Category — Real Estate News & Tips

A Lack of Listings Remains ‘Huge’ Challenge in the Market

A Lack of Listings Remains ‘Huge’ Challenge in the Market | Keeping Current Matters

The housing crisis is finally in the rearview mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up, home sales are up, and distressed sales (foreclosures & short sales) are at their lowest mark in over 8 years. This has been, and will continue to be, a great year for real estate.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer traffic and demand continues to be the strongest it has been in years. The supply of homes for sale has not kept up with this demand and has driven prices up in many areas as buyers compete for their dream home.

Traditionally, the winter months create a natural slowdown in the market. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, points to low interest rates as one of the many reasons why buyers are still out in force looking for a home of their own.

“Overall, the fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the traditionally slower sales season, and pent-up demand remains substantial as buyers seek to get a home under contract while rates remain so low.”

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, points out that the inventory shortage we are currently experiencing isn’t a new challenge by any means:

“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”

Bottom Line

Healthy labor markets and job growth have created more and more buyers who are not just ready and willing to buy but are also able to. If you are debating whether or not to put your home on the market this year, now is the time to take advantage of the demand in the market.

 

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Source: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/11/15/a-lack-of-listings-remains-huge-challenge-in-the-market/

November 16, 2016   No Comments

NAR Reports Show Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

NAR Reports Show Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | Keeping Current Matters

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.

THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT

The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are up 2.4% over last year, and have increased year-over-year now for 22 of the last 25 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“The one major predicament in the housing market is without a doubt the painfully low levels of housing inventory in much of the country. It’s leading to home prices outpacing wages, properties selling a lot quicker than a year ago and the home search for many prospective buyers being highly competitive and drawn out because of a shortage of listings at affordable prices.”

Takeaway: Demand for housing will continue throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017. The seasonal slowdown often felt in the winter months did not occur last winter and shows no signs of returning this year.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 2.04 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 6.8% lower than a year ago, marking the 16th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:

“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are, and will remain, in a seller’s market with prices still increasing unless more listings come to the market. 

“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.

 

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Source: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/11/07/nar-reports-show-now-is-a-great-time-to-sell/

November 8, 2016   No Comments

Nine Energy-Efficient Fall And Winter Tips

Saving energy is a priority year round, but when the temps start to dip, and those 24-hours-a-day heating bills kick in, finding ways to conserve takes on new urgency. A few tips can make a big difference in keeping your home, your energy usage, and your bank balance, comfortable.

Use the Earth’s natural heater

In the summer, it’s all about keeping the heat out by drawing blinds and curtains. But, in the cooler months, using the power of the sun can help you warm your home and keep your heating costs down.

“Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows,” said Energy.gov.


Check for leaks

Do a walkthrough, looking for spaces where air can be escaping or getting in. The space under, over, and around doors and windows is an obvious spot. Also look for gaps near chimneys, recessed lights, behind and inside cabinets and closets, and around areas where plumbing pipes make contact with walls and other parts of the home. This Old House provides guidance on how to self-check for leaks. Or, you can hire a professional to come do a home energy audit.

Insulate the windows

Light, gauzy window coverings may look great, but they could be contributing to a cold home and a waste of energy, especially on windows that are not receiving direct sunlight. If you’ve addressed leaks and the area close to your windows still feels cold, insulated drapes should help.

Check your heating system

“Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating system failure,” said Huffington Post. “If your heating equipment is more than 10 years old, now is a good time to schedule a season checkup with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.” You also want to make sure you’re regularly checking and changing the air filter – at a minimum of every three months, they said.

Turn down your thermostat

Turning the heat down by 10–15 degrees “when you are asleep or out of the house” can save about “10% a year,” according to energy.gov. Using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature when everyone is out of the home is key. But a smart thermostat ups the ante. Our favorite is the Ecobee3, because it features a remote sensor you can put in another room to regulate the temperature throughout the house, as well as a touchscreen that makes using it even easier.


Take a look at your fireplace

A crackling fire may make the room nice and toasty when you’re in front of it, but what about when you don’t have a fire burning? Keep your “fireplace damper closed at all times unless fire is burning,” said Delfera Heating & Cooling. “Keeping the damper open causes the warm air to go up the chimney instead of heating your house. If you no longer use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue to ensure maximum energy efficiency.”

Lower the temp on your water heater

If you can stand a shower that’s not scorching, lower the temperature a bit and you’ll see a big return. Typical water heating “accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home,” according to Energy.gov. Turn it down “to the warm setting (120°F) to save energy,” said Delfera.

Don’t heat unused spaces

If you have rooms that aren’t being used all the time, close the vents and shut the doors. This will help the heating system run more efficiently by pushing air only to the spaces that need it.

Consider your holiday lights

If it’s been a while since you changed out your Christmas lights, it may be time to consider a new approach. “For some, LED lights may be the way to go,” said USA Today. Frank Skinner, marketing director for ChristmasLightsEtc.com, told them that, “For the most part, all LED lights use up to 90% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. So right off the bat, there are some savings there with energy.”

They may cost a bit more upfront, but will pay off (literally) in the long run.

Written By: Jaymi Naciri on Sunday, 23 October 2016

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/48218-20161024-nine-energy-efficient-fall-and-winter-tips

 

 

October 24, 2016   No Comments

Renovations To Think About Now If You Want A Holiday-Ready Home

Extended family descending on your house this year? Don’t panic. If you start now, you can have a holiday-ready home by the time Aunt Brenda and her brood shows up.

“We say it every year – the holidays will be here before we know it,” said Prime Lending. “For many people, that means hosting parties, welcoming overnight guests and opening your home to unexpected drop-in visitors. You may be thinking it would be great to spruce things up around your house before the holiday hustle and bustle begins. Now is a great time to dive into your home makeover and wrap it up before the holidays arrive.”

Here are the areas you might want to focus on first.

Get your kitchen looking cheftastic

Chances are, your kitchen is going to be one of the places where people are congregating during the holidays, and not just while cooking. If it’s seen better days, or if it just doesn’t reflect your style – or any style from this century – get started. You can select, order, and have new countertops installed in a matter of a few weeks. If you don’t want to touch the countertops, think about painting your cabinets and adding new hardware. A new backsplash can bring it all together, and is something you can do yourself.

 

Mary Evelyn

Replace or repair appliances

Thinking about the function of your kitchen – not just how you’ll use it over the holidays, but all year round – is key to making good choices when renovating. “If you are hosting Thanksgiving, a double oven and a new refrigerator may be your top priority,” said Prime Lending.

Maybe your dishwasher has seen better days or your washer and dryer have been hanging on for a while. Knowing that they’ll be put to good use with a house full of people might inspire you to make some upgrades now.

Consider the stuff you serve with and eat on, too

While you’re in the kitchen, you may want to think about upgrading your cookware, cooking utensils, glassware, silverware, and anything else that will be helping you prepare, serve, or eat food during the holidays. How old are those dishes, anyway?

Living room redo

If you have clunky built-ins or a large armoire housing your outdated TV, it might be time to make some changes. Turn the built-ins into bookcases or a sleek desk with some streamlined shelving above, which can provide both function and a fashionable upgrade. Turn a fireplace into a focal point by retiling or simply painting old brick white and hang a flat screen above. Voila. Your hangout space is updated and holiday-ready.

If you’re not super tech-savvy and have never installed a flat screen before, it’s smart to hire someone who is and who has. “If a new flat panel television, home theatre system, or other electronic devices are bound for your household this gift-giving season, consider seeking installation quotes from a trained professional,” said Better Homes and Gardens. “Proper installation can maximize your enjoyment of new electronics for a fraction of their purchase price, and the stress of following a multi-page instruction manual may bring out the Scrooge in many DIYers.”


Better Homes and Gardens
Add new bedding

You can make the guests rooms (or the guest couches, if your family converging on one house for the holidays looks anything like ours) hospitable and improve the look at the same time by changing out the bedding. Buying new sheets and a comforter is easy and inexpensive – and don’t forget new pillows, too. Choose a neutral color for the comforter and add some patterned pillow for some zip. Or, choose a graphic pattern to give the bed a modern feel. A fresh coat of paint in a color that is neutral and that gives the rooms a calming nature will help transform them into something that feels resort-like.

Address the back yard

If you live in a climate that allows outdoor enjoyment throughout the year – or if you know the kids will be playing outside regardless of the temperature – making some changes in your yard might be in order. The fall is a great time to buy patio furniture, since it’s typically on sale after summer ends. A firepit can be an inviting addition to your outdoor area, and one that will allow your guests to gather in front of a crackling fire while bundled up with a tasty, holiday beverage.

Update the guest bathrooms

One thing you can count on is that your guests will be spending time in the bathrooms. If yours are in need of some attention, now’s the time to pay some. If you don’t want to do a complete overhaul, you can make simple, inexpensive edits by changing out the showerhead, faucets, lighting, and slathering on a fresh coat of paint. A new paint color and some new hardware can also liven up older cabinets. Add a fresh set of towels and bath mats, and you’re all set.

Do a complete audit of everything else

Do a complete walkthrough of your house. Turn on all the baths, sinks, and showers, and all the lights and TVs. Sit on the beds, couches, and chairs. Open closets. Search the walls, doors, and baseboards for nicks and scratches. This will give you a head start on anything that needs to be fixed or replaced before family starts knocking on the door.

Written by Jaymi Naciri on Sunday, 09 October 2016

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/47925-20161010-renovations-to-think-about-now-if-you-want-a-holiday-ready-home

 

 

October 12, 2016   No Comments

Lawn Care For The Fall: Essential Tips to Follow

All summer you’ve been watering, cutting, trimming and feeding your yard in the hopes of having the greenest plot of land in the neighborhood. So what should you do to get your lawn in shape for the cool breezes of autumn? These six steps will help you get a head start on the colder weather.

Aeration and Overseeding

If you live in a climate with cool-season grass, fall is the perfect time to aerate your lawn because the air is cool and the soil is still warm from the heat of summer. The earlier you can do this, the better the results will be for your yard. Depending on where you live, September or early October is the best time to tackle this project. You’ll pay around $120 for lawn aeration.

Aeration removes small plugs of soil from your lawn, allowing greater amounts of air, nutrients and water to reach the root system of your grass. It also reduces soil compaction in the process. Following aeration, you might want to overseed your yard. Overseeding makes it easier for seeds to germinate while the soil is loose.

Feed Your Yard

Fall is the prime season of the year to fertilize cool-season grasses. Unlike warm-season grasses, which often go dormant in the fall and winter, cool-season grasses can actually hit their peak growth rates during the fall. This means they need a full dosage of nitrogen to help boost the health of the soil and your grass. Most importantly, this will help prevent the growth of weeds, which choke out the grass over time.

Cut Down on Mowing

Throughout the summer, you’ve gotten into the habit of mowing weekly. But if you have cool-season grass, it’s time to start cutting back on the number of mowing events each month. Generally speaking, every other week should be your maximum. If you have too much leaf coverage on your yard, you can mulch those up, but remember to leave your cutting deck high so you aren’t cutting off too much of your grass in the process.

The professional recommendation is not to cut off more than one-third of the total blade of grass each time you mow. Doing so can result in scalping the lawn, which stunts the growth of your grass. If you live in a warmer climate with warm-season grass, you can likely skip mowing altogether because your grass is going into its dormancy cycle.

Leaf Removal

There are two approaches you can take when dealing with falling leaves. At a bare minimum, you should remove any fallen foliage within seven to 10 days because it blocks sunlight from reaching your grass. But, if you get a relatively light leaf fall each autumn and you own a strong mulching mower, you can turn fallen leaves into a composting gold mine. If you mulch your leaf fall on a regular basis — at least once a week — you are recycling the nutrients back into the soil. If your leaf pile is too big, consider hiring a pro. You can expect to pay about $310 for professional leaf removal services.

Sow and Reseed

Believe it or not, but fall is a great time to reseed the bare patches of your yard and sow new sections of lawn for cool-season grasses. Applying fresh soil and some new seed to barren patches of your yard can help prepare your lawn to bounce back in the fall. As mentioned earlier, this time of year is often the strongest for cool-season yard growth, so take advantage.

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

If you have an underground sprinkler system to help you keep your yard green all summer, it could be the biggest threat to your utility bill and soil during the winter months. If you fail to blow out your underground system, the water left in the pipes could freeze, expand and burst the pipes. This could lead to a water leak in your yard that could compromise the integrity of the soil and cause serious damage. If you live in a cooler climate, it’s important to winterize your sprinkler system immediately.

Conclusion

With one weekend of work, you can accomplish most of these tasks and have a yard that looks great for the coming fall months.

 

Written by: Andrea Davis on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/47755-20160930-lawn-care-for-the-fall-essential-tips-to-follow

 

October 7, 2016   No Comments

10 Fall Home Improvement Tips

Now that summer gear has been stowed away, it’s time to focus on fall home improvement projects. According to Vicki Payne, host of the For Your Home with Vicki Payne television show, autumn is the key time to evaluate your home exterior and prepare it for the harsh winter months ahead.

“With cooler fall weather comes the realization that your home will soon experience cold, snowy weather,” says Payne, a nationally recognized home improvement expert on the country’s longest running home and garden television show. “To get your house ready, start by giving your exterior a thorough review. Everything should be checked, cleaned up and made ready to handle Mother Nature when she comes blowing in within the next few months.”

Payne recommends this checklist for exterior fall home improvement projects:

Tip #1 – Evaluate your roof. Look for missing or loose shingles, deterioration of asphalt shingles along with mold, algae or splitting of real wood shingles. If the roof is in poor shape, consider upgrading to a synthetic roof, like those from DaVinci Roofscapes®. The composite shake and slate products resist fire, impact, high winds, insects and mold, making them an ideal long-term investment for a home.

Tip #2 – Clean your gutters. Get leaves and gunk out now so that gutters won’t get backed up, clogged and frozen in the winter, causing ice formations. Gutters should be securely attached to the home and sloped for proper drainage. Also check to make sure all downspouts are clean and connected.

Tip #3 – Check your siding and trim. Make sure there are no rotting boards or insect infestations in any wood exterior products. Determine if a new paint job is needed before the winter weather hits. Should these items need replacement, research man-made low-maintenance products, like James Hardie® fiber cement siding or Ply Gem® PVC trim as reliable replacement options for key exterior parts of the home.

Tip #4 – Evaluate the deck. If your deck has seen its last summer party, look at replacing it before the winter with either a Western Red Cedar deck or composite decking from TAMKO®. Both products stand up extremely well to all types of weather and will make you happy to step out onto the deck every time.

Tip #5 – Check the functionality of your garage door. You’re in and out of your garage door many times each day. Make sure it’s functioning properly and has strong air infiltration seals to help keep energy bills down. If you’re ready for a new look or a harder-working garage door, consider the steel and aluminum options from Haas Door.

Tip #6 – Seal up the windows. Make sure your windows have strong weather-stripping in place with energy-efficient glass that is still working. If it’s time to upgrade your windows, investigate those with ENERGY STAR® ratings to help keep your home warmer during the winter months.

Tip #7 – Consider a privacy window upgrade. Tired of closing blinds or shades to gain privacy in your bathroom or bedroom? Think about replacing key windows with decorative glass or acrylic block privacy windows. Available from Hy-Lite in both operable and fixed styles, these windows add a beautiful accent to a room while protecting your privacy.

Tip #8 – Check out your doors. As with windows, your entry doors should have weather stripping that’s not worn out around the entire opening. This helps keep drafty cold air out of your house during winter months.

Tip #9 – Secure or replace railings. Loose or unstable railing systems can be dangerous. Check all balusters, handrails and elements of front and back rail systems to assure they’re functioning properly. If it’s time for a replacement, consider a new look by adding cable rails or glass balustrades from Fortress Railing Products.

Tip #10 – Spend time with your landscaping. Once the leaves have fallen, get out the rakes. Remove dead leaves and underbrush around the house and garden area before the snow falls. Re-mulch key landscaping areas. Trim back trees and bushes away from the house to get your home ready for winter snows.

“Home ownership means continually maintaining the exterior elements of a house,” says Payne. “With its cooler weather, autumn is the ideal time to evaluate, upgrade and improve those key exterior elements to assure your home is ready for the winter months ahead.”

 

 

Written by Vicki Payne on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 3:44 pm

 

For more information, visit: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/47410-20160914-10-fall-home-improvement-tips

 

September 21, 2016   No Comments

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer!

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer! | Keeping Current Matters

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market in many areas of the country! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 5.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

 

July 6, 2016   No Comments

7 Smart Renovations Under $500

If you’re thinking about selling your home, you may be stressed out about all the things you need to do to get it market ready, and all the costs associated with those updates. Renovations don’t have to cost you a fortune. By thinking smart about some of the updates that will have the greatest impact, you can minimize your spend and maximize your investment.

1. Give your kitchen some attention

If there’s one spot that can make or break your home sale, it’s this. You could spend thousands on new countertops and cabinets – and your agent may advise you to do some of these larger updates depending on the age and condition of your current kitchen and the competitiveness of your local market. But, for many of us, attention to a few key areas can help detract from the negatives and highlight the positives.

“Naturally, there are limits to what you can do on a budget. But many home-remodeling experts stress that moderately handy homeowners with just a little cash to spend can make a big difference in their kitchen,” said Bankrate. “And if the work looks good, you’re adding equity to your home,” Erin Davis, lead designer for Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Oregon, told them.

For under $500, you can paint your kitchen cabinets – use white for a classic yet updated look – and add hardware. You’ll be surprised how much impact these two changes can have in an outdated space. Finish it off with a fancy new faucet that can be swapped out for under $100, like this brushed chrome single handle pullout.

Light in the Box

2. Get a new appliance

It’s not likely that you’ll find a new appliance package for under $500, but you may be able to find a great deal on a new fridge or dishwasher if yours is a bit ratty by looking at scratch and dent items. Sometimes, the scratch is in a place that will be obscured by a wall, meaning you can save tons of money and not ever see the issue. If you can only afford one, think about the fact that you can take the refrigerator with you to your new place.

3. Bring in the light

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for sale is to fill it with natural light. That means opening drapes and pulling blinds for showings—and making sure your windows are clean behind them! If your home doesn’t offer a lot of natural light, careful placement of mirrors can help bounce whatever light there is around. Painting lighter colors can also keep the space airy, and is recommended by stagers as well.

Bringing in new light fixtures to replace anything that is outdated or builder grade can help give the home a modern feel for little financial output. Hanging two of these pendants over an island or peninsula captures one of the hottest trends in lighting today and will only set you back $104.

Lighting Direct

4. Refresh the bedrooms

Making sure the bedrooms have just the right amount of furniture – not too much, not too little – is key. Remove unnecessary pieces to emphasize the space and add key pieces like nightstands in a master (if you don’t currently have them) to highlight function. You can pick up a pair at IKEA for under $30. Style them with a lamp and a book or stylish accessory and no one will know they cost less than dinner. Don’t forget to add a new comforter for another modern touch. This three-piece set is just $49 from Wayfair.

Wayfair

5. Create some architectural interest

Crown molding can make a room look elegant and is also one of the features that can woo a picky buyer. Having a pro come in to install it can get expensive, but if you can use a saw and are somewhat adept at math, you can do it yourself. Materials should cost you abot $1.20 a foot at Home Depot. You can get some DIY tips here.

Creating interest in a space that needs it doesn’t have to involve power tools. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is one of our favorite tools for dressing up a wall without the hassle of working with paste and now it comes in textured looks we love, llike this reclaimed wood version.

Target

6. Create some curb appeal

Some of the most important things to do in the front of your house won’t cost you a thing outside of elbow grease: mow, rake, and clean up. Next, lay down a new layer of mulch, which will cost you a couple bucks per bag, and plant some fresh flowers or bring some flowerpots close to the door.

If your front door has seen better days, a fresh coat of paint will keep buyers from wondering what else needs work on the inside.

7. Throw some accessories at it

You may not have money to make large changes to your home, but you can make it look freshened up with a little smart staging. Make sure furniture arrangements in living spaces make sense—it costs you nothing to move stuff around or store an extra-large chair that’s impeding the flow of traffic in the garage while the home is for sale.

Some fresh flowers, a few throw pillows, an inexpensive new rug to anchor the seating area, and maybe a few modern knickknacks scattered around can make the space feel inviting.

 

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If you’re thinking about selling your home, you may be stressed out about all the things you need to do to get it market ready, and all the costs associated with those updates. Renovations don’t have to cost you a fortune. By thinking smart about some of the updates that will have the greatest impact, you can minimize your spend and maximize your investment.

1. Give your kitchen some attention

If there’s one spot that can make or break your home sale, it’s this. You could spend thousands on new countertops and cabinets – and your agent may advise you to do some of these larger updates depending on the age and condition of your current kitchen and the competitiveness of your local market. But, for many of us, attention to a few key areas can help detract from the negatives and highlight the positives.

“Naturally, there are limits to what you can do on a budget. But many home-remodeling experts stress that moderately handy homeowners with just a little cash to spend can make a big difference in their kitchen,” said Bankrate. “And if the work looks good, you’re adding equity to your home,” Erin Davis, lead designer for Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Oregon, told them.

For under $500, you can paint your kitchen cabinets – use white for a classic yet updated look – and add hardware. You’ll be surprised how much impact these two changes can have in an outdated space. Finish it off with a fancy new faucet that can be swapped out for under $100, like this brushed chrome single handle pullout.


Light in the Box
2. Get a new appliance

It’s not likely that you’ll find a new appliance package for under $500, but you may be able to find a great deal on a new fridge or dishwasher if yours is a bit ratty by looking at scratch and dent items. Sometimes, the scratch is in a place that will be obscured by a wall, meaning you can save tons of money and not ever see the issue. If you can only afford one, think about the fact that you can take the refrigerator with you to your new place.

3. Bring in the light

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for sale is to fill it with natural light. That means opening drapes and pulling blinds for showings—and making sure your windows are clean behind them! If your home doesn’t offer a lot of natural light, careful placement of mirrors can help bounce whatever light there is around. Painting lighter colors can also keep the space airy, and is recommended by stagers as well.

Bringing in new light fixtures to replace anything that is outdated or builder grade can help give the home a modern feel for little financial output. Hanging two of these pendants over an island or peninsula captures one of the hottest trends in lighting today and will only set you back $104.


Lighting Direct
4. Refresh the bedrooms

Making sure the bedrooms have just the right amount of furniture – not too much, not too little – is key. Remove unnecessary pieces to emphasize the space and add key pieces like nightstands in a master (if you don’t currently have them) to highlight function. You can pick up a pair at IKEA for under $30. Style them with a lamp and a book or stylish accessory and no one will know they cost less than dinner. Don’t forget to add a new comforter for another modern touch. This three-piece set is just $49 from Wayfair.


Wayfair
5. Create some architectural interest

Crown molding can make a room look elegant and is also one of the features that can woo a picky buyer. Having a pro come in to install it can get expensive, but if you can use a saw and are somewhat adept at math, you can do it yourself. Materials should cost you abot $1.20 a foot at Home Depot. You can get some DIY tips here.

Creating interest in a space that needs it doesn’t have to involve power tools. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is one of our favorite tools for dressing up a wall without the hassle of working with paste and now it comes in textured looks we love, llike this reclaimed wood version.


Target
6. Create some curb appeal

Some of the most important things to do in the front of your house won’t cost you a thing outside of elbow grease: mow, rake, and clean up. Next, lay down a new layer of mulch, which will cost you a couple bucks per bag, and plant some fresh flowers or bring some flowerpots close to the door.

If your front door has seen better days, a fresh coat of paint will keep buyers from wondering what else needs work on the inside.

7. Throw some accessories at it

You may not have money to make large changes to your home, but you can make it look freshened up with a little smart staging. Make sure furniture arrangements in living spaces make sense—it costs you nothing to move stuff around or store an extra-large chair that’s impeding the flow of traffic in the garage while the home is for sale.

Some fresh flowers, a few throw pillows, an inexpensive new rug to anchor the seating area, and maybe a few modern knickknacks scattered around can make the space feel inviting.

Written by Jaymi Naciri on Sunday, 19 June 2016 8:52 am

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/45395-20160620-7-smart-renovations-under-500

June 24, 2016   No Comments

10 Ways To Quickly Up Your Home Value For A Summer Sale

Planning to sell your home this summer? You may have a little – or a lot – to do in order to get your home market ready. But you don’t need a huge budget. These 10 tips can help you get it looking great with little effort, and cash.

1. Paint

Crisp white walls are great in a 1920s Spanish. For most other homes, a splash of color is an easy way to warm up the space, make it look more updated, and banish fingerprints and stains. Use a soft neutral like one of these favorite gray shades for a modern look.

2. Address your front door

A fresh coat of paint on your front door is a quick fix that pops with potential. Use a bright color like red or yellow to differentiate your home from others and make it shine from the street.

If your door really can’t be salvaged by painting it, you’ll be happy to know that replacing it with a new steel door has been shown to return between 75% and 100%+ of your investment. “It’s also a relatively low-cost project,” said Houselogic. “According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report,” a new steel front entry door has a national median cost of $2,000 installed.”

3. Quick curb appeal

Aside from your door, a few easy tasks can make the front of your home look great – important when you’re looking to sell your home since poor curb appeal can keep potential buyers from even coming inside. A new layer of mulch has been called the easiest and quickest way to add curb appeal. Pulling noticeable weeds, giving the lawn a quick mow, and bringing in fresh flowers – if you can’t plant, put a few pots near the front door—can make all the difference.

4. New appliances

Even if the rest of your kitchen needs work, new stainless steel appliances can tempt buyers. This package from US Appliance is just $1,749.


US Appliance
If you end up with a fancy new fridge you don’t want to leave behind, make sure to let your real estate agent know so it’s stipulated in the contract.

5. Quickie bathroom updates

A new or painted vanity, hardware, fixtures, and lighting can make a tired bathroom look fresh again. Don’t forget the little things – a fluffy set of towels, a nice rug, a modern shower curtain, and sleek accessories can make the space look good, even if it’s really in need of a gut job.

6. New bedding

You’d be surprised how new bedding can transform the look of your bedroom for next to nothing. There are two schools of thought here: get a cheap bed-in-a-bag set that looks nice but probably doesn’t have the thread count you want for everyday use, or spend a little more for something that has the looks and the luxe.

7. Create a guest room

Have a room that’s currently an undefined space? A blowup bed covered in some chic bedding can help buyers envision how they’ll use the room. This is a top tip from stagers, who say that “multipurpose” rooms can confuse buyers, leaving them unsure if a home will work for them.

8. Set the scene outdoors

Everybody is into indoor-outdoor living the days. A few tricks outside can make your place look inviting.

Create a seating area with some inexpensive outdoor furniture. Scour garage sales or catch a sale at Home Depot or Target. Put up an umbrella for shade and use inexpensive pavers or deck tiles to define the space. Stage it for outdoor dining and you’ve just created valuable, usable space buyers can see themselves enjoying.


Polywood Furniture
9. Steal a few staging tips

Hire a professional stager and it can set you back a couple thousand dollars. But you can steal a few of their most important tricks for free. Cleaning like you’ve never cleaned before, decluttering, and paring down your furniture to create inviting seating areas will allow buyers to see the space instead of your stuff (or your mess).

10. Window coverings

If your window coverings are ugly, old, and not doing your house justice, or if they’re keeping too much light from streaming into the home, consider taking them down. Natural light is high on almost every buyer’s must-have list. You can purchase inexpensive drapes at any big box store that you can use to frame the windows – but remember to keep them open at showings, and to clean your windows first!

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice1/item/45067-20160606-10-ways-to-quickly-up-your-home-value-for-a-summer-sale

 

June 15, 2016   No Comments

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows!

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Keeping Current Matters

The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We’re predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Keeping Current Matters

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage.

 

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Source: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/05/10/mortgage-rates-remain-at-historic-lows/

 

May 10, 2016   No Comments