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Supply and Demand: What does that tell us about today’s market?

12/22/2021

The law of supply and demand explains what’s happening with prices in the current real estate market. Put simply, when demand for an item is high, prices rise. When the supply of the item increases, prices fall. Of course, when demand is very high and supply is very low, prices can rise significantly.

Why Are Prices Rising?

According to CoreLogic, home prices have risen 18% since this time last year. But what’s driving the increase? When we take NAR’s buyer activity data and compare it to the seller traffic during the same timeframe, we can see buyer demand continues to outpace seller activity by a wide margin. In other words, the demand for homes is significantly greater than the current supply that’s available to buy.

Where Are Prices Headed?

Many experts forecast prices will continue to increase, but they’ll likely appreciate at a slower rate. Buyers hoping to purchase the home of their dreams may see this as welcome news. In this case, perspective is important: a slight moderation of home prices does not mean prices will depreciate or fall. Price increases may occur at a slower pace, but experts still expect them to rise.

What Does This Mean for Homebuyers?

If you’re waiting to enter the market because you’re expecting prices to drop, you may end up paying more in the long run. Even if price increases occur at a slower rate next year, prices are still projected to rise. That means the home of your dreams will likely cost even more in 2022.

While prices may increase at a slower pace in the coming months, experts still expect them to rise. If you’re a potential homebuyer, message me today to discuss what that could mean for you if you wait even longer to buy.


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Do I Need Neutral Painted Walls To Sell My Home?

11/16/2021

"If you want to sell your home, paint your rooms beige." That could be the rallying cry of real estate agents across the country, and for good reason. Presentation and first impressions mean everything when selling a home, and the men and women who make their living selling homes know that neutral colors will generally spark more interest from buyers than bold colors.

Human beings are sensitive to color on a deep, emotional level. This makes sense: Our earliest ancestors relied on colors to tell them if a plant was ripe or safe to eat, for example. Those deeply ingrained senses of what colors mean in nature stay with us in our cities and suburbs; we may not need to make life-and-death decisions based on the color of a strange fruit, but we still carry the emotional cues that kept our ancestors safe.

This trait can complicate things when painting a house, however. A certain hue that you think looks perfect in your living room might trigger a deep sense of discomfort in a visitor. The deeper the color you choose for your walls, the stronger effect it might have on others. Conversely, the closer your home's colors are to pure, neutral white, the less they will emotionally affect visitors -- or potential buyers.

But an all-white home can be dull, not to mention extremely hard to keep clean. With a little awareness of color theory and some creative restraint, you can have the best of both worlds: a home in which color brings out each room's best features, and a house that's likely to sell without requiring major repainting.

Color psychology is the study of the emotional cues prompted in humans by various colors. These can be quite strong: Bold yellow, for example, can upset small children, while light yellow is commonly used as a gender-neutral color for babies' rooms. Blue is often associated with calmness, serenity and cold temperatures. Red, on the other hand, may symbolize excitement, love, anger, warfare or energy. These are useful traits to understand as you plan how to show off your home's best features to potential buyers.

But how do you turn an understanding of color psychology into an attractive, sellable interior design? The process is easier than you might think.

The Power of Color

The first step in applying color theory to your home is to understand what you want each room to say. Is a bedroom used for rest and relaxation for the adults in the home, or is it a bright, happy playroom for the children? Is the kitchen a family gathering place, or is it an area where high-tech styling makes meal preparation fast and efficient? Asking questions like these will help you define moods for your rooms. Compare these moods to the emotions evoked by different colors, and you'll quickly create a list of general hues that are most appropriate for each room of your house. Narrow your color search further by looking at the paint colors in the middle or lighter ends of these ranges, since this will help you avoid painting too much wall space with a too-bold color.

Now comes the fun part: designing your rooms with color and furnishings to capture the moods you've identified. There are countless factors that play into making each room right, including the furniture and decorative items, the flooring, the quality of light through the windows and your desire (and budget) to change these. In general, you can often create stunning effects by choosing one or two items to showcase with bold color, offset by neutral complementary colors in the rest of the walls and furnishings.

It helps to keep a sense of restraint when choosing color and design layouts; a bold color can quickly become overwhelming if used too much, and too many complementary colors in one room can make even sparse furnishings look busy and cluttered. Try to limit each room's color palette to no more than three colors: a bold accent, a middle-tone that can be used to frame the accent and a more neutral color for the background, like the walls. This will ensure that, while you will be able to break free of the all-beige, neutral-color blahs, you will still have a home that has a good chance of selling without major changes.

What Might Your Homeowners Insurance NOT Cover?

10/22/2021

There are things that can happen to their homes that their homeowners insurance policies don't cover. Fire is the basic coverage provided by an insurance policy, while other common perils are water damage, theft, wind and liability. Earthquake and flood usually require a separate policy. In some states you can add earthquake coverage as an endorsement. It is important to discuss the risk you face and purchase the proper coverage. Just so you'll be forewarned, here are eight other perils, besides damage from an invading squirrel, for which you probably aren't insured.

1. Floods

Damage caused by flooding is excluded under standard homeowners insurance policies, according to the institute's primer on what disasters are covered by insurance. That's why it's prudent to obtain flood insurance, either from a private insurer or through the U.S. government's National Flood Insurance Program.

2. Earthquakes

When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia shook the U.S. east coast in 2011, it caused as much as $300 million in losses and varying degrees of damage to 600 residences. Many of the owners may have been chagrined to discover that their homeowners insurance didn't cover the cost of repairing the harm to their houses. Coverage for earthquakes, which can damage foundations and collapse walls, requires a separate policy, though a standard homeowners policy generally will cover damage from fires caused by quakes, according to the institute.

3. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups can be pretty messy, and they're not covered either by homeowners insurance policies or flood coverage, according to the institute. Instead, you'll need to purchase additional sewer coverage.

4. Maintenance Damage

Maintenance damage. Homeowners policies don't cover damage caused to your home by your neglect of basic maintenance, according to the institute. Similarly, you're not covered if your house becomes infested by termites and other pests, or develops mold.

5. Backyard Trampolines and Pools

Sure, they're fun. But according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, both trampolines and pools are dangerous enough that some companies may not insure your property if you have them, or else may exclude liability for any injuries related to them. They also may even cancel your policy if you don't inform them when you get a trampoline or a pool, or don't follow the policy's safety guidelines.

6. Dog Attacks

If your family pet bites a visitor, you're typically covered for legal liability up to your policy's liability limit — usually $100,000 — according to the institute. The average dog bite claim is around $39,000, so you should be OK. But it's a bigger problem if you own a breed with a reputation for being aggressive, because some insurance companies won't cover you at all.

7. Really Expensive Jewelry

Typically, homeowners' policies set a limit on how much bling they'll cover — usually around $1,500, according to the institute's article on jewelry and other valuables. If you've got a lot of costly rings or necklaces, you'll want to consider getting a floater policy, which covers any sort of loss, including dropping your ring down a drain. That'll require you to get the items appraised professionally.

8. Your Stuff in Someone Else's Basement

If you've got a friend or neighbor who allows you to store some of your possessions in his or her basement, you could lose out in the event of a disaster, according to Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a California-based consumer advocacy group. That person's insurer isn't going to cover your losses, since you're not the homeowner. "You'd have to try to collect money from your friend," Bach says.

Are Millennials Buying Homes For Their Dogs?

10/7/2021
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Millennials tend to get a bad rap for being, well, different from the generations that precede them. And while there's little evidence to back up the stereotypes about Americans roughly aged 18 to 39, one thing is certain: Millennials make up the largest generation in U.S. history. And despite their historic low rate of homeownership, 31 percent of millennials owned homes in 2015 according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies' Improving America's Housing 2017 study.

But why they're buying these homes might surprise you. It's not after they've gotten married or when they're planning for the birth of a child. Nope. They bought a home to have more space and a better yard for their dogs. A survey released in late July 2017 by Harris Poll and SunTrust Mortgage found that as many as a third (33 percent) of millennials who purchased their first home say they did it for their furry friends.

Shannon Quinn Lewis, 37, and her husband, are both avid volunteers and fosters with Atlanta's Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. The couple just moved to a home in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. "Our dogs were the only reason we moved!" says Lewis in an email. "Living downtown didn't provide them the space we felt they deserved. The first time I saw them all running and playing in the yard, I knew we made the right decision."

Lewis isn't your typical dog owner, though. She has 10 of her own, and is currently fostering three for Angels Among Us. At any given time, she can have as many as 10 foster dogs in addition to her own, so buying a home with her dogs in mind was a necessity. The dogs went from having a tiny 250-square-foot (23-square-meter) yard to a large, half-acre (.2 hectare) greenspace.

"We would take them to parks and trails, but we wanted a yard of their very own that they could run off leash and really enjoy," says Lewis. "Giving them a large fenced-in-yard allows us to spend time with all of them enjoying the outdoors."

Despite having 10 dogs, Lewis isn't alone. Stacy Slocum, a real estate agent with Georgian Home Realty, just sold a home to her 30-something client Amber (last name withheld) who also was searching specifically for her bull terriers. "Her top priorities were a large private, fenced backyard and easy accessibility to that yard from inside," Slocum says. "She also didn't want steps at all, since her dogs are fairly large and one is older and has hip issues." Slocum says Amber was even willing to look outside of her preferred area just to find the perfect place for her dogs.

Amber also wanted to be able to entertain friends without the dogs being confined to a tiny dog area while guests were visiting. And even though the search took them six weeks, Slocum found Amber exactly what (her dogs) wanted — a four-bedroom ranch house with huge yard and privacy fence. And to top it all off, Amber gave her dogs the master bedroom. "The dogs have the largest bedroom in the house," Slocum says. "They have French doors that open up to the huge backyard. It's a great space to open up the doors and allow them to roam around and play with one another."

And that's exactly what Lewis and Amber share with other millennials: their love for their dogs and the desire to make them a part of the family. A late 2016 Mintel study found that seven in 10 male millennials and three in five females now own dogs. In fact, 75 percent of older millennials like Lewis and Amber (ages 30 to 39) have dogs.

And they're willing to shell out cash for them, which is good news for the pet industry. In 2016 alone, Americans spent $66.75 billion on things like food, leashes, collars and vet care. Millennials in particular aren't afraid to spend cash on their pets — 76 percent said they'd happily "splurge" on items like expensive treats and custom beds. And perhaps a new house.




Make Moving With Pets Stress-Free

9/22/2021
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You’ve just bought a new home, and Fluffy and Fido are starting to worry about all the moving boxes going into the truck outside. Pets can easily become stressed during a move, which might cause them to lose their fur, become aggressive, or even run away.Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your pet’s anxiety before, during, and after your move.

Plan Ahead and In Detail

Many people consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s only natural to be concerned for their comfort and safety during a move. Meticulous planning well in advance of moving day is the best way to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible with moving to a new home.

Make a Checklist of Moving Tasks

We recommend making a checklist of things to do — call the vet, have your pet microchipped, research veterinarians, buy calming medicine, etc. If you’re planning to transport your pet in a crate or carrier, take time to introduce them to it, especially if your dog or cat hasn’t been in their carrier in a while. Put their food or a few treats in it in the weeks before the move; that way, they’ll be more accustomed to the space and will feel less stressed.

Gather Important Documents

Your new state, county, or community might have different rules for owning a pet, so research what records you will need and what fees you must pay in order to register them. It might be best to put the following in one organized file just in case:

  • Vaccination records and health certificate

  • Rabies tags (if they’re not already on your pet’s collar)

  • Emergency contact info for your current veterinarian

  • Contact info for a recommended veterinarian

Keep Medication, Food, and Toys Handy

You won’t want to pack your pet’s medications, treats, toys, or food until moving day, so you may want to set aside a box just for your pet. Be sure to pack this box either in the car with you or within easy reach, just in case of an emergency.

Update Your Pet’s ID

Engrave a new ID tag with your new home address and phone number in case your pet gets lost. Hopefully, this will never happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that your dog or cat is microchipped or at least is wearing a collar, especially in the weeks leading up to moving day.

Keep Them Comfy on Moving Day

In the chaos of loading boxes into the moving van, the last thing you want to happen is your beloved furry friend escaping. Keep your dog or cat in a separate room with their toys, food, and carrier until the time comes to load them into the car. Alternatively, you could let a friend or family member pet sit until it’s time to go.

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel in Advance

If you’re driving a long way or need to stay at a hotel overnight, reserve a pet-friendly hotel room well in advance so you’ll have one less thing to worry about on moving day.

Take Plenty of Stops on Long Car Rides

While on extended car trips, take frequent stops along the way to give your pet fresh water and food, let your pet go to the bathroom, and take your dog for a refreshing walk around the rest area.

Give Them Time to Adjust to New Surroundings

Pets can become agitated when exposed to new surroundings, so it’s important to keep their collars on and keep an eye on them for the first few days after moving. Surround them with their favorite toys and comfort items, like a blanket or pet bed from the old house, to give them a familiar scent to latch on to.

Be sure to stick to a routine, too! Take your dog on a walk at the same time and stick to your regular feeding schedule.





The Best 6 Steps to Take to Increase Resale Value

9/22/2021
Everyone who is getting ready to sell wants to make the most money possible in the process. While you may see a great deal of value in your home, that love you’ve created doesn’t always translate to financial gain. The best way to actually increase the value of your home and therefore your potential profit is by improving and updating the things in your home that buyers are looking for.
While there may be projects that you would prefer to do or may seem easier, It’s important to focus on the renovations that will net you the highest ROI. We have complied a this list for you to reference for their ability to produce high ROI. If you are looking to boost your resale value, check out the steps

KITCHEN REMODEL

Real estate experts will always tell you that the highest ROI renovating your home can undergo is in the kitchen. People really want nice kitchens and it seems to be a major focus for a lot of homebuyers. The biggest priority when renovating your kitchen should be the layout. Have a functional space that can easily be updated is key. Once your space has ‘good bones’ you will want to find materials that have a high quality look without a big price tag. You can make a space update a space and make it look great without having to use marble or granite.

BATHROOM UPDATES

Not far behind kitchens, bathrooms are the second place buyers place a great deal of value. Thankfully, bathroom updates don’t have to drain your savings. Primary bathrooms are the most important and should be your focus if you only want to update one bathroom.

FIX PLUMBING

The biggest concern of potential buyers is structural concerns. You can have a beautiful home that can turn into a disaster if structural issues aren’t addressed. Replacing old piping with a newer plastic solution is a huge selling point and can calm some of the potential fears that come with buying a home.

GET RID OF STUCCO/PANELING

Wood paneling and Stucco are common in many older homes. Not only do these things tend to be unattractive to buyers, but they also show potential buyers that you likely haven’t made other efforts to update your home. If they have to worry about what is going on with what they see, they are likely to worry about what they cannot.

REPLACE SIDING

Curb appeal plays a major role in getting people in the door of your home. It makes sense to focus on how the outside will appear to potential buyers, so having yellowing siding that used to be white is unlikely to attract buyers. For those on a budget, you can also try power washing - it can bring better results than you might expect and it barely costs anything!

HOW TO SAVE UP FOR A HOUSE $$$

9/15/2021

Are you thinking about buying a home and just don’t know where to start? Before you even begin looking at homes, consider how much you may need to save to make the process as smooth as possible for you, especially in the long run. While there are situations where you don’t need a large down payment for a home, having one can save you money down the road. 

Saving for a down payment is slightly different than other large savings, like retirement. With those savings, you can set aside smaller amounts or invest the money. Because you will need your down payment sooner rather than later, those saving methods won’t be beneficial to you. Here are some steps to take to save up for your dream home!

1. Determine How Much You Need

There is a general rule of thumb in real estate, the rule of 28, that says your maximum mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Sitting down with a mortgage lender will help you find out how much of a mortgage you qualify for based on that income. They will be able to tell you the recommended amount needed for a 20% down payment. Whether or not that is a requirement, a 20% down payment can get you a great price deal and reduce your monthly mortgage rate. 

2. Decide When You Want To Buy

The next step will be deciding when you want to buy. This will give you either a monthly or annual goal of how much money you need to be setting aside to reach that down payment goal.

3. Choose A Savings Plan

It it usually best to avoid stocks or other risky investments when it comes to saving for a home. Consider opening a regular savings account specifically for your down payment, and make sure it is an account you use for deposit-only purposes until you’re ready to make your down payment.

4. Check Your Budget

Saving a few dollars here and there can be easy, but saving thousands of dollars may take a little more practice. First, consider cutting back on your expenses. Check your budget for things you can go without. This may be difficult, but think about what you are saving up for! If you have the chance to earn additional income, devote that extra cash directly to your savings account. These saving strategies will not only help you to buy your new home, but can create life-long habits to help you continue to save money down the road.

5. Consider An Automated Savings Plan

Even after you have adjusted your budget, pulling that money out of your checking account and putting it into a savings isn’t always easy. Once you’ve determined how much of your budget will be going into savings, consider adding a savings plan to your bank account so that the money will automatically be sent to your savings. This can remove the temptation of spending what may look like extra money in your account and ensuring that it goes where it needs to. 

6. Save Your Big Deposits

Have you received a large sum of money lately? Maybe you just got married, or got a bonus at work, or that tax-return was especially big this year. Instead of spending that cash, deposit it directly into your savings account. This can reduce your savings timeframe and might have you ready to buy sooner than you thought.

Saving up for a home isn't always easy, but it is always worth it! When you are ready to buy, give me a call and we will get you that home you've been dreaming of! 


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Potential Neighborhood With An HOA? Here's What You Should Know...

9/1/2021
Let’s say you have your heart set on buying a home in a community with a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and maybe even a playground or trails. Having access to these amenities often means living in a community with a homeowners association, or HOA.
Generally, an HOA is responsible for keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful — and as a result, keeping property values high. But since no two neighborhoods are the same, no two HOAs will be the same, either.

What You Should Know About the Homeowners Association

Doing your research on homes and communities means finding the answers to dozens of questions. As a savvy home buyer, you’ve probably already considered some of the most important topics early on in your home search, such as the local property taxes and whether the neighborhood is appreciating in value.

But if you’re considering a neighborhood with an HOA, there are a few additional things that you should know about the community and the association before you buy a home. Here are the essential questions you should ask.

1. What Does the Homeowners Association Do?

Each community varies, but in general, a homeowners association assists residents with property maintenance (by providing services like lawn care, trash removal, or Internet), regularly beautifies the neighborhood common areas, and upkeeps any shared amenities. In return for these services, residents pay an association fee, which we’ll talk about later.

Since the HOA is also concerned with keeping property values high, the homeowners association may also dictate what residents can and can’t do with their properties. These rules keep residents from worrying about a neighbor painting their house a funky color or letting their lawn go wild.

2. Are You Required to Join the HOA?

Before you decide to buy a home in an HOA neighborhood, first check to see whether the community has a voluntary or mandatory HOA. A voluntary HOA doesn’t require that you join the association or pay dues, but a mandatory HOA does.

3. How Much Are the HOA Fees?

As we mentioned before, HOA fees cover the services that the association provides. HOA fee costs (and the frequency with which they’re paid) can vary from community to community, so ask your real estate agent about how much the fees are before you buy a home in the neighborhood.

4. What Are the HOA’s Expectations for Residents?

Typically, a homeowners association will have a list of rules and regulations that residents are expected to follow when they live in the community. (These are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs.)

These regulations can dictate everything from what colors you can use to paint your home to how many vehicles you can park in the driveway. Again, each homeowners association varies, so it’s best to read the Bylaws of communities you’re considering to learn what’s expected of residents.

5. When (And How Often) Does the HOA Meet?

If you’re interested in joining your neighborhood’s HOA to get involved in your community, you might also want to consider when the association meets. The HOA may meet annually, bimonthly, or monthly, depending on the association’s size, so check to see if the regular meetings will fit within your schedule.

6. Does the HOA Host Any Activities?

Finally, when considering a neighborhood with an HOA, you should learn whether the HOA provides other ways for you to get involved and meet your neighbors. Ask your real estate agent about whether the neighborhood association hosts annual block parties, pool parties, holiday celebrations, Yard of the Month competitions, or any other neighborhood activities.

Why Should You Stage Your Home To Sell?

8/24/2021

As the real estate market turns sluggish, you may have to take steps to set your home apart from others. It won't be enough to just put out a for-sale sign and wait for potential buyers. One way that homeowners can sell their homes more speedily is by home staging, which can have the added benefit of pushing up the selling price of your home. Basically, staging consists of arranging your home's décor and furniture in such a way as to make the home have more of an appeal to prospective buyers.

In some cases, home staging can be a relatively simple and inexpensive undertaking. You may be comfortable with just cleaning up your home and removing all day-to-day items. On the other hand, you may want to consider investing a more substantial amount of time and money into your home staging project. The main benefit of investing in landscaping, painting and new furniture is that a potential buyer will come away from a visit to your home with a better idea of how his or her new home will look.

Home staging has been around since the 1970s. Although it began on the West Coast of the United States, the concept eventually spread to the rest of the country. There's more to home staging than just decorating. The general idea behind home staging is to depersonalize your home so that a prospective buyer will be able to imagine him or herself living in it. By removing piles of newspapers and family photos, you'll be able to increase your home's appeal. Another tip is to choose neutral colors for your home's carpet and paint. If it's within your budget, you'll also want to think about buying new appliances. Although many people do a good job of staging their own homes, you can also hire a professional to do the job for you.


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Boost The Mood Of Your Space

8/13/2021

If you’re still working from home, you may be feeling down about your current space. While working from home can be fun, it is important to make sure your space keeps you motivated. The best way to do that is to change up your style! Here are some of the easiest ways to boost the mood of your space:

Compartmentalize

If you’re working at home, it is easy to get distracted by your typical home responsibilities since they are now right in front of your face. To stay focused on work, try designating different areas for certain activities. By assigning specific areas for fitness, work and leisure, you will have an easier time letting your brain and body know what you should be focusing on.

Try Some Color

Adding an accent wall, or even painting a whole room, is one of the easiest ways to immediately boost the mood of a room. Consider adding a feature wall with a pop of color or lighting up the space where you work during the day. If you’re not ready to commit to painting your walls you can use accessories like throw pillows, curtains, or artwork to bring color into your space.

Declutter!

Spending more time at home can make a space that didn’t seem cramped before feel overwhelming. There’s no better way to bring harmony to your space than decluttering. While having a clean, decluttered space is aesthetically pleasing, it can also reduce your stress and help you stay focused on work instead of worrying about all the clutter in your field of vision during the day.

Try a Digital Detox

Staying informed is important, and many jobs require technology, but cutting down on screen time can greatly impact how you feel in your space. To reduce screen dependence, set up manageable boundaries based on time or place. Designate phone-free times or remove tech devices from your bedroom for a daily reset.

Lighten Up

If your home is now your office, you can now control the light conditions of your workday. Natural light is one of the best ways to literally and figuratively lighten up a space. Try positioning your desk near a window and keep drapes and shades open during the daytime. You can also add reflective surfaces to enhance the light in dark rooms


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