Sellers Market? BUYERS MARKET!

92297_1081You’ve likely heard by now that we’re in the middle of what industry experts like to call a “sellers market”, and while it’s very much true that right now is a great time to sell your home there are a number of reasons why it’s also an amazing time to buy!

How can it be both?
Granted, sellers are especially motivated right now because of low inventory and high demand – which almost guarantees a better return on their investment – but even with prices likely being higher there are still some great benefits to buyers.

It’s About Timing
Compared to last year home buyers are more ready to buy now. With the cold Winter months and the uncertainty of the elections out of the way many people are feeling more comfortable with finances.

Supply Vs Demand
Home inventory is low right now; even if there wasn’t a rush on listings their general scarcity adds a sense of urgency to the market. What if the home you want gets a better offer? This drives a lot of potential buyers off the fence and to the signing table much faster.

The Sky Is Falling
Many would be mover-uppers and potential home buyers are motivated right now because they’re afraid the mortgage rates are going to go up – and they likely should be. How does that aid in making this a buyers market within a sellers market? Because RIGHT NOW the rates are still low!

Price Check
Of course money is always a factor, but with inventory being low and demand for homes being high it’s almost a certainty that home prices will also be going up. For the savvy home buyer this is a sure sign that if you’re thinking of buying any time this year it’s likely the sooner the better.

Are you considering buying a home and just having a terrible time finding the right one? Your dream home is out there and we can help you find it! Contact us or use our website to search for the current available homes today!

Spring Home Remodeling Tips

painting-1744956_640Before you know it Spring will be here in full force!

Before the list of items for your honey-do list get filled up it’s  good time to start thinking about the bigger projects that may be on the board for the season.

Remodeling, even a small room, is  a great way to invest in your homes value and your own enjoyment, but not all home improvements are created equal – we’ve put together a list of a few of the best ones to get the most bang for your buck!

Install or Upgrade Insulation
If there’s one thing we learn about during the great snowpocalypse of aught 16 was the importance of staying warm! Proper insulation in your home is the difference between not only having good protection against the cold itself but also against the high energy bills as well! Of all the updates you can do for your home insulation ranked as one of the highest returns on investment with most recouping upwards of 90% of the cost over time.

Garage Doors
If your garage faces an alley or side road it’s not such a big deal but if you’re garage is on the front of your house like most it takes up a considerable amount of the visual look of your home. This is why it’s good to make sure that it’s not only in good repair but that it looks as nice as possible – so consider updating it or adding a pop of color.

Hit The Deck
Believe it or not adding a nice deck to your home is among one of the top 5 improvements that adds value to a house. Everyone loves socializing during those long Summer evenings; it’s really a wise choice to make if you want to add an improvement and pamper yourself a little at the same time.

Siding
Literally the skin of your house, and it’s important! Not only does it help keep the weather out but it is also a big part of how you home looks on the outside as well. If your siding is in bad shape it’s definitely time to get it looked at, but otherwise consider a different color or style. An easy fix if your siding is still in good shape is just to give it a good pressure washing every so often to keep it looking nice and clean!

The beginning of the season is always the best time to make plans; whether you’re remodeling because you’re thinking of selling or just because you want to get more out of your home while you are in it there’s a number of things you can do. We’d love the chance to talk with you more about your home, and your ideas – feel free to get in touch!

Tips On Surviving Moving Day

homeraceOh day of days at last! MOVING DAY!

If the thought of that leaves you aghast, don’t worry you’re in good company. Moving day, while one of the most exciting parts of realizing the transition is actually happening can also be completely terrifying – but it doesn’t have to be!

We’ve put together some great tips to help you tame the fear and get through moving day like a seasoned pro!

This guide is more for the key survival items you’ll need other than all of the things in your home you are moving, so first: PACK!

Yes, you should in all hopes have everything actually in boxes and somewhat prepared to be moved from one place to the next before the day itself arrives. Haste makes waste, and waiting til the last minute amplifies chaos. Just taking the time well in advance to be ready for the day itself will make things move much much smoother; if you’re stuffing coats into boxes while the movers are hauling them out it’s a sure bet something is getting forgotten somewhere.

Build Your Moving Survival Pack:

Medicine
There’s nothing that makes a medical emergency even more difficult than not being able to find the first aid. This proves doubly so if the emergency is the simple fact that you can’t find your prescriptions in the hundreds of boxes that now occupy your living room. Be sure to pack essential medicines and a basic first aid kit separately from everything else so it’s easy to find.

Tools
Moving into the new place there will be any number of things that may need fixing, or things that may have gotten broken in the transition that need attention. Even if it’s just hanging pictures you’re going to need a few primary tools that will make your life easier: two kinds of screw driver, a hammer, a wrench or socket set, and some duct tape are recommended. Remember to include a flashlight!

Trash Bags
Whether it’s cleaning up the old place or throwing away the packaging from moving into the new one there is going to be trash. Having a box of trash bags on hand will save you a trip to the store; they can even be used as padding for some of your items during packing so that they’ll be right there when you unpack.

Snack Pack
Chances are most of your perishables aren’t going with you and when you get in the last thing you want to think about is cooking on top of all the insanity going on. Make sure you have some ready to go snacks in your supplies to keep energy levels up and cranky levels down. Think granola, fruit roll ups, juices and of course plenty of water.

Blankets and Comfort
If the beds aren’t going to be setup right away consider a family camp out in the living room the first night. Pack sleeping bags or comforters close to the back so you can build your blanket fort! If you’ve got little ones it’s especially important to keep woobee’s and snuggle animals nearby!

These tips for your moving day survival kit should help you navigate those first crazy few days! Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed reach out to your agent – they are generally an endless source of assistance and may be able to recommend services in the area to help.

Cheap and Easy Tips for a Cozy Fall Spaces

cozy-coffee-pexels-photoCooler temperatures are finally showing up across the country, the leaves are changing to gold ; there is a crispness to the air that lets you know Winter is on the way!

That means it’s time for big sweaters and boots, scarves and hot cocoa and making the home warm and welcoming. We’ve put together some easy (and cheap!) ideas for making things around the house perfect for friends and family!

Layer Up!
A blend of fabrics and textures is a big part in feeling snuggled and warm, so be sure to include a few new big pillows or fluffy throws on the couch to bundle in the cozy feelings. This goes for bedrooms too – a change in pillow cases and sheets can completely change the bedtime feel.

Centerpieces
Even if you’re not having a particularly large gathering at your home a nice table or counter top centerpiece is a great way to change the mood and ring in each holiday.  The possibility of a scent warmer or candle and you can add a great aromatherapy element as well.

Scents!
It’s something that really goes unnoticed, but the smells of your home can really change the whole mood. Consider scented warmers or candles, or even an old fashioned stove top pot of cider to get those rich warm smells flowing. Think warming spices like orange, clove, apple spice, and cinnamon. Here’s a great cider recipe too!

Trappings of the Season
This could be something as simple as swapping out a few of the decorations on the mantle, or hanging a wreath on the front door or near the entry way. Adding a touch of evergreen to your home has been a long tradition for the colder seasons to serve as a reminder that the icy nights won’t last forever – and of course the notorious mistletoe is ever popular come Christmas time.

How do you welcome the seasons and it’s guests into your home?
We’d love to hear about them; if you’re still searching to find a place to call your own get in touch!

Is Your House Just No Fun?

happy homeownersHome design doesn’t have to be stuffy! Interior decorating should say something about your style, and it’s okay that it does it with a bit of humor. But it can be difficult to balance your childhood whimsy with your grown up sensibilities. Here are some ways to add some fun to your home!

Start at the Front Door
It seems so simple: start at the beginning! Your front door is the very first thing most visitors will see when they come over, so start there. This can be as simple as a humorous welcome mat, or a cute door hanger that will make guests smile.

Color Me Impressed
If it’s the kids room this is easy: go WILD! Make the room a fun theme like a jungle or a spaceship! If this is for the other rooms of the house maybe go a little more grown up; think beyond paint. You can add fun pops of color to a room with fun pillows or a themed throw blanket.

Accessorize!
It’s a VERB! That’s right! The deal breakers are in the details, so don’t be afraid to take the time to add a little charm to any room by using the right accessories. It might be a little book of witty sayings on the coffee table, or a funny little picture over the commode in the bathroom. There are dozens of ways to add some fun using small items in just about any room – but don’t over do it!

Home Is Where the Art Is
Art. Paint it, collect it, hang it on the wall – it’s good for all of those things. And whether your tastes are modern, traditional, or eclectic you can always find some kind of art that will suit your style and add some fun to your hum drum home. There’s nothing more sad than a blank wall, so think about what you like and don’t be afraid to put it up, after all this is your new home!

Not quite ready to get to the decorating part? Still looking for a home to buy? Need to sell the one you’re in first? No matter what your situation we can help you make your next move the right one!

Is Your Home Budget Cramping Your Style?

livingYou’ve found the perfect place and made it your own.

The boxes are unpacked and it’s been a great time getting settle in and making it your own. But well…you haven’t really changed much yet.

Part of that could be because you really found the perfect place, just the way it is, but if you’re like many homeowners the biggest challenge you face when the honeymoon days are over is budget. So here are some great ideas for decorating your home on tight purse strings and still getting a lot for your dollar!

Paint It Up!
Tried and true a fresh coat of paint works wonders to transform any room and is also one of the most affordable updates you can do yourself as well. While you can always hire a profession if it’s in your price range you really can handle most paint jobs on your own. Maybe start small, do a closet or kids room one weekend to get your skills honed in and then go for it!

Get Rid Of Stuff
Believe it or not, the cheapest update – one that could even make you money – is just not buying more stuff you don’t really need. If it’s too late to prevent that you should look into possibly getting rid of some stuff you don’t need to clear space. Not to get all hoopy-froopy but having more open space really does lend a cleaner feel to a space rather than having it over stuffed with…well…STUFF.

Think Storage Friendly
Getting a new piece of furniture? Remodeling a room? Think storage-first! One thing the tiny house movement has taught us is that any time you can reuse or re-imagine how an area works you can save space.  Foot stools with lids that open, hide-away spaces under stairs, and wisely cycling out home items based on season are all great examples of thinking storage-forward.

These three things are just a good place to start – get creative! There are always new ways to transform a space if you put your mind, some time, and a little elbow grease into it. And of course don’t hesitate to talk to me, your trusted real estate pro about ideas for making your home even better!

Home Buying: Consider This Before You Start Looking

homesellersThe time has come to buy your first home.

Maybe you’re tired of dealing with a landlord, or your parents are tired of you mooching of them, or maybe you’re just ready – ready to put down some roots, starting building equity, and growing towards a more stable future.

Whatever the reason you’ve been thinking about buying a home there are a lot of costs to consider outside of the actual purchase price of the home that many first time home buyers don’t consider, or don’t even know about. We’ve put together some of these in a quick list to help you get started on the path towards home ownership:

Landscaping – Variable  Cost
Most homes, especially if they’re already built, will come with some sort of basic landscaping – a lawn, maybe a shrubbery or two. Beyond that, getting creating and making the yard your own will be up to you, but even if you leave it as-is there will still be the cost of maintaining the yard. Depending on the size of the yard your plans for it this can be as low a cost as just fertilizing and gas for mowing or well into the thousands of dollars if you go all out.

Appliances – Middle to High Cost
Unless your new home comes pre-furnished  or you’re stealing your room mates stuff chances are you’re going to need appliances. Even if it’s just a couple things, the costs can add up quick – particularly for larger or higher end appliances. Shop around here. Maybe even consider rent-to-own if budget is tight. You can always shop used also, and remember appliances are always something you can upgrade down the road when there may be more finances available.

Insurance – Low to Middle Cost
It’s a good idea. Some would even recommend going a step further and getting a home warranty – this can help you protect those newly acquired appliances and help keep things running smoothly overall. You can plan on about $700 annually for most basic home insurance with prices varying based on the home, amenities, and credit. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but home insurance can really save your shirt if something unforeseen should happen.

Utilities – Variable Cost
Depending on your previous situation the cost of monthly utilities may not have popped up on the radar, and even so until you’re in the new place using the services for a few months you really won’t know for certain what those costs will be. It’s a good idea to at least plan for a few hundred dollars a month to cover electricity, gas, and water. It never hurts to talk to the neighbors in the area when you’re looking at homes and gently asking what their average utilities run.

Taxes, Fees, Etc Etc – Who Can Say
Plan for the first of the year. Set money aside specifically for “We Just Don’t Know” because that first year will include some surprises whether it be fees from the HOA or cost of repairs, it will happen. Another thing of course is Property Taxes and other tax fees associated with being a homeowner. Don’t fret, it’s all part of putting on those grown up pants and doing the paperwork shuffle .

Your new home should be EXCITING! Nothing will kill that excitement faster than having to turn around and ask the folks for a loan just a few months after moving out all because you didn’t plan ahead. Keep all these things in mind, but more importantly talk to your chosen REALTOR®  ( you DID start with finding a qualified real estate agent first, right? ) they will have insight and advice that can save you a lot of trouble!

Keep Your Home Safe On Vacation!

16222298Warmer weather has arrived and the days are already starting to get longer; this means it’s time to start thinking about getting out and enjoy a little vacation time.  Nothing can ruin the memories of that time well spent like returning home to find a disaster area. Common sense things like turning off water, having mail picked up, and  locking all the doors are easy to remember, but there are some things many people may not have considered.

Here are some things you can do to be proactive in keeping your home safe when you’re out of town.

Save The Status Updates
We know it’s difficult but you might want to save posting those pictures of the vacation until you get back from the trip. Believe it or not, would be evil doers now use social media to see if people are out of town and target their home. If you can’t resist the urge maybe only share pictures via private messages or to selected friends.

Knock Knock!
Of course someone is home! It might not be a bad idea, even if you don’t have pets, to hire a house sitter or talk to a trusted friend about coming over and just spending some time in your home to help make any potential door knockers believe that there is someone home.

Lights!
Burglars often will watch a home for some time and may know your schedule, so they will notice things like a lack of lights on in the house. So, leave a few lights on, or better yet get a timer to have lights come on at dark to give the illusion that someone is home.

What Needs Power
Go through the house before you leave and take a look at what actually needs to be plugged in and what doesn’t. Things like computers, steroes or TV’s that won’t be in use while you’re out can be a big power drain even when not on, worse yet if there is a power surge while you’re gone they might be damaged.

These few things can help keep your home a little bit safer while you’re away enjoying your leisure time. It never hurts to talk to your next door neighbors and let them know you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on the house as well.

Are You Buying The Right Home? Are You SURE?

home buyersThere’s nothing that quite compares to the feeling of first stepping foot into a new home. The time and effort put in to finding the home, getting through the paper work and procedures have finally paid off and that big breath relief hits you. Ahhh!

But before that golden moment there are a lot of things to consider; as a lot of work goes into that warm happy memory, it’s important to make sure we’ve made all the right decisions along the way. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all but here are a few rational questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you rush into a commitment to buy.

Condition
Unless you are buying new or having your home built this is one of the big items to really take your time with. Will this home need a new roof or other major repairs soon? Will we be in a flood plain? Is the landscape something too lush and extravagant for me to handle on my own? Fixer-upper homes have tons of potential but you have to be ready to own those rough edges until you can smooth them out the way you envision.

Pricing Counts
Even if your lender says the home of your dreams is within your reach you need to make sure you are actually comfortable with the monthly terms. The price of the house itself is not the only factor in the end cost either – don’t forget down payments, closing costs, and other fees (not to mention moving costs!) That new house “ahh moment” might not feel quite as fresh if you are living on ramen for the first year, so it’s always good to plan for more than is listed in the black and white details.

Size Matters
Is the home you’re considering big enough for you or your family? Right combination of bedrooms and baths? Could the living room be a little bigger, or do you need a separate office? You’ll want to make sure the home you select is going to have enough growing room for your needs – in most cases you can expand later but that is often costly.

Creature Comforts
Does your potential dream home have central air conditioning or heat? Maybe you have fantasies about a heated garage floor. Will having a two level house make it difficult for visiting guests? Are there adequate bathrooms to accommodate your traditional summer time patio bbq fiesta? Make sure you give these things some thought even though in most cases adjustments can be made, there should never be a reason to compromise.

Resale Potential
You just got here…and you’re thinking of moving already?! Well, statistics show that people move into a new home nearly every seven years on average. Life can throw some wild curve balls at us without warning; if you were forced to sell your home how easy would that task be? Having a home with high resale potential can help this item not be of concern. Whether it be the newness of the home, it’s location, or special features, generally most homes will have some element that lends them a little extra resale potential. Thinking about the future through home improvements is also a great way to not only protect but to also grow your home investment.

Thinking about all of these things while you are in the home finding mode is a great place to start. Some buyers will fall in love with over the top amenities that often seem attractive in the showing stage but later turn into real headaches. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, your house should be as fabulous as you can imagine it, but it also never hurts too keep your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

Insanely Clever Moving Tips!

nicefamilyOne thing most people will agree on: moving will make you CRAZY! And while it’s true that moving can be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging tasks you can take on next to running the ironman marathon there are some ways to keep it clever and add some calm to the chaos. Check out these great ideas!

Think Outside the Box
Boxes are the go to way to pack your stuff, but they might not be the best way to go. For clothes, bulky items, things that squish, or even shoes a good ole plastic trash bag does great! They are durable and best of all they are great for packing in those tight in between empty spaces in the truck.

*bonus tip: if you have luggage use it to pack too! There’s no sense in moving an empty suitcase!

Don’t Pack Clutter
You’re moving to a new place; this is the perfect time for a fresh start! Use this time to de-clutter and get rid of junk you’ve just been holding on to, and whatever you do don’t pack it up and move it with you – it just makes more stuff to move and less usable space when you get where you’re going.

Skip the Bubblewrap
Yes, it’s great fun, and you’ll likely need the stress relief but bubble wrap can be expensive! Get creative and use tshirts and socks to wrap and pack some of your less breakable fragile items – this not only saves on cost and throwing away wrap, it acts as double purpose packing for clothes that you have to move anyway.

Label Doors
Everybody knows to label their boxes but one way to help movers or friends who might be helping is to label the doors of your new home when you get there. Just slap a piece of paper on the door for “Bobbi’s Room” and it will save you a ton of “where does this go?!” questions throughout the day.

Clear Plastic Bins
You can find these fairly affordable, so grab one for each member of the family. Use these clear plastic bins to pack up the more essential day to day items for each person – phone charger, favorite teddy bear, or important medicines. This will make it easier to find those must have items during the whirlwind of activity when the move happens.

Moving is a huge chore – especially if you take it on yourself – but using these simple tips will help make it hopefully just a little less crazy. Not sure if you’re ready to move? Is the market good? The best way to find out is to talk with a qualified real estate professional! Contact me today to find out how I can help!