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What’s Up With Housing?

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Disney isn’t renowned for pioneering in real estate development but this has actually been at the heart of its parks and resorts strategy for decades.
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April is Florida’s prime selling month, so if you’re putting your home on the market consider this: Cleaning and decluttering can improve the looks of a house but sometimes it takes more than that to really wow buyers.
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According to a new ASLA report, homeowners want to do yoga in their sustainably designed backyards or shared outdoor spaces—while their phones are charging nearby.
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A do-it-yourself home kit arrives on flatbed trucks and even includes nails, so landowners can save on construction costs if willing to invest sweat equity.
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While white and gray continue to dominate, homeowners are opting for more innovative appliances, technologies, and more.
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HOUSE CARE CALENDAR: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

House Care Calendar

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1 The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family … and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It’s applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.

Spring

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

Inside

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
    Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.
  • Shut Down Heating System
    Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.
  • Tune Up A/C
    If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance.2
  • Check Plumbing
    It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.3
  • Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.4

Outside

Inspect Perimeter of Home
Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.

  • Clean Home’s Exterior
    Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6
  • Rake Leaves
    Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.
  • Seed or Sod Lawn
    If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.8
  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
    While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don’t plan to seed or sod in the spring.
  • Plant Flowers
    After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
  • Mulch Beds
    A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.9
  • Fertilize Lawn
    Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.10
  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
    Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.11
  • Inspect Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.
  • Check the Deck
    If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.
  • Prepare Pool
    If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.

Summer

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

Inside

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
    Make sure they are set to run counter-clockwise in the summer to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Utilizing fans instead of your air conditioner, when possible, will help minimize your utility bills.
  • Clean A/C Filters
    Be sure to clean or replace your filters monthly, particularly if you’re running your air conditioner often.
  • Clear Dryer Vent
    Help cut down on summer utility bills by cleaning your laundry dryer vent at least once a year. Not only will it help cut down on drying times, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard.
  • Check Weather Stripping
    If you’re running your air conditioner in the summer, you’ll want to keep the cold air inside and hot air outside. Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a good seal.

Outside

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
    Your lawn will probably need regular mowing in the summer. Adjust your mower height to the highest setting, as taller grass helps shade the soil to prevent drought and weeds.
  • Water Early in the Morning
    Ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of water during the hot summer months. Experts generally recommend watering in the early morning to minimize evaporation, but be mindful of any watering restrictions in your area, which may limit the time and/or days you are allowed to water.
  • Weed Weekly
    To prevent weeds from taking over your garden and ruining your home’s valuable curb appeal, make a habit of pulling weeds at least once per week.
  • Exterminate Pests
    Remove any standing water and piles of leaves and debris. Inspect your lawn and perimeter of your home for signs of an invasion. If necessary, call a professional exterminator for assistance.
  • Tune Up Generator
    If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.

Fall

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

Inside

  • Have Heater Serviced
    To ensure safety and efficiency, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.
  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
    If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it’s properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.
  • Inspect Chimney
    Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.
  • Seal Windows and Doors
    Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.
  • Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it’s time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.3

Outside

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
    Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring.12 It’s also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.
  • Rake or Mow Leaves
    Once the leaves start falling, it’s time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
    If you choose not to use a mulching mower, a fall fertilizer is usually recommended. For best results, aerate your lawn before applying the fertilizer.13
  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
    Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.
  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.
  • Close Pool
    If you have a pool, it’s time to clean and close it up before the winter.

Winter

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

Inside

  • Maintain Heating System
    Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.
  • Tune Up Generator
    If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.
  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
    Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you’re away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.

Outside

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
    Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.
  • Remove Window Screens
    Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.
  • Service Snowblower
    Don’t wait until the first snowstorm of the season to make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance or have it serviced by a professional.
  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
    Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.
  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
    Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that can build up along the eaves of your house. They can do major damage to gutters, shingles and siding. Heated cables installed prior to the first winter storm can help.14
  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees
    Snow can cause tree limbs to break, which can be especially dangerous if they are near your home. Use a broom to periodically remove excess snow.15

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home’s maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.

Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price.

Are you looking for help with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email us, and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors.

Sources:

  1. HouseLogic.com – https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/value-home-maintenance/
  2. Home Advisor – https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/servicing-your-air-conditioner/
  3. Keyes & Sons Plumbing and Heating – http://keyes-plumbing.com/things-to-check-in-spring/
  4. Allstate Insurance Blog – https://blog.allstate.com/test-smoke-detectors/
  5. Houzz – https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/17268616/list/how-to-wash-your-house
  6. Angie’s List – https://www.angieslist.com/articles/why-gutter-cleaning-so-important.htm
  7. Angie’s List – https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-thatch-and-how-does-it-impact-my-lawn.htm
  8. HGTV – http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/lawns/top-spring-lawn-care-tips-pictures
  9. This Old House – https://www.thisoldhouse.com/more/may-mulching
  10. Lowes – https://www.lowes.com/projects/lawn-and-garden/fertilize-your-lawn/project
  11. The New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist
  12. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine – https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/what-to-plant-in-the-fall/
  13. The Spruce – https://www.thespruce.com/late-fall-fertilizing-2152976
  14. This Old House – https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-ice-dams
  15. Houzz – https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55572864/list/your-winter-home-maintenance-checklist


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Spring Forward! 7 Ways to Make the Most of This Weekend.
Wild birds, Pi Day or an extra hour of daylight in the evening — which of these pre-spring pleasures tops your list?
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Many home sellers worry that they could be selling their home too soon, losing out on thousands of dollars. Here’s a reality check to help you cope.
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Project Destined teaches kids how to value and finance local apartment buildings, and then given the opportunity to share in real profits from those properties.
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Nine Florida metropolitan areas, including the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro, ranked in the top 20 metros nationwide for consumer reports about fraud in 2017.
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“We are concerned with the recent increase of loans that have debt-to-income ratios exceeding 45%.”
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It’s getting harder to find areas with a healthy balance of affordable home prices, low competition and strong growth prospects.


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Some buyers want a newly built home, but today’s tight inventory of existing homes is pushing even more to consider construction. Building a home, however, comes with different challenges, such as greater difficulty finding a willing lender.
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Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market and supply will ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.
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According to the recent JPMorgan Chase Business Leaders Outlook survey, which showed that about 91 percent of owners of the state’s small- and medium-sized businesses expect local economic conditions to be favorable in 2018.
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Rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.
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“Even considering the recovery from the financial crisis, we are experiencing a boom in home prices.”
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Conference Board: Despite recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for U.S. businesses and labor markets.


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9 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look More Expensive

Kitchens are the most expensive rooms to renovate—period. But if paying for new counters, updating your backsplash, and switching out appliances fall outside of your budget, there are other ways to give your space a sense of luxury without spending a fortune. From upgrading your cabinetry hardware to swapping out an outdated light fixture to hanging an affordable piece of art, you’d be surprised at just how many budget-friendly kitchen styling tricks there are for creating a chef-worthy space on a dime. Even if you do just one of these things, your space will instantly look a million times more luxe—trust us.

If you’d like to take your kitchen’s design up a notch, keep scrolling for nine kitchen styling ideas that will take your space from standard to special and ho-hum to high-end in no time.


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5 Tips if You Plan to Buy or Sell a Home Using Cryptocurrency…

  • Cryptocurrencies are fast becoming the payment method of choice for the high-end real estate market.
  • Those who have made millions through cryptocurrencies look to real estate as a logical, less volatile asset.
  • Cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated, which also makes them more attractive for potential home buyers.

Real estate agent Tony Giordano knows high-end real estate, and he has made it his business to know cryptocurrencies, because that is fast becoming his business. The crypto craze has made new millionaires, many of whom are looking for ways to reinvest their gains. Real estate is a logical, less volatile asset.

So Giordano, who specializes in the luxury real estate market, is more often than not traveling from his home base in Los Angeles to real estate conferences around the nation, teaching other agents how to deal in cryptocurrencies. The requests are coming in faster and faster.

“What I’m trying to teach agents is, do your research if you want to invest in it, but regardless of the investment side, this is a real currency and you’d better learn it and understand it,” said Giordano. “They’re not realizing, it’s here now as a currency to be used in the purchase and sale of a property.”

Giordano has already closed several cryptocurrency home sales. He now asks every one of his seller clients of a high-end home if he or she would be willing to accept any currency. The strategy is simple: The more options for the buyer, the more potential buyers, especially on the high end, where buyers often want to fly under the radar and avoid tax issues. Cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated.

“That’s our job in marketing property, especially luxury real estate,” said Gioradano. “Never assume where the buyer is going to come from. Make sure we get this property out there and say we are open to all currencies and crypto being one of them.”

Nationwide there are already a few hundred listings that mention cryptocurrencies as an option for buyers.

These are Tony’s tips for buyers and sellers:

  1. Research: Sellers need to really take the time to learn and understand it. Cryptocurrency YouTube videos can really help.
  2. Understand: Stop thinking only about the investment side of it. It’s a real currency regardless of its value (bubble or no bubble) that people can buy or sell real estate with.
  3. Hire an expert: Sellers need to make sure the agent they are interviewing to list their property is very familiar and experienced with a crypto transaction.
  4. Practice/learn: Download a cryptocurrency app (like Coinbase) and buy $20 of a bitcoin to start to understand how to buy it and then sell it back and exchange it to USD again.
  5. Keep up to date with all the main cryptocurrencies. Not just bitcoin. You want to watch bitcoin cash, ethereum, lite coin, ripple, etc.

via Diana Olick, CNBC


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Access Is An Important Factor In Getting Your House SOLD!

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showings with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48-Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

via Keeping Current Matters