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. 

5 Countertops That Are Worth the Upgrade

Updating your kitchen can be a smart way to increase your home’s worth. In fact, Remodeling Magazine named a minor kitchen renovation one of the best projects to take on this year — and upgrading your countertops is a good place to start. 

The right countertop can add aesthetic and resale value to your home and improve your space’s functionality. 

Which of these five materials do you like best?

Quartz: These countertops are low maintenance and nonporous, meaning they won’t soak up moisture or hold bacteria. Quartz is also quite popular and may attract more buyers to your home when it comes time to sell.

Soapstone: This rare material is trending among home designers. Its unique aesthetic can add effortless style to your space, but it’ll come with a hefty price tag.

Granite: A classic style, granite offers a great look, as well as a scratch- and heat-resistant surface. It’s one of the more expensive countertops, and it needs regular resealing to stay in top condition.

Solid Surface: These countertops are a mixture of manmade materials and resins, making them easy to keep clean. Solid surface comes in all sorts of colors and tends to resemble granite — minus the high cost.

Eco-Friendly: Upcycled wood and recycled glass are two options in this category. The cost will depend on where you source your materials, but you’ll be minimizing your environmental footprint and getting a one-of-a-kind countertop in the process.

Simple cosmetic changes to your kitchen can make a big difference. Get in touch today for more tips on upping the resale value of your home.

Essentials to Keep in Your Emergency Kit

Let’s face it: You can’t predict the future. That’s why having a fully stocked emergency kit is so important. No matter the time of year, it’s always better to play it safe.  Would you and your family be prepared, just in case?  Putting essential supplies together doesn’t have to be a chore and can even be done fairly quickly. You just need a list and a plan.Need ideas? See below for useful items in any situation. 

Communication: Stay connected even if you lose power. Try a hand-crank or battery-powered radio — preferably one with charging ability to keep your devices running. 

Lighting: A flashlight and batteries are a must. Get a few different types, like lanterns, floodlights and keychains. You never know how much light you’ll need or where you’ll need to take it. You can also stash a few candles and some matches.

Food and Water: Pack at least three days’ worth of water, nonperishable foods and canned goods — and don’t forget the can opener. Think beans, nuts and seeds, protein bars and dried fruit.  

First-Aid Supplies: You’ll want a first-aid kit, complete with bandages, gauze, burn cream, antiseptic, sterile gloves, safety pins and more. Pain relievers and an extra supply of prescription medications are important, too.

Clothing and Bedding: Every family member will need a few changes of clothes and portable bedding like sleeping bags, blankets and pillows.

Miscellaneous Items: Cash, personal documents and paper maps might not seem essential now, but they could come in handy. Other nice-to-have items include duct tape, cleaning products and a multitool. There’s no telling what the future may bring, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Get in touch today for more home safety tips.

Tips for Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Finding a home that suits you is only part of the journey. Another big part? Choosing the right neighborhood.

The number of bedrooms and square footage are certainly important when buying a home — but the community might be even more vital. 

After all, it’s where you’ll likely exercise and socialize, where your kids will grow up and go to school and, ultimately, where you’ll put down roots and build a life.

Are you ready to look for a new home? Here’s how you can find the right neighborhood:

  • Know your needs. If walkability is high on your list, make sure the neighborhood offers plenty of paths to explore. Is your commute to work a big factor? How long will it be? What are your thoughts on homeowners associations?
  • Do some research. Take some time to look into the community. Check out school district ratings and look at nearby listings to see home values. Reach out to learn what else the community offers.
  • Check out online groups. Pull up any neighborhood groups you can find on social media. Does the online community seem friendly? You can also search for a neighborhood newsletter or local events.
  • Take a self-guided tour. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of day to get a feel for its character. Can you see yourself living there? If you’re buying from out of town, you can hop on Google Maps and take a virtual walk. 

And if you’re ready to take an online tour or see a home in person, get in touch today. Together we’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you.

An Easy Guide to Virtual Home Tours

Virtual home tours have quickly become the new norm. Sellers and agents now rely on digital tools, and many are skipping the traditional open house and opting for tours via video platforms.

But for buyers, there’s more uncertainty. Can you really judge a home from a screen?  

Surprisingly, you can — as long as you prepare. 

Are you gearing up for a home search? Want to make the most of your virtual tours?  

Download the app. Will the tour be livestreamed on social media? Or will you need to log in to a new platform? Install the right app and do a practice run with a friend.

Research the home. Go beyond the listing description. Look at every photo, drive by in your car, explore the neighborhood and pull up property records. Reach out if you’re unsure how to find this info.

Get the floor plan. Print the home’s floor plan and keep it on hand during the tour. This will help you understand where you’re at in the house (and gauge the size of each room) as you move through the property.

Pay attention to details. Ask to see areas the agent hasn’t shown. How big are the closets? What’s the view outside the windows? You can even ask to walk around the yard or up the street virtually.  

Write down questions. If your tour is one-on-one and in real time, you can ask questions as you go. If it’s a group open house or a prerecorded video, you’ll want to write down your questions, then we can discuss them together.

Adapting to the changing market is easier when you have a partner in your corner. Ready to make your next move? Get in touch today.