are installing natural pools. These pools are built to resemble a natural pond with boulders, waterfalls, and plants which filter the water naturally. The pool is filled with filtered water and maintained in an organic filtration process using gravel and plants.

2. Saltwater Pools –

Another way to avoid chlorine is by installing a saltwater pool. These pools use a salt-chlorine generator to provide residue-free water and this process has been growing in popularity for over a decade.

3. Tanning Ledges –

Also known as a Baja shelf, or sun shelf, a tanning ledge is a shallow shelf that allows you to stay cool while still enjoying the sun.

4. Rimless Infinity Pools –

Infinity pools have been enjoyed at expensive resorts and spas for years, and more homeowners are now opting to include these beauties in their own yards.

5. Custom Fit Pools –

As yards get smaller, the pre-formed pools are no longer practical. Almost any yard can fit a pool by having a custom pool designed to fit the space. Summertime is pool time. As 2020 requires more of us to stay home, a new or remodeled swimming pool is a great way to enjoy our own backyards. 

Posted in Blog
July 9, 2020

Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately

If you are selling your home, no doubt you’re getting lots of advice about how to stage your home to appeal to potential buyers. Maybe you’ve spent time online reading about curb appeal, maybe your friends have given you advice about how to make your home brighter, or maybe the advice has even come from your listing agent; regardless of the source, here are a few outdated staging tricks you should NOT be using.

• Baking – While it’s a nice idea to have treats available, buyers know that the smell of freshly baked bread is a trick, and they may be suspicious of any odors you’re trying to mask.

• Fresh Scents – Of course, it’s important that the home smells fresh; however, using overpowering candles or room fresheners can be overwhelming. It’s better to open windows to allow a crisp breeze to enter the space, or perhaps place freshly cut flowers.

• Elevator Music – It might seem like a home filled with smooth jazz would lend a relaxing feel, but it could have the opposite effect. Not only is it difficult to gauge the right volume, but it’s outdated and corny.

• Matchy-Matchy – Matched sets and uniform color palettes will make a home feel dated. Mix up the colors and patterns of pillows, bedspreads, and window treatments.

• Holiday Decorations – If your home is listed during a holiday, keep decorations to a minimum. Less is more for decorations of any kind; keep the home clean and as much of a blank slate as possible.

Staging a home is an art. The best strategy is to consult with an expert. Your agent can offer some suggestions for a professional stager who will make sure your home presents itself in the best possible light. 

Posted in Blog
Jan. 9, 2020

What Type of Mortgage is Right for Me?

What Type of Mortgage is Right for Me?

When our parents were buying their first home, there was one way to finance the purchase. You would walk down to the corner bank and asked for a 30 year mortgage. Today the average home owner moves every 5-7 years. Depending on your needs there are a number of mortgage options you might consider, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, spending some time to understand the options is the best way to choose the right loan for your needs.

While loan programs and terms vary, the most common are:

Conventional - A conventional loan is normally still designed to be paid off in 30 years with equal monthly payments during the term of the loan. There are currently conventional loans that require as little as 5% down, although 20-25% is still commonplace.

FHA - An FHA loan is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration and is attractive for a number of reasons, especially for the first time home buyer. The down payment can be as little as 3.5% and that can be a gift.

VA - VA (Veteran Affairs) is a loan program offered for Veterans and their spouses. While the terms can vary from 0-5% down payment, this loan may allow the borrower to finance as much as 100% of the home’s value in the loan.

Your lender will also have more specialized options for you, such as adjustable rate loans and 10 or 15 year loans. They can also explain the additional costs that could be associated with each type of loan program.

Part of purchasing a home is to find the right financing. Your lender will talk you through your options. If you have not already spoken to a lender, or if you need a referral, your real estate agent is a great resource for you.

Posted in Blog, Market Updates
Nov. 17, 2019

Professional Real Estate Photos

Why do Homes Listed with Professional Real Estate Photos Sell Quicker and For More Money?

If you are planning to list your home for sale, you probably already know that you need to prepare your home for the market. The point is to create the most attractive, welcoming version of your home to entice buyers into the home and encourage offers. Your listing needs attention also! Professional photography is the best way to attract those buyers and to ensure you get the best possible price in the shortest timeframe.

Most buyers now start their home search online. Online listings with professional photography receive significantly more views than those without. Buyers tend to linger on the site longer as well.

Professional photographers do far more than snap pictures with the right lens. They understand how to create the right emotional response in the viewers. They have experience working with listings and homes and normally they specialize in real estate.

You already know that homes must be staged to some degree for sale. Buyers must be able to envision themselves living in your home. Photography is about lighting and angles. A good photographer can bring out the best in your home by using these techniques in their shots. Professional pictures can play with light and position to allow your home to appear spacious and bright.

Professional photography is no longer reserved for luxury property listings. More and more agents are seeing the value of beautiful pictures. Make sure your home stands out among the sea of listings as potential buyers sort through properties online. Professional photography will help you sell your home faster and for a higher sales price than those without. Present your home in the best possible light to attract those buyers and encourage them to visit and write you an offer.

Posted in Blog, Market Updates
Nov. 17, 2019

Selling Your First Home

The Home Selling Process

Are you planning to sell your home? Regardless if this is your first time as a home seller, or maybe you’ve sold many homes, understanding the selling process can assure you that things are going smoothly. Successful transactions don’t just happen; it takes experience and professionals to navigate from staging to closing.

Who Are The Experts?

• Real Estate Agent – Before you start, do your homework and find an experienced listing agent in your area.

• Escrow Officer – Your escrow officer is a neutral 3rd party, they take the terms agreed to by the parties and ensures they are fulfilled properly.

Timeline For Your Home Sale

• Meeting With Your Agent – Your agent will tour your home and discuss your market value (including a comparative market analysis), timing and financial goals in order to create a custom plan for selling your home.

• Preparing Your Home For Sale - Typically even a dated home can be spruced up with small changes in furniture placement, fresh paint, new lighting and/or minor repairs.

• Listing Your House - Once your home is ready for buyers, you will list your home and your agent will implement their marketing plan.

• Offers - Once receive offers, you will meet with your agent to review them together and determine how to respond.

• Escrow Process For Sellers – The buyers will complete funding requirements, obtain an appraisal and home inspection. As the seller you will also complete any conditions you’ve agreed to, such as repairs or termite work.

• Closing – Once all conditions have been completed, you will close the sale and receive the proceeds.

 

The sales process is a series of steps that you and your agent will take together. Knowing what to expect, and when, can alleviate the uncertainty you might feel as a seller.

Posted in Blog, Market Updates