Here’s Your Spring Maintenance Checklist
Now that spring has sprung, let’s clear the cobwebs and get your home ready! Here is our quick guide to spring home maintenance:
Inspection top to bottom: Now that the weather is temperate you will want to check on how your home weathered the winter. Check the roof for leaks, the gutters for damage, and the siding for cracks. You will also want to inspect your basement or foundation for any shifts. Make repairs now to prevent further damage.
Clean out the gutters: April showers bring May flowers… so clear out the gutters to keep rain from pooling on your roof or near your foundation.
Pest control: Spring is mating season for eight-legged critters, so sweep out cobwebs, clear debris, and check the nooks and crannies. If you live in an area prone to dangerous species like brown recluse or black widows, you may want to contact your local pest control, but otherwise, household spiders do help eliminate other bugs.
HVAC system: If you have an air conditioner now is the time to check to make sure it is ready before summer gets here and everyone else is clamoring for maintenance. Now is a good time to check your home air filters and replace or upgrade to keep allergens at bay.
Clear the clutter: Do a sweep around the house and get rid of junk that you don’t use! Take a little time each week to tackle a room. Closets, playrooms, and basements can be especially daunting, but getting rid of old stuff and refreshing your space will go a long way!
Deep clean: On a nice day open the windows, dust, wipe, scrub, and clean. You will get a nice workout and your home will look and feel so fresh after a winter of being cooped up.
Update your décor: Add a splash of color to your home with small embellishments. Add a colorful vase, a lighter throw for your sofa, pretty pastel pillows, or spring-time candles, to upgrade your living space.
Take it outdoors: Let your throw rugs, curtains, and other tapestries air our outside. Shake off the dust, spot clean what you can and let everything bask in the sun for an afternoon.
Don’t forget the back yard: It may not be time to start up the grill, yet, but you can get started on your outdoor entertaining checklist. Check your lawn, and if you have some spare spots start filling in with seed. Check your outdoor plants, prune, plant bulbs, start to replenish the soil for your garden, and mow, so you are ready to start when the season allows.
Speaking of the grill – if you have a gas grill you will want to pull this out and perform a maintenance check. Clean everything up and check to make sure all the gas lines are clear, as these can get clogged after sitting idle all winter. Make sure the grill is clear of spiders too, as they can build webs in the tubes, causing damage to your grill. You can start to bring out your garden furniture too, or clean it up if you left it covered outside all winter. Because before you know it, it’ll be barbeque season!
Posted March 13 2019, 11:00 AM PDT by Kenady Swan
Should I Move or Remodel?
There are a number of things that can trigger the decision to remodel or move to a new home. Perhaps you have outgrown your current space, you might be tired of struggling with ancient plumbing or wiring systems, or maybe your home just feels out of date. The question is: Should you stay or should you go? Choosing whether to remodel or move involves looking at a number of factors. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
Five reasons to move:
1. Your current location just isn’t working.
Unruly neighbors, a miserable commute, or a less-than-desirable school district—these are factors you cannot change. If your current location is detracting from your overall quality of life, it’s time to consider moving. If you’re just ready for a change, that’s a good reason, too. Some people are simply tired of their old homes and want to move on.
2. Your home is already one of the nicest in the neighborhood.
Regardless of the improvements you might make, location largely limits the amount of money you can get for your home when you sell. A general rule of thumb for remodeling is to make sure that you don’t over-improve your home for the neighborhood. If your property is already the most valuable house on the block, additional upgrades usually won’t pay off in return on investment at selling time.
3. There is a good chance you will move soon anyway.
If your likelihood of moving in the next two years is high, remodeling probably isn’t your best choice. There’s no reason to go through the hassle and expense of remodeling and not be able to enjoy it. It may be better to move now to get the house you want.
4. You need to make too many improvements to meet your needs.
This is particularly an issue with growing families. What was cozy for a young couple may be totally inadequate when you add small children. Increasing the space to make your home workable may cost more than moving to another house. In addition, lot size, building codes, and neighborhood covenants may restrict what you can do. Once you’ve outlined the remodeling upgrades that you’d like, a real estate agent can help you determine what kind of home you could buy for the same investment.
5. You don’t like remodeling.
Remodeling is disruptive. It may be the inconvenience of loosing the use of a bathroom for a week, or it can mean moving out altogether for a couple of months. Remodeling also requires making a lot of decisions. You have to be able to visualize new walls and floor plans, decide how large you want windows to be, and where to situate doors. Then there is choosing from hundreds of flooring, countertop, and fixture options. Some people love this. If you’re not one of them, it is probably easier to buy a house that has the features you want already in place.
Five reasons to remodel:
1. You love your neighborhood.
You can walk to the park, you have lots of close friends nearby, and the guy at the espresso stand knows you by name. There are features of a neighborhood, whether it’s tree-lined streets or annual community celebrations, that you just can’t re-create somewhere else. If you love where you live, that’s a good reason to stay.
2. You like your current home’s floor plan.
The general layout of your home either works for you or it doesn’t. If you enjoy the configuration and overall feeling of your current home, there’s a good chance it can be turned into a dream home. The combination of special features you really value, such as morning sun or a special view, may be hard to replicate in a new home.
3. You’ve got a great yard.
Yards in older neighborhoods often have features you cannot find in newer developments, including large lots, mature trees, and established landscaping. Even if you find a new home with a large lot, it takes considerable time and expense to create a fully landscaped yard.
4. You can get exactly the home you want.
Remodeling allows you to create a home tailored exactly to your lifestyle. You have control over the look and feel of everything, from the color of the walls to the finish on the cabinets. Consider also that most people who buy a new home spend up to 30 percent of the value of their new house fixing it up the way they want.
5. It may make better financial sense.
In some cases, remodeling might be cheaper than selling. A contractor can give you an estimate of what it would cost to make the improvements you’re considering. A real estate agent can give you prices of comparable homes with those same features. But remember that while remodeling projects add to the value of your home, most don’t fully recover their costs when you sell.
Remodel or move checklist:
Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether to move or remodel.
1. How much money can you afford to spend?
2. How long do you plan to live in your current home?
3. How do you feel about your current location?
4. Do you like the general floor plan of your current house?
5. Will the remodeling you’re considering offer a good return on investment?
6. Can you get more house for the money in another location that you like?
7. Are you willing to live in your house during a remodeling project?
8. If not, do you have the resources to live elsewhere while you’re remodeling?
If you have questions about whether remodeling or selling is a wise investment, or are looking for an agent in your area, we have professionals that can help you.
f us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in products for the home has increased drastically, while at the same time, homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that indoor pollutants today are anywhere from five to 70 times higher than pollutants in outside air.
Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well.
How pollutants get into our homes
Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. The “new car smell” is another example of this. The smell seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can actually “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone.
We all know to use paint and glue in a well-ventilated room, but there are many other materials that don’t come with that warning. For instance, there are chemicals, such as formaldehyde, in the resin used to make most cabinets and plywood particle board. It’s also in wall paneling and closet shelves, and in certain wood finishes used on cabinets and furniture. The problems aren’t just with wood, either. Fabrics—everything from draperies to upholstery, bedding, and carpets—are a potent source of VOCs.
The good news about VOCs is that they do dissipate with time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested.
How to reduce VOCs in your home
Make smart choices in building materials.
- For floors, use tile or solid wood—hardwood, bamboo, or cork – instead of composites.
- Instead of using pressed particle board or indoor plywood, choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.
- Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes.
Purify the air that’s there.
- Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, and air out newly renovated or refurnished areas for at least a week, if possible.
- Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly.
- Install air cleaners if needed.
- Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals.
- Plants can help clean the air: good nonpoisonous options include bamboo palm, lady palm, parlor palm, and moth orchids.
- Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner.
Fight the carpet demons.
- Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal.
- Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet.
- Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects, wall coverings, and other high-VOC processes.
- Air out newly carpeted areas before using.
- Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors.
- Clean up water leaks fast.
- Use dehumidifiers, if necessary, to keep humidity below 60 percent.
- Don’t carpet rooms that stay damp.
- Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation.
- Kill mold before it gets a grip with one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water.
We hope this information is helpful. If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/.
Posted May 22 2017, 12:00 PM PDT by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate
The Trump Administration’s Impact on U.S. Housing
Will the Trump administration have an impact on the U.S. housing market? Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, weighs in on how mortgage rates, inflation, and the possible repeal of Dodd-Frank could impact housing in the foreseeable future.
The number of homes under contract to sell in February 2015 increased to their highest level since June 2013, thanks to big gains in the Midwest and West, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index measures the number of homes that have sold, but haven’t yet made it to the closing table. The index has increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and is above 100 — considered an average level of activity — for the 10th consecutive month.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributes the gains — and the prospect for an uptick in sales in the coming months — to an “improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4%, and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents.”
The one obstacle, especially for first-time buyers, is the relatively low number of homes for sale, he says.
“Several markets remain highly competitive due to supply pressures, and REALTORS® are reporting severe shortages of move-in ready and available properties in lower price ranges,” Yun says. “The return of first-time buyers this year will depend on how quickly inventory shows up in the market.”
So far the signs are promising for the spring market: The percentage of first-time buyers increased slightly for the first time in February since November 2014, up to 29% from 28% in January.
Pending Home Sales by Region
February 2015 vs. February 2014
National Up 3.1% Up 12.0%
Northeast Down 2.3% Up 4.1%
Midwest Up 11.6% Up 13.8%
South Down 1.4% Up 10.8%
West Up 6.6% Up 18.3%
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/support-home-ownership/home-sale-contracts-number-first-time-buyers-rise-february-2015/#ixzz42LBSIDEs
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The decision to purchase a home is a highly personal one, based on both tangible and intangible factors. Beyond your personal situation, local market conditions, financing costs, and future expectations must also be evaluated.
The following list of questions can help you decide if you are ready to move forward with a home purchase. Your Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) can help you sort through these issues and provide essential local market perspectives.
If you purchase a home, how long do you expect to live there?
What can you afford to pay each month for housing-related expenses?
What are the total costs of home ownership? This may include:
- Mortgage payments (based on various interest rate and term assumptions)
- Property taxes
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Maintenance costs
- Any other special fees?
Do you expect these housing-related expenses to increase or decrease? (changes in interest rates may be a bigger factor than others
What additional expenses are required to complete a purchase? (closing costs, moving expenses, etc.)
How much will your home ownership costs decline after adjusting for interest expense deductions and property taxes (if applicable)?
Are local market prices favorable to purchasing? What are your expectations on future prices?
Do you qualify for any special purchasing assistance programs that can help reduce the cost of home ownership?
If you are now a renter, what are your total housing expenses? (monthly rent, utilities, housing assessment, parking, etc.?)
How does renting vs. buying factor into your long-term investing goals?
What are your personal preferences regarding the type of housing you wish to live in? How does location factor into your housing preferences.
How do you expect your personal situation to change, in terms of future housing needs?
What are your expectations concerning future employment?
What are your long-term personal and financial goals, with regard to housing?
Brought to you by REBAC. a subsidiary or the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
For more information go to www.REBAC.net
The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
To learn more about REBAC and access various home buyer resources, please
re about REBAC and access various home buyer resources, please viReredaent-to-Own:
Rent-To-OwnAC and access various home buyer resources, please visiRent-to-Own:
Is this a good option for you?
A buyer is eager to purchase a home, but needs more time to qualify for a mortgage.
A seller is eager to generate income on a vacant property. For this buyer and seller, a rent-toown
contract may be an attractive alternative to an immediate transaction.
Offered by individual sellers, and occasionally by developers of multi-unit properties, rent-to-own contracts typically include an up-front fee, plus monthly payments comprised of two omponents—rent and additional charges that count towards a down payment. For example, assume you agree to buy a $195,000 home, paying $3,000 up front and monthly payments of $1,400 ($400 of which accumulates toward the sale price). At the end of a one-year contract, you’d have $7,800 towards a down payment; $17,400 after three years. But if you decide not to proceed on the purchase, it is unlikely that any of your beyond-rent payments will be refunded. For this reason, buyers should only consider a rent-to-own optionif they are very serious about purchasing a home, but need more time to arrange financing or haveother legitimate reservations.
Rent-to-own contracts may be a good choice if:
A buyer wants to take advantage of an attractive selling price, but needs more time to save enough
for the down payment. An interested buyer needs time to improve their credit history and qualify for a better mortgage nterest rate. A buyer wants to make certain a house has no serious flaws, or wants to experience living in a neighborhood before becoming an owner. If this buyer decides not to proceed, they may forfeit the money credited to a purchase. But these losses could be small compared to the potential cost of multiple real estate transactions and/or property repairs in order to resell the house and find adifferent home. In all cases, buyers should plan carefully and make every attempt to ensure they cancomplete a purchase transaction at the conclusion of the contract. It’s also essential to work with a qualified real estate attorney to make sure the contract terms are favorable to your needs and the seller is a legitimate owner.
Interest rate increases.
If rates rise, higher monthly payments could make it harder to secure financing at the conclusion of the rentto-own contract.
If market prices decline, will you be stuck paying a premium price for the home?
Conversely, if prices rise, does your contract provide protection from the seller seeking a different buyer?
Some contracts say that if payments aren’t received on time, they don’t count towards the down payment.
Make sure the seller isn’t going through foreclosure. You don’t want to make inflated payments, only to be served eviction papers when a bank takes possession of the property.
A rent-to-own contract isn’t right for every buyer. But in some cases it can be an attractive option. If you think rent-to-own may be right for you, your Accredited Buyer’s Representative can help answer your questions, find suitable properties, and direct you towards expert legal counsel.
Information provided by Real Estate Buyer's Agent council (REBAC) a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) ABR
Buying a home may be the largest and most complex financial transaction you ever undertake. If you're ready to buy a home, wouldn't you prefer to work with the most qualified real estate professional you can find?
As an Accredited Buyer's Representative, I have gone through additional training, have proven experience representing buyers and that extra edge you have been looking for. I am your ABR®.
What makes an ABR® the right choice for you?
The ABR® designation is only awarded to licensed real estate professionals who complete specialized training that gives them the edge in understanding a buyer's perspective and protecting and promoting their buyer-clients' interests. Before earning the ABR® designation, buyer's reps must also demonstrate proven experience in representing buyers. Further, they are committed to maintaining their professional edge by staying current on the latest issues and trends in buyer representation.
In addition to knowing the dynamics of the local market, REALTORS® with the ABR® designation understand the special needs of buyers. They have additional knowledge and experience that takes them a step beyond an agent who only concentrates on listing property for sellers. An ABR® can provide you with valued assistance throughout the transaction and help you make informed decisions that will lead to a successful home purchase.
As an ABR®, I can help you:
- Understand your specific needs and wants, and locate appropriate properties
- Assist you in determining how much you can afford (pre-qualify your mortgage)
- Preview and/or accompany you in viewing properties
- Advise you in formulating your offer
- Help you develop your negotiating strategy
- Provide a list of qualified vendors (inspectors, attorneys, lenders, etc.) for other services you may need
- Keep track of every detail throughout the transaction — to closing and beyond
Not all buyers' representatives are equal. Only a buyer's rep who has earned the Accredited Buyer's Representative designation has made the extra effort to raise the bar, with additional training and experience. If you work with an ABR®, you can feel confident that you'll receive the highest level of buyer-representation services.
The ABR® designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
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Download this great Home search app. You can be on a walk or drive and this app will help you search local home listings right in your area.
Once you have a listing you are interested in give me a call on my cell 541-326-6262 or email me at Pfrimmer@windermere.com and I can get you all the additional information you need or set up a showing.
Go to the App Store to downloan this great Mobile search App. Out for a walk of drive? You can instantly call up local listing.
For additional information give me a call on my cell 541-326-6262 or email me at Pfrimmer@windermere.com.