Five Fun (and Useful) Summer Home Projects

Summer is a great time to improve your home’s exterior. 

And whether you’re interested in enjoying your space a little more or you want to boost your home’s value, it makes sense to find inspiration by taking a look at what other homeowners are doing.

Are you thinking about updating your yard or patio this summer? Here are five popular trends to consider trying for yourself.

Install a workout or play area. Make the most of your property by building a swing set or sandbox, adding a horseshoe pit or investing in a small climbing wall or some gym equipment that the whole family can use. 

Build a front yard social spot. Want a casual outdoor spot that’s welcoming to your friends and neighbors? Think about setting up a social area in the front yard — one with benches, swings and comfortable places to sit and chat.

Focus on backyard entertainment. For more private gatherings, focus on guest-friendly features in the backyard. Movie screens, fire pits and hot tubs are a few popular options. 

Add an outdoor kitchen. Love to cook? Just want to eat alfresco? Install an outdoor pizza oven or invest in a smoker or grill. Be sure to set up a roomy (and durable) dining area, too.

Plant a vegetable or herb garden. It’s never too late to improve your landscaping with something functional. Consider planting a few of your family’s favorite veggies or herbs in a small garden out back.

Need some guidance on potential upgrades that can improve your home’s value? Thinking about a new property purchase instead? Get in touch today.

Don’t Skip These 6 Smart Moving Tips

No matter how much you prepare and how excited you are about your new home, moving will always be a bit stressful. 

There are endless to-do’s and tiring tasks, and once you’re finished, there’s still unpacking and organizing to be done.

Even so, you can take steps to streamline your relocation and minimize problems.

Are you planning to move properties soon? Take a look at these helpful tips as you get started.

Declutter and donate. Your first step should be to declutter your house and donate any items you no longer need. You should do this a few months out — long before you start packing. 

Start vetting and reserving services early on. Book your packers, movers and moving trucks early on. This will ensure you get the dates you need (as well as the best rates). 

Pack an overnight bag for each member of the family. Think about what you’ll want access to on moving day and on the first night in your new place. Make sure to include snacks, water and anything else you might need. 

Get creative with packing materials. You don’t necessarily need packing peanuts or costly bubble wrap to keep your items safe. Consider using hand towels, dishcloths, blankets, socks and other soft belongings instead. (They need to be packed anyway, after all.)

Label boxes systematically. Pack items by room and label each group of boxes with its own color (using stickers or a marker). This makes them easy to spot when loading, unloading and unpacking. 

Plan for your pets and kids. Little ones and pets could get in the way during the big move, so make sure you arrange for them to stay somewhere safe until you’re more settled. 

Thinking of buying a new home this year? Get in touch to start your search.

Don’t Skip These 6 Smart Moving Tips

No matter how much you prepare and how excited you are about your new home, moving will always be a bit stressful. 

There are endless to-do’s and tiring tasks, and once you’re finished, there’s still unpacking and organizing to be done.

Even so, you can take steps to streamline your relocation and minimize problems.

Are you planning to move properties soon? Take a look at these helpful tips as you get started.

Declutter and donate. Your first step should be to declutter your house and donate any items you no longer need. You should do this a few months out — long before you start packing. 

Start vetting and reserving services early on. Book your packers, movers and moving trucks early on. This will ensure you get the dates you need (as well as the best rates). 

Pack an overnight bag for each member of the family. Think about what you’ll want access to on moving day and on the first night in your new place. Make sure to include snacks, water and anything else you might need. 

Get creative with packing materials. You don’t necessarily need packing peanuts or costly bubble wrap to keep your items safe. Consider using hand towels, dishcloths, blankets, socks and other soft belongings instead. (They need to be packed anyway, after all.)

Label boxes systematically. Pack items by room and label each group of boxes with its own color (using stickers or a marker). This makes them easy to spot when loading, unloading and unpacking. 

Plan for your pets and kids. Little ones and pets could get in the way during the big move, so make sure you arrange for them to stay somewhere safe until you’re more settled. 

Thinking of buying a new home this year? Get in touch to start your search.

3 Big Housing Decisions You May Face

Housing decisions are never small. Where you choose to live impacts your budget, your job prospects and your social life. 

And in the future, your home plays a major role in what your retirement might look like (financially and logistically). 

For these reasons, housing decisions require plenty of careful consideration.

Want to be prepared to make the right choice when the time comes? Start here.

1. Should you build or buy? 

Both building a new home or buying an existing one can be good choices. You’ll typically pay more for a new home, but it will likely need fewer repairs and have lower maintenance costs. 

Existing homes, on the other hand, are usually cheaper upfront. They may come with more issues and potential repairs, though.

2. Is it better to move or to remodel? 

There will typically come a time when you outgrow your first house. When this happens, you’ll need to decide whether updating (or expanding) that property is best or if you’re better off finding a new home instead. 

Renovating will come with some hassle and mess, but if you love your location or your kids’ schools, it can be a smart choice. Buying a new property would allow you to change some of those foundational aspects — things like location, school district and community amenities.

3. Is it time to downsize? 

As you age and your kids move out, you might consider a smaller house. Downsizing can reduce your monthly costs, free up cash flow and reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance you need to do. 

On the other hand, it may be hard to part with your long-standing home — both for you and your grown children. You’ll also want to think about things like your budget, long-term retirement plans, physical comfort and more.

Need help making a big housing decision? We’re here for you. Get in touch today to discuss your options. 

Essential Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

Your home is an investment — and protecting that investment is probably one of your top priorities. 

So as the seasons change and you start to spruce up and refresh your space, be sure to make time for maintenance as well as spring cleaning. 

Keeping up with essential tasks will help ensure your home stays hazard-free, retains its value, and maybe even delivers a profit in the future.

Here are the top spring maintenance tasks to add to your to-do list today.

Structure and Foundation

  • Check the foundation and exterior walls for cracks.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and repair any leaks or holes.
  • Inspect the roof, looking for loose or missing shingles, damage to any pipes, or unusual wear and tear.
  • Check for gaps around doors and windows and reseal them.

Systems and Appliances

  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Schedule an HVAC tuneup to ensure your system is ready when it’s needed.
  • Clean the refrigerator coils to lengthen your fridge’s life span.
  • Flush the water heater to remove all the sediment that has built up over the last year.
  • Replace air filters if you haven’t done so lately.
  • Clean your dryer vent duct to prevent fires and keep the dryer working more efficiently.

Outside Details

  • Check for termites to stop a damaging infestation as soon as possible.
  • Clean the siding, check for damage to exterior woodwork, and repair and reseal these areas as needed.
  • Check the sprinkler system to make sure all the heads are facing the right direction and do a test run before setting up your watering schedule.
  • Clean up the landscaping by trimming, mowing and clearing debris. You may also think about planting some seasonal flowers. 

Proper maintenance is critical to maintaining your home’s value. If you’re planning to sell soon, it’s even more important. 

Are you thinking of selling your house and buying a new one soon? Get in touch today.

How to Make Your Best Offer on a Home

Making the right offer is crucial when you have your eye on a home. 

Offer too little, and you may get passed over for the next buyer. Offer too much, and you may need to reevaluate your budget for furnishings or upgrades. This can be one of the most challenging parts of buying a new property. 

Want to make sure you have a strong offer at a price you can afford? Here’s when you might offer above, below and at the listing price.

  • At List Price: A home that’s within your budget, move-in ready and comes with all the amenities you want could be worth an offer at the listing price. But you’ll want to make sure there’s not much competition for the property.
  • Below List Price: Does the home need serious work? If so, you may want to offer below the selling price. In this case, bidding less money could free up cash for future repairs and necessary upgrades. You can also try a lower offer if there are tons of homes listed in your area (but little demand for them). Get in touch to learn about the properties for sale in your desired neighborhood.
  • Above List Price: You may want to go beyond listing price if you’re in a particularly active market or you know you’re up against several buyers. Together, we can determine what other homes in the area are going for, and we’ll make sure your best offer aligns with those bids.

Ready for a new home (and don’t want to overspend)? Reach out today, and we can begin looking for a property that’s perfect for you and your family.

How Paint Color Can Enhance Your Mood

Your paint choices have a significant impact on your home. 

Not only can color determine your living space’s overall aesthetic, but it can also influence your mood and set the right tone for your guests.

Do you want your space to feel comfy and serene or trendy and dramatic? Or maybe your family’s style is somewhere in between. 

Here are five color inspirations that can enhance your mood and your home.

  • Inspired by Nature: Are you spending a lot of time indoors? Consider adding more natural elements. Shades of sunny yellow, soft brown and deep green can open up your space and make it feel more calming.
  • Uplifting Hues: Trendy tones — like Pantone’s Ultimate Gray and Illuminating — make a statement. Or you could use Benjamin Moore’s Aegean Teal as an accent color or to add light and vibrancy to an entire room.
  • Rich Jewel Tones: Do you want an elegant and luxurious aesthetic? Bold magenta, deep blue and royal purple can help you create more dramatic spaces.
  • Classic Neutrals: Use deep gray or soft taupe to create a clean, minimalistic palette. And the best part? These colors are timeless and pair well with nearly any home decor. 
  • Warm and Cozy: Encourage feelings of warmth and positivity with desert-inspired hues such as rust and soft pink. A soothing color, like apricot, could be perfect in a bedroom or nursery.  

The right color palette can evoke the feelings you want in your home. Need more help choosing your tone and style? Reach out today for a recommendation or to look for a new space to make your own.

5 Ways to Build More Equity in Your Home

Equity — or the share of your property you actually own — is a benefit to any homeowner. For one, it means more profits when it’s time to sell. On top of that, it can also give you cash when you need it — either through a refinance or home equity loan. Fortunately, building equity can be easy. Every month you increase your home equity by making your mortgage payment. If you want to build your equity even further, there are several ways to do it, including: Buying in an up-and-coming market. If home values in your neighborhood start to rise, so will your property value. That can mean more equity, too.

Increasing your down payment. The more you put down, the less your lender will need to loan you, and the larger your equity stake will be.

Paying more on your mortgage. Putting extra toward your mortgage loan — either each month or a few times a year — can help you pay down your balance and increase your share. Consider putting your annual tax refund toward your loan to really make a dent.

Renovating your home. Anything that improves your home’s value also increases your equity. Choose your projects wisely, and reach out if you need some help getting started.

Refinancing your loan. With a short-term loan, like a 15-year, you can pay down your balance faster (and sometimes get a lower rate as well). This can help you build equity more quickly.Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

Home Maintenance to Prep for Winter

Winter is fast approaching, and if you’re a homeowner, that usually means now’s the time to tackle key maintenance tasks — at least if you want to ensure a warm and comfortable season.

There are appliances to check, inspections to complete and exterior tasks to do. 

Are you ready for the incoming colder months? Want to make sure your home is too? Here are five steps to take ahead of the winter months. 

  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Cracks and gaps can let in cold air. Reseal old caulking and fill in any holes, splits or openings you find.
  • Get a roof inspection. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your roof is protected from leaks that could result in moisture- or mold-related problems.
  • Tend to your yard. Heavy storms can weigh down branches, causing them to fall on your roof or car. Check that all trees and foliage are cared for and well-trimmed.
  • Insulate your attic, pipes and walls. Better insulation can mean lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. Take some time to evaluate yours, and consider adding extra if needed. 
  • Check the water heater. Make sure your water heater is operating effectively and efficiently. You might also want to flush the system to remove any sediment that may be at the bottom of the tank.

Completing this essential winter maintenance can set your family up for a cozy, relaxing season at home. It’ll also help you identify any potential issues before they have a chance to turn into costly repairs. To learn more home upkeep tips, reach out today.

5 Myths About Selling a Home Right Now

Are you curious about the state of the housing market? Like many homeowners, especially potential sellers, you may be hesitant to make a move because there’s a lot of uncertainty and speculation these days. 

But you don’t want to let false assumptions keep you from reaching your goals, now or in the future. 

Let’s clear up some common myths about what’s happening in real estate right now and what we’re likely to expect going forward.

  • Myth: Buyers are waiting to enter the market.

    Record-low mortgage rates mean it’s a great time to purchase a home, and buyers are actively engaging in the market.
  • Myth: Fall is the wrong season to sell.

    You’ve probably heard that it’s better to list in the spring or summer. But this fall is a seller’s market — and a highly active one at that.
  • Myth: Home prices are decreasing.

    Nearly every metro region saw price growth this year, with trends outpacing expectations. In fact, historically low mortgage rates could allow people to afford higher-priced homes, encouraging them to buy now.
  • Myth: You won’t be able to show your home.

    You can show your home safely by following the recommended precautions. Virtual home tours and private showings are also options. 
  • Myth: The real estate market is going to crash.

    It’s a common concern, but what’s happening today is different from the financial crisis of 2008. Experts are optimistic, as the economy remains fundamentally strong. The housing market looks solid for the foreseeable future, and there is no reason to abandon your plans. 

It’s easy for the truth about selling to get lost in the shuffle. If you’re curious about what else is happening in real estate, especially our local market, reach out today.