Three Tips for Making Small Spaces Work for Your Family

Small spaces aren’t the traditionally sought–after spaces for growing families, but with more millennial parents choosing to live a minimal lifestyle — families are adapting to life in homes with less square footage. If your family is downsizing by choice, or by necessity, follow the tips below for creating a functional space that can support your growing family.

Channel Your Inner Marie Kondo
It’s time to purge! Take a tip from tiny home enthusiasts who have chosen to live a simpler life — downsizing means committing to decluttering. Re–gift, donate and sell unwanted items. Eliminate multiples and only keep items that spark joy — and have your kids help.

Every Item Has a Home, Every Space a Purpose
Being thoughtful about what items stay in your family’s space is just as important as figuring out where to store it. Families without the space for a designated playroom may want to consider where toys will be tucked away. Try rotating toys to save space, while helping kids get the most out of playtime.

Go Vertical
Some may say that floor space is the most valued space in a smaller home — but vertical is the way to go! Bookcases, coat racks and shoe trees are all great options for tiny spaces.

Looking for a new home for your family?  Call today!

Millennial Monopoly: 4 Real Estate Trends in 2019

Empowered with Knowledge 
First-time, homebuying millennials are much more informed when it comes to renovations, repairs and real estate process than other generations. Growing up during the development of the internet has made them very tech and research savvy and able to find ways to access important information such as listings, neighborhood reports, HGTV home renovation videos and other types of industry information on their own. In 2019, they will rely on real estate agents to share information that they can’t find online such as neighborhood developments, local market forecasts, local housing regulations and more.Buying homes – despite rising rates
Millennials continue to make up the largest segment of buyers, accounting for 45 percent of mortgages, compared to 17 percent of baby boomers and 37 percent of Generation Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle, older millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up most of the millennials who close in 2019. As their housing needs adjust over time, millennials are on track to make up the largest share of homebuyers for the next decade.

Sweat Equity
Many millennials grew up watching renovations and makeovers on HGTV, which means many of them are ready to invest sweat equity in their new home. Millennial homebuyers, overall, are more aware of the costs, work and implications of renovations than the previous generations. This is good news as interest rates rise and buyers should be prepared to settle for homes in need of TLC.

New Buying Strategies
Social media continues to impact millennial homebuying habits. They rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions, and a strong online reputation for real estate professionals is a must in catering to this market. In fact, a recent study showed that millennials would prefer to buy a house from a real estate agent influencer over a traditional real estate agent. Showcasing a home on social media, especially on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram, is essential for appealing to millennial buyers.

Research your way to the right real estate agent who can make all the difference. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you and your future.

Call, text or email today for more information.

5 Reasons to Get Dirty Indoors

Baby, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your green thumb ’til spring. Bring the outside beauty of nature indoors this winter with an indoor garden space – it adds natural beauty to a home or supplies edible herbs to spice up those winter meals. We found five positives to planting a winter garden:

  1. Breathe Easy

Do you smell that? It’s clean air! Plants absorb carbon dioxide and in return provide clean oxygen to help purify the air in your home. Although the exchange of carbon dioxide to oxygen is small, every little bit helps when you’re trying to keep a healthy home during flu and cold season.

  1. Fresh Food

Growing fresh herbs is one of the best reasons to start planting indoors. Pluck fresh herbs to add a little texture and taste to your dinners. Bonus-growing your own herbs cuts one more item from the grocery list.

  1. Stress Less

Studies show that indoor plants help to decrease stress levels within the home. Place plants in visible spots throughout your home to help reduce stress and create a sense of natural peace.

  1. Let Them Learn

Starting an indoor garden is great for beginner gardeners who want to start small before graduating to bigger outdoor areas and cultivating indoor plants is a great way to educate others about life and how plants grow. Children love to get their hands dirty and you can lead them through the different stages of the plant growing from seed to maturity. Don’t be surprised when visitors ask about your plants as well!

  1. Low Maintenance & Cost

It’s not only economical to grow indoors, but a little elbow grease goes a long way when it comes to cultivating inside. You won’t be spending hours digging in the dirt or pulling weeds and all you need for success is a container, potting soil and seeds. Add some water and sit in a sunny spot and you’ll be an indoor gardener in no time!

Looking for a home this winter season that has great sunlight for your indoor garden?  Call today and let’s get started.

2018 Home Sales Cool Off, While Inventory Recovers, Price Increases Continue

“December’s inventory gain, continuing the three-month growth trend, is welcome news,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The market remains choppy and there’s still a long way to go, but these gains represent steps toward a balanced market, which in the long run is healthy for both buyers and sellers.”

  1. Inventory Recovers
    Most telling was December’s 4.6 percent growth in inventory, which was also a report record. December’s year-over-year inventory increase marked the third consecutive month of growth — a trend reversing a decade-long streak of year-over-year inventory declines.
  1. Home Sales Cool
    December’s year-over-year decline in home sales of 12.1 percent set a December record in the 10-year history of the report and also marked the fifth consecutive month that home sales were lower than 2017. December was 2018’s 10th month of year-over-year declines in home sales with only April and July topping 2017 sales.
  2. Median Sales Price Increased
    Home buyers paid record amounts throughout 2018 as prices grew year-over-year in every month last year, led by June’s Median Sold Price of $258,500 — an all-time report high. Even so, December’s year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent was 2018’s smallest, and far lower than the 8.1 percent price growth from December 2016 to December 2017.

“Home sales have cooled, especially during the second half of 2018, but that was inevitable given the strong seller’s market that has persisted for nearly a decade,” Contos said. “We believe sales activity can pick back up if the pace of price escalation continues to moderate, interest rates tick further downward and wage growth continues.”

For more information call 941-284-5623 today.

Tidying Up Tips Hit the Housing Market

Admit it — over the holiday break you found yourself binge watching the hit show with superstar organizing consultant Marie Kondo and quickly realized your place is not sparking much joy. Never fear! The KonMari Method is here and the tidying-up trend can give sellers and buyers the gentle nudge needed to organize their personal spaces or clean up their financial houses before showings or placing a bid.

WE HAVE LIFT OFF!
The theme behind the hip, tidying trend is that by making changes in our living space we create a catalyst for change and give ourselves the momentum we need to take charge in other areas of life. A nicely organized and de-cluttered home shows well and knowing your financial story before hunting for a new home sets you up for success.

SPARK TIME SAVINGS
Just like the KonMari method can help organize your home, buyers are encouraged to tidy up their credit to save time too. Buyers who know their credit score, debt to income ratio and come with pre-approved home loans are saving time and headaches in the house hunting process which can mean the difference between deal or no deal. By building a strong financial foundation before you shop, your bid on the house of your dreams will have time on its side.

SHOW STOPPERS
For sellers, once your belongings are scaled back, you can reclaim some of that time you wasted on running around, cleaning up before a scheduled showing. Many sellers say the ultra-approach to simplifying has changed their lives and it helps them with the quick-clean when they are showing their homes to prospective buyers. By staying on top of the little things, like that big stack of papers, mail and books piling up on the dining room table – it’s easier to give your space a quick-clean before a last-minute showing.

SENSE OF SATISFACTION
The tidying-up method can make our brains happy and leave us with a sense of accomplishment. Order matters in avoiding debt and financial stress too. Earn, save and enjoy is key in tackling those finances. Concentrate on being proactive with your finances and stay financially responsible as you try to qualify for a home loan. Having your financial house in order feels as good as organizing that messy hallway closet.

SHOW YOUR BEST SIDE 
If you have your home on the market, simplifying a space can help you sell. Agents often tell sellers with big kitchens to clean out the useless items and create that extra space – this allows buyers to get a feel for the space and imagine where their own kitchen appliances would be placed or stored.

DECREASE FRUSTRATION
Buying or selling a home is hard, but the simple task of organizing can cut through the daily hassles of life. A well-organized home and a firm understanding of your finances can have wide-reaching effects on our mood, happiness and even relationships during the homebuying or selling period.

Looking to simply the hunt for a house or to sell your home? Contact me today for a no cost, no obligation consultation.

Tech Tools to Empower the Average Buyer

The 21st century homebuyer is powerful. They’re well equipped, informed and ready to fight for their dream homes. Still, with all the tech tools the buyer has at hand – nothing beats having an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent in your homebuying corner. We rank the ways today’s buyer can better prepare to partner with the right agent.

The More You Know 
21st century homebuyers are the most tech-savvy, market-aware buyers yet. With all the apps, tech and real estate tools available, homebuyers have done their homework. While much more knowledgeable, buyers may be overwhelmed by all the new tech tools coming at them – an experienced agent can cut through the clutter to focus on what the buyer wants most. A well-informed homebuyer can easily describe their must-haves to an agent to make the homebuying process easier.

Setting Expectations
Come on, it’s 2019 – gone are the days of status quo. Buyers in today’s real estate marketplace expect the best and are willing to test drive more than one agent to find the perfect fit. Many buyers walk in the door armed with extensive research on neighborhoods, the number of bathrooms they want and how many cars should fit in their new garages. As a buyer, it’s great to be armed with data, but make sure you find an agent that understands your vision and goals of the house hunt.

Asking for More
Homebuyers expect more from an agent in today’s marketplace as they look for a return on their time, energy and money. Many agents showcase their individual talents from experience, niche expertise, negotiation skills and other valuable personal assets that can help you find the right agent for you.

Even armed with up-to-date real estate knowledge – homebuyers still rely on an agent who can swoop in to assist, navigate and offer valuable insight to the homebuying process. To partner with a RE/MAX agent to build your own dynamic homebuying duo, click here.

Is Your Home Smarter Than You?

How smart is your home? In 2019, it’s possible your house is smarter than you. Designed to provide energy efficiency, security and comfort conveniences, the smart home can do it all on command. Control lighting, heating, cooling, appliances, televisions, computers and other security features with smart technology that communicates with each other and can be remotely controlled via a smart phone or online. Internet connectivity and cloud storage makes all this smart home technology possible by bringing convenience and electronic intelligence right to your fingertips. If you’re technically-challenged, don’t worry – we suggest starting small to go big with technology with three easy technologies to make your home smarter this year.

  1. Set Smart Temperatures
    Most thermostats only read the temperature in one area (usually the hallway) which can make other rooms too hot or too cold. Technology like ecobee4 or Nest comes with room sensors to help manage hot or cold spots. When sensors are placed in the most popular rooms, the smart gadget can read the temperature, detect occupancy and adjust the temperature so it’s just right.
  2. Sensing Leaks
    Smart leak detection sensors monitor your home’s plumbing with the purpose of discovering leaks and malfunctions. They can assist you in preventing water damage and the growth of mold and mildew inside a wall due to a slow leak.
  3. Open and Shut
    If you have ever left home for the day or, even worse, been on vacation and suddenly you’re unsure if you left the garage door open – a smart garage door opener offers convenience, improved home security and peace of mind. Check the open or closed status of your garage door via an app on your smartphone as well as open it or close it remotely – in other words, it’s possible to be on the other side of the Earth and still control your garage door.

Working with the right real estate agent who has the knowledge of the latest gadgets and amenities available in your area can make all the difference.

Call, text or email today for more info.

Inventory Bounces Back, While Home Prices Increase

Extremely low inventory improves as sales drop for fourth month, according to the November 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report.

“The road to market normalization can be bumpy,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “It’s good to see the small uptick in inventory, and the drop in November sales isn’t too surprising – given the recent trends, the mid-term elections, and the earlier-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday.”

  1. Inventory Continues to Climb
    Years of shrinking inventory gave way in November 2018 to a second consecutive month of year-over-year growth in the number of homes for sale. Across the 53 metro areas surveyed, inventory rose 3.0 percent – the highest monthly year-over-year gain in the 10-year history of the report.
  2. Declining Home Sales
    November home sales, meanwhile, declined 6.9 percent, which was the second-largest year-over-year decline of 2018 and the biggest year-over-year sales decline for November in five years. This year only April and July sales exceeded 2017 totals for the corresponding months.
  3. Median Sales Price Increased 
    November’s median sales price of $235,000 was 4.0 percent higher than November 2017 and was the highest November price in the report’s history. It marked the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. Comparing the first 11 months of 2018 to 2017, home prices are up 6.0 percent.

“As we near year-end, three main themes appear clear – buyers are grappling with affordability issues and tight inventory; sellers are unsure how to react to the cooling market; and homes priced properly are still selling rather quickly,” added Contos. “All three underscore the fact that the guidance of a professional agent is even more critical in times like these.”

Call today for more information.

 

10 Things to Do Before You Sell Your House

1. Welcome buyers. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers.

2. Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Recaulk and repaint to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing. Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don’t use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.

4. Paint wisely. A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don’t forget the trim and molding either. And a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

5. Fix the small stuff. Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting. Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home’s cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers’ attention to certain selling points.

7. Frame windows. Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room’s temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings.

8. Set the table. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items. Don’t leave children’s toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids’ entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

10. Don’t forget the back. Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

Call today for more information.

3 Top Trends Spotted in the RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018

“The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Although home sales were down year-over-year, it’s encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that’s also a positive.”

  1. Inventory Rebounds
    The third consecutive month of lower year-over-year home sales in October contributed to the first year-over-year inventory increase in a decade according to the housing report from RE/MAX.
  2. Home Sales Dropped
    The housing report for October saw sales decline 4.6 percent from a year ago – compared to sales drops of 11.6 percent in September and 1.1 percent in August – and was the eighth month of 2018 to record lower sales than 2017.
  3. Median Sales Price Increased 
    October’s Median Sales Price of $236,000 marked the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price increases and was the highest October price in the 10-year history of the report. Even so, the 4.9 percent gain was the third-lowest year-over-year growth of 2018.

“The imbalance that has defined this market for so long continues to moderate,” added Contos. “However, it will take some time to recalibrate. Rising prices and interest rates and tight inventory levels continue. Buyer and seller expectations still appear to be a bit mismatched suggesting a choppy market remains in place.”

Call today for more information.