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Spring Cleaning Efforts That Increase the Value of Your Home

Thanks to Marie Kondo and her hit Netflix series “Tidying Up,” home organization is a hot topic right now. Marie encourages her viewers to minimize their possessions and keep only those items that “spark joy.”

With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning and add organizational systems to your own home. Not only will you clear out clutter, your efforts can actually increase the value of your home.

Ready to give it a try? Here are six home organization ideas that will “spark joy” for you andyour property value.

Boost Bathroom Storage Capacity

When was the last time you cleaned out your bathroom cupboards? If it’s been awhile, remove everything and take a look at each item. Toss any old or expired products—keep only what you actually use.

If your vanity has drawers, add drawer organizers, so you have a dedicated space for smaller items, like makeup and jewelry. For deep cabinets, install roll-out shelves or baskets to maximize the use of space.

And don’t forget about the walls! Mount open shelves to store towels. If you’re short on storage space, a cabinet over the toilet can offer additional room for supplies. These inexpensive additions can make your morning routine a little easier while giving your bathroom a more custom feel. And on average, minor bathroom remodeling projects like these see a 102% return at resale.1

Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Sort through the items in your laundry room and throw away or donate anything you no longer need or use. If you’ve been holding onto a collection of old washcloths and single socks, it’s time to say goodbye. Then give your laundry room an upgrade with some customized organizational features.

A mix of open cubbies and cabinets with doors will give you plenty of options for storing detergents and supplies. If you have space, a divided hamper or set of laundry baskets can provide a place to sort your clothes before washing. Install a hanging rod or drying rack for delicates and a flat work surface for ironing and folding clothes. With a few simple tweaks, you can turn this chore into a score!

Fully Utilize Your Basement or Attic

Basements and attics can easily become a dumping ground for clutter. If that’s the case in your home, you know what to do!

Once you’ve conducted a thorough clean out, think about how you can better utilize the space to meet your family’s needs. Install cabinets and a table so you can use the area as a craft room. Or you could turn it into a game room with a media center and ping-pong table. Investing in your basement will not only add function for your family, but also the average basement remodel can see up to a 70% return on investment when it’s time to sell.2

If you have an attic, consider adding a cedar closet to store your off-season clothing. The cedar lining will keep your clothes free from moths and smelling fresh year round.3Turning your attic into a more usable space will pay off down the road, too. A finished attic sees an estimated 60% return on investment.2

Customize Your Closets

Cleaning out the closet is a chore most of us dread, but by now, you’re a pro! Get rid the clothes and shoes that don’t fit you, are uncomfortable to wear, or that no longer “spark joy.”

Then it’s organizing time. So where do you start? You’ll want to create a designated space for each type of clothing: high hanging rods for dresses and long jackets, lower rods for skirts and shirts, and shelves for folded items like jeans. And accessories need a place to go, too. Add racks for your shoes, drawers for jewelry, hooks for hats, and shelves or racks for handbags.

A well-equipped closet can be a major draw for buyers—the average return on a closet remodel is 57%.4But more importantly, it’ll improve your day-to-day life. Surveyed homeowners gave their closet remodel a “Joy Score” of 10 out of 10, higher than kitchen or bath upgrades.5

Install Built-in Bookcases and Cabinets

Built-in furniture adds functionality and storage to a room while giving your home a high-end look. Built-in bookcases can turn an empty room into an office. Custom cabinets can be used in a living room to display media equipment while providing hidden storage for DVDs, board games, and family albums.

When designing any built-in feature, remember not to go toocustom. A design that only fits your tastes or belongings could turn off future buyers. Instead, select standard sizes and classic finishes to appeal to a broad range of buyers when it comes time to sell. 

Equip Your Garage

If you can no longer fit your car in your garage, it may be time for a clean out. Similar to an attic or basement, the garage can quickly become overrun with clutter. A thorough cleaning will help you assess which items are worth keeping.

When adding organizational systems your garage, start with a small rack to store yard tools and larger racks for bikes and sports equipment. Overhead racks are a great place to put seasonal items and bulky luggage. A workbench against a wall lined with pegboard and hooks creates a dedicated space to use and store tools. If you have children or pets, add a cabinet with a lock. This will give you a place to securely store harsh chemicals and sharp tools. With a little effort, you’ll be pulling in your car (and buyers) in no time!

SPRING INTO ACTION

If you’re searching for service providers to help with your spring cleaning or home organization efforts, let us know! We can help connect you with our trusted network of local home improvement professionals.  Call us today, and let us know how we can help!

 

Sources:

  1. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/top-home-updates-that-pay-off-pictures
  2. Nationwide –
    https://blog.nationwide.com/valuable-home-improvements/
  3. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/maximum-home-value-storage-projects–attic
  4. The Closet Doctor – https://www.closet-doctor.com/news/what-is-the-return-on-investment-on-closet-organizers
  5. NAR Remodeling Impact Survey –
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2017-remodeling-impact-09-28-2017.pdf


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TitleCapture… Your New Go To App

We are excited to introduce our TitleCapture App which should soon become one of your favorite and most trusted resources… making your job easier and more productive when assisting your clients.

This one-stop app will provide all the tools you need to give immediate quotes, seller net sheets, and buyer estimates. All of which are TRID compliant, per CFPB’s requirements.

TitleCapture works on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

Here’s how to get started. Simply click this link and you’re on your way. Follow the directions and you will have access in seconds. You can even customize your app for emailing purposes.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Title Security is here to help you in any way we can.

Enjoy!
Crista


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Doing your due diligence when buying a home is paramount especially when you are a first time home buyer. See what you should be checking before purchasing.
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Overall, bathrooms are becoming larger, cleaner, and sleeker, focusing on a minimum of elements such as surfaces and fixtures.
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Bubble fears are based on memories of the housing meltdown more than reality, some experts say. As long as buyer demand remains high and new-home production low, there’s no bubble to burst. Prices are a result of demand, not risky lending.
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Don’t wait for a competitive market; be ahead of the curve and sell your house at the best possible price!
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Pent-up demand from a new generation of first-time home buyers and a low supply of single-family housing should drive long-term residential new construction growth.
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Over the past few decades, green design has rapidly evolved from its early roots as a residential fringe movement, and, since then, much has changed about the way people live.
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Resort-style amenities were once a standard for condo projects. Today, buyers are looking for more service-style amenities.


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Blockchain could have a substantial impact across many industries and applications, not least of which is real estate.
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Luxury amenities are trending towards ‘wellness’ and the ultra-wealthy are moving away from business as being their first priority to finding a place of ‘balance.
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“Fixer Upper” star Joanna Gaines knows not only how to make a house look beautiful, but also how to make it smell great.
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Baseball legend Fred McGriff’s Florida home has spent four years on the market, with five agents and two big price drops. From $6.9 to 3.5 million…
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Long gone are the days of closets being relegated to stashed-away space. The closets home pros are designing and homeowners seem drawn to now offer just as much style sense as storage.
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The 400 block of Central Avenue has never seen a building as tall as the Red Apple Group’s proposed tower. Some aren’t ready for that kind of development.
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What’s Ahead for Real Estate in 2019?

As we begin another year, everyone wants to know: “Where is the housing market headed in 2019?”

It’s not only buyers, sellers, and homeowners who are impacted. The real estate market plays an integral role in the overall U.S. economy.  Fortunately, key indicators point toward a stable housing market in 2019 with signs of modest growth. However, shifting conditions could impact you if you plan to buy, sell, or refinance this year.

 

HOME VALUES WILL INCREASE

The value of real estate will continue to rise. Freddie Mac predicts housing prices will increase by 4.3 percent in 2019.While the rapid price appreciation we witnessed earlier in the decade has slowed, the combination of a strong economy, low unemployment, and a lack of inventory in many market segments continues to push prices higher.

“Ninety percent of markets are experiencing price gains while very few are experiencing consistent price declines,” according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.2

Yun predicts that the national median existing-home price will increase to around $266,800 in 2019 and $274,000 in 2020. “Home price appreciation will slow down—the days of easy price gains are coming to an end—but prices will continue to rise.”

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market to buy a home, act fast. Prices will continue to go up, so you’ll pay more the longer you wait. If you’re a current homeowner, real estate has proven once again to be a solid investment over the long term. In fact, the equity level of American homeowners reached an all-time high in 2018, topping $6 trillion.3

 

SALES LEVELS WILL STABILIZE

In 2018, we saw a decline in sales, primarily driven by rising mortgage rates and a lack of affordable inventory. However, Yun isn’t alarmed. “2017 was the best year for home sales in ten years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we’ve been experiencing over the past few years.”2

Yun and other economists expect home sales to remain relatively flat over the next couple of years. Freddie Mac forecasts homes sales will increase 1 percent to 6.08 million in 2019 and 2 percent to 6.20 million in 2020.1

“The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand,” explains Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist for LendingTree. “With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.”4

What does it mean for you?If you’ve been scared off by reports of a market slowdown, it’s important to keep things in perspective. A cooldown can prevent a hot market from becoming overheated. A gradual and sustainable pace of growth is preferable for long-term economic stability.

 

MORTGAGE RATES WILL RISE

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates three times this year, resulting in a rise in mortgage rates.5While no one can predict future mortgage rates with certainty, Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale estimates that the rate for a 30-year mortgage will reach 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, up from around 4.62 percent at the end of 2018.6

While mortgage rates above 5 percent may seem high to today’s buyers, it’s not out of line with historical standards. According to Hale, “The average mortgage rate in the 1990s was 8.1 percent, and rates didn’t fall below 5 percent until 2009. So for buyers who can make the math work, buying a home is likely still an investment worth making.”7

What does it mean for you?If you’re in the market to buy a house or refinance an existing mortgage, you may want to act quickly before mortgage rates rise. To qualify for the lowest rate available, take steps to improve your credit score, pay down existing debt, and save up for a larger down payment.

 

AFFORDABILITY ISSUES WILL PERSIST

Although the desire to own a home remains strong, the combination of higher home prices and rising mortgage rates will make it increasingly difficult for many first-time buyers to afford one.

“Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive,” according to Hale. “Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid-to-higher-end price tier, not entry-level.”6

What does it mean for you? Unfortunately, market factors make it difficult for many first-time buyers to afford a home. However, as move-up buyers take advantage of new high-end inventory, we could see an increase in starter homes hitting the market.

  

MILLENNIALS WILL MAKE UP LARGEST SEGMENT OF BUYERS

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand,” according to Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American. “Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.”4

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, predicts the trend will continue. “Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.”6

What does it mean for you? If you’re in the market for a starter home, prepare to compete for the best listings. And if you plan to sell a home in 2019, be sure to work with an agent who knows how to reach millennial buyers by utilizing the latest online marketing techniques.

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2019, contact a real estate professional now to schedule a free consultation. They’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

START PREPARING TODAY

If you plan to BUY this year:

1.     Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.

2.     Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.

3.     Visit a professional. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

1.     Call your professional for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.

2.     Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. Your professional can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.

3.     Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage … and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

Sources:

  1. Freddie Mac Economic & Housing Research Forecast –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/pdf/201811-Forecast-04.pdf
  2. National Association of Realtors 2019 Forecast –
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/2019-forecast-existing-home-sales-to-stabilize-and-price-growth-to-continue
  3. Bankrate 2018 Year in Review –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/year-in-review-for-housing-market/
  4. Forbes 2019 Real Estate Forecast –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2018/12/06/2019-real-estate-forecast-what-home-buyers-sellers-and-investors-can-expect/#a98b80a70d9a
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association Forecast –
    https://www.mba.org/2018-press-releases/october/mba-forecast-purchase-originations-to-increase-to-12-trillion-in-2019
  6. com 2019 National Housing Forecast –
    https://www.realtor.com/research/2019-national-housing-forecast/
  7. FOX Business –
    https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/where-mortgage-rates-are-headed-in-2019


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Latest Florida Realtors data shows Single-family home sales up 8.5% year-over-year; condo-townhouse sales up 14.1%, due in part to rising inventory of active listings.
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Florida timeshare companies and exit companies are blaming each other for rising default rates, with the timeshare industry now lobbying lawmakers and regulators for policy changes.
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National flood insurance, like the 2018 hurricane season, ended at midnight last evening. Many observers predict another short-term extension for NFIP, but newly elected 2019 lawmakers may be more open to a long-term extension that also keeps rates affordable.
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This move could speed closings and reduce costs, but appraisers warn that automated processes are not as reliable.
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The federal agency that creates conventional loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will raise max amounts 6.9% – to $484,350 for most single-family 2019 loans.
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What’s Up With Housing?

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Federal statistics show that Realtors are twice as likely as the general public to be victims of violent crime.
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Residential market is so strong that developers are changing plans for major projects to meet rising demand.
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Listing your house for sale in this low-competition environment could net you more money than your renovations otherwise would.
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The National Flood Insurance program expires again Nov. 30. According to NAR, about 1,300 home sales could be disrupted every day if so – 40K sales each month.
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Harvard report: Adults older than 50 own 50% of all U.S. homes, and many aren’t financially ready to retire with inadequate savings after the recent recession. Many may be forced to sell, especially if they carry a mortgage and unexpected bills come in.