Janice Walker's Blog
Because real estate is a people-oriented business, most agents are happy to answer questions and provide advice after the sale. Whether you've enlisted their help to purchase a house or sell one, your working relationship does not have to end the moment you sign the final papers.
Professionals in the real estate business are generally service-oriented and interested in cultivating ongoing client relationships. If you've been fortunate enough to find a real estate agent who exceeded your expectations, then they'll most likely be a resource you'll want to use down the road. Assuming you had good rapport and that you're satisfied with their service, here are a few solid reasons to keep in touch.
Reliable source of advice: When you consider the training, knowledge, and experience that a seasoned real estate agent has, having them as a professional contact can benefit you in a number of ways. As an example, many agents are familiar with the impact home improvements can have on resale value. In other words, if you're thinking about upgrading, expanding, or altering your property, a knowledgeable real estate agent can provide insights into how that might affect your home's current and future market value. Since every type of home improvement brings with it a potential return on investment (ROI), it's an important aspect to consider when remodeling, adding an addition, or making a major change to your property. Many real estate agents have cultivated relationships with dependable contractors, remodelers, and installers to whom they may be happy to refer you, too. As a homeowner, you will invariably need reliable recommendations, sooner or later, and real estate agents are often a great source of contractor referrals. As you may have already discovered, it can be a frustrating experience to try to find a good home improvement contractor or other service provider when you're starting from scratch or relying on the credibility of online reviews.
Help for friends and family: If you're not planning on buying or selling a home in the near future, there's a good chance someone you know would benefit from the help and advice of a proven real estate professional. Even if a family member or acquaintance just needs assistance in finding an affordable apartment or house to rent, real estate agents often have the connections and resources to provide options that others may have overlooked.
Income and Investment properties: After shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to landlords, over the years, some homeowners consider "turning the tables" and becoming landlords and real estate investors, themselves. While this is certainly not a guaranteed path to financial independence, some people do become quite successful at it. If you have a tolerance for risk and the tenacity to pursue it, then your real estate agent may be able to help you find some worthwhile income properties. It's not for everybody, though!
Finding a real estate agent who's results oriented, experienced, and a pleasure to work with is not an everyday event, but when it does happen, they're worth keeping as a trusted advisor for many years to come!
The Pantone Color Institute has a certain knack. The design company gets a feel for the mood of the year to come, and shapes design trends to match it.
It takes cues from new kinds of materials we use. It considers our social media platforms, upcoming sports events and the sights and sounds that receive international attention. Pantone has selected a color each year for more than 20 years.
For the Start of a New Decade, Pantone Picked Classic Blue
Classic Blue has a timeless and universal appeal. It's a shade of azure that brings to mind a calm, expansive marine horizon or an afternoon sky. Or perhaps bright tiles, crafted by artisans of Mediterranean and semi-tropical climes.
Classic Blue is a primary color with an approachable feel. It has a reassuring presence. That's exactly what Pantone was going for in 2020.
The 2020 Color of the Year Is Refreshing Yet Traditional
Beautiful interior touches in Classic Blue evoke calm and connection, and a sense of the enduring as we pass the 2020 milestone.
Silver and white accents make blue feel clean and attractive, simple yet elegant. Blue brings a sense of peace, clarity and tranquility to a home, fostering relaxed interactions.
No matter whether you avoid or embrace smart home technology, your can create space in your home for the "true blue" we trust.
Especially If You're Selling in 2020, Classic Blue Is Perfect for Adding Timely Flair
Think gentle off-white for bathroom wall sconces or a sink or tub, framed by blue-and-white mosaic tiles.
Imagine a blue wall setting off a bright, polished-nickel kitchen faucet. Kitchen border tiles or mosaic tile flooring in blues, whites and golds evoke the long sunny days of a youthful summer.
You Don't Need to Spend a Lot on Renovations
Classic Blue makes for striking accents even in small touches. It might inspire your choice of bowls to place atop a crisp, white kitchen shelf. Use blue ceramic coasters on a white, black or gold table. Or paint the door in Classic Blue, adding bright contrast to the entryway against a white exterior.
In an era of conflicting ideas and rapid changes, blue brings a sense of dependability that naturally pleases guests and puts home buyers at ease.
Choose Classic Hues to Sell Your Home This Year
When Pantone chooses its annual Color of the Year, a variety of industries showcase that hue: interior decorating, travel, filmmaking, manufacturing, marketing, packaging and graphic design. Tap into the mood of today when thinking about accents and updates.
Ready to get your home looking great for selling this year? Contact us for more tips!
One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!
That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.
Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.
Professional Help May Be Needed!
Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.
If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.
Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.
So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!
An HOA — or Homeowners' Association — is an organization in your subdivision or community that creates and enforces regulations and rules for the properties and residents. If a property is part of an HOA's jurisdiction, buying it automatically makes you a member. Therefore, you are required to pay HOA dues that cover the organization's costs and services. The strictness of HOA rules can vary significantly from community to community, and while some are very restrictive, others allow a wide range of changes to your property. It's essential to check in to what an HOA requires, costs and offers in a particular community or neighborhood before purchasing a home. Contrary to fictional portrayals, an HOA can be really beneficial to the homeowners by providing deals on local services and generally keeping the home values constant or increasing by keeping the neighborhood the same.
In a lot of ways, you can think of an HOA like a homeowner's union. It gives you that collective bargaining power with larger agencies like utilities, city services and local governments. This power can save you a lot of money by getting members better deals on trash services or electricity, including landscaping with HOA dues and more. It's a well-known rule that the more you buy, the better prices you get. That means when a group of 50 homes is negotiating for a landscaping deal, they can get much better prices than if it's just one home. Don't feel like you're cheating the other business owners either. They offer lower prices because doing a bunch of things in one area lowers their overhead, and having a consistent client increases their overall profits.
Maintaining Home Values
The main job of any homeowners' association is to maintain property values. They do this not by restricting what you can do but by limiting what your neighbors can do. And yes, since you are a neighbor as well, you are also subject to the same neighbor restrictions. That means you typically can do whatever you want inside your home since that only affects you. However, you can only do things within a specific range to the outside of your home since that affects your neighbor's houses as well. The look of a neighborhood, especially neighboring homes, can significantly affect the value of a home and usually are outside the purview of the homeowner. HOAs seek to fix this by requiring that everyone keep their home up to the same standards and avoid practices that will devalue the neighborhood.
It's essential to understand the benefits and restrictions of living with an HOA, especially if you've never had one before. Your professional real estate agent will be familiar with or be able to get, the bylaws of any HOA that covers a home you are considering. Sit down and go over them together to ensure that those rules work with your preferred lifestyle.
The short answer to our question of the day is...
We all know what we like when we see it.
New flooring can greatly increase your home's beauty in the eye of the beholder, yet it's impossible to know what kind of flooring will attract your home's next buyer. That said, here are the top selling points of three popular options.
Kudos for Carpeting
Carpet, especially if your home will be shown in the winter, is a popular way to add a comfortable look and feel to a home. Most often chosen for bedrooms, carpet can also hide a multitude of flaws beautifully and without a big dent in your savings. To spruce up a home for sale quickly, carpeting can be a great choice.
Now, for the possible drawbacks. Carpeting can cause issues for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. It doesn't last forever, and it usually won't be as stylish in five years as it is when first installed.
Tip: Going with one flooring choice throughout your main living spaces can produce an expansive, well put-together look.
Hoorahs for Hardwood
Hardwood flooring is a classic choice. Walk into a home with hardwood floor, and you get a sense of elegance, comfort and beauty. Over time, the essential oils of the wood offer a subtly aromatherapeutic and natural appeal. A well-maintained wood floor lasts for decades.
Yes, a lot of moisture can impact its look, and the kids and pets can scratch it. And refinishing is a big job involving chemical abrasion, although fans of the DIY method point out to us that there are wood and laminate refinishing kits on the market for under $100.
Tip: A great, cost-effective alternative is engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood comes prefinished, can be easily installed without a subfloor.
A Toast to Tile
Tile is as practical as it is handsome. Well-chosen tile will last the home's lifetime. The richer the hues, and the narrower the space left for grout to show, the easier tile is to clean.
In kitchens, either tile or laminate styled as tile works well. Expanses of tile are especially desirable in homes and condos throughout Florida and other warm states.
If you have tile, talk it up! Note its ease of cleaning, especially to potential owners with pets.
Tip: You can buy tile or laminate that looks like hardwood and have the hardwood look—without the refinishing needs.
Sellers Can Offer Options
If you're selling, and your flooring could use updating, considering offering to trim a little off your sale price, encouraging potential buyers to install their own choice of new flooring as desired. That offer itself might just make a deal happen.