Today’s Buyer – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:49:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 2017 HOMEBUYER SURVEY HAS VALUABLE INFO… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2017-homebuyer-survey-valuable-info/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2017-homebuyer-survey-valuable-info/#respond Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:02:11 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6286 FOR AGENTS AND SELLERS… SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by BOB HUNT for realtytimes.com “One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is their annual survey of homebuyers and sellers.  It is particularly useful because it shows sellers and their agents what works and what sources buyers use to…

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FOR AGENTS AND SELLERS…

SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by BOB HUNT for realtytimes.com

“One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is their annual survey of homebuyers and sellers.  It is particularly useful because it shows sellers and their agents what works and what sources buyers use to find their new homes.

This is the 30th year that NAR has conducted an annual survey of those who have purchased and sold their homes.  The most recent became available in November of this year, based on answers to a 131-question survey sent to a random sample of 145,000 consumers who purchased a home between July 2016 and June 1017.  After accounting for undeliverable surveys, there was a 5.6% response rate.

In 2016, first-time buyers constituted 32% of the market, the lowest participation rate by first-time buyers since 1987 (30%).  This year, the first-time buyer rate was 34%  Geographically, the  highest percentage of first-time buyers was in the northeast (43%).  Over the years, the historic norms for the country have been in the 40% range.  As more low-down-payment mortgage programs come into the market, there may be a good chance of turning to these norms.

The most useful info for sellers and their agents came from the section on the home search process.  Recent trends continue.  86% of buyers said that they used the internet during the search process.  In 2003, that number was only 42%.  This past year, 55% of buyers used a mobile or tablet application…a newer and growing phenomenon.  68% of buyers said they frequently relied on a real estate agent for information.

Forty-two percent of buyers went to the internet as the first step in the home search process. 17% contacted a real estate agent first, and 6% began by driving through neighborhoods looking for homes for sale.  Driving around can be an option, because half the homes purchased were within 15 miles of the buyers’ previous residence.  Interestingly, 8% of buyers began the process by going to a bank or mortgage company.

Buyers use multiple sources of information in the process of looking for a home.  The most used sources are websites (95%), and real estate agents (89%).  Mobile or tablet apps have replaced yard signs as the third most used source.  Only 15% indicate they used newspaper ads as an info source, and only 2% garnered info from television.

Certainly the most relevant source has to do with where they actually found the home they ultimately purchased…this year that source was the internet (49%).  Next was agents, at 31%.  This is not to say that buyers actually bought their home through the internet.  The typical scenario is that a consumer sees the home on the internet, and then contacts his or her agent.  **88% of those who used the internet to search purchased their home through an agent.**

The differences in a little more than a decade are fascinating.  In 2001, 48% of buyers learned about their home through a real estate agent, and only 8% found their home on the internet.  The times – they have changed!

Some things, though, remain the same – or close to it. In 2001, yard signs persist as sources, but at a much lower percentage.  Print media may not be dead, but it has shrunk to insignificance…”

SOURCE: Bob Hunt for realtytimes.com.  The 2017 Profile of  Home Buyers and Sellers (https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights/from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers) shows what works, and is a valuable resource.

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SAVVY BUYERS SEARCH OUT FIXER-UPPERS! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/savvy-buyers-search-fixer-uppers/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/savvy-buyers-search-fixer-uppers/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:40:02 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6200 Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com “Instead of shopping for your dream home, why not search out your dream discount? First-time buyers, even experienced buyers, can be distracted by the superficial….enticed to pay more for dream-home fantasies or, encouraged to walk away from a hidden gem… Buy a home which was cleverly…

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Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com

“Instead of shopping for your dream home, why not search out your dream discount?

First-time buyers, even experienced buyers, can be distracted by the superficial….enticed to pay more for dream-home fantasies or, encouraged to walk away from a hidden gem…

Buy a home which was cleverly staged and marketed to make buyers rush to put in an offer, and you may be paying more for the hype and a distracting “veneer.”  Dismiss a property because it needs work and TLC without assessing its true value, and you may lose a lot more (a house you can really make your own).

A “visual disaster” (or fixer-upper) could be a solid, well-located home that  is structurally sound and in relatively good condition, but – and it’s a big but – it looks (and possibly smells) bad – and is selling at a significant discount.  Smart sellers and their real estate agents know the magic of fresh paint, the allure of staged interiors, and the appeal of cosmetic make-overs.  They understand which current “hot” features for which buyers are willing to pay more.

Buyers who would prefer to invest their money in the best possible location and a solid, sound structure,. – not superficial trimmings and flash done to someone else’s taste and standards – may benefit from shopping for a fixer-upper.

CAUTION:  Thorough home inspection, ideally by a structural engineer, is essential to verify the home is structurally sound without any super-expensive repair necessary.  Other experienced “eyes” – contractors, designers, renovation-experienced property owners, your real estate professional – will also be helpful when viewing these homes.

Tasteless decor, scary color schemes, extreme pet smells, overwhelming clutter…these are just a few ugly turnoffs that discourage buyers.  For savvy home buyers, these negatives may signal hidden value and money-saving opportunity.  Also, these properties may have been on the market for a long time, so there could be more room for negotiation.

Buyers who are ready to contribute “sweat equity” to their purchase can end up thousands and thousands of dollars ahead.  “Sweat equity” involves getting your hands dirty to uncover good bones and hidden value, or paying a professional to do the necessary design or physical work, or a combination of both approaches.

…New owners can decide to live with some or all of the “problems” for awhile – then hire professionals to make the necessary changes.  Having lived in the home awhile, owners discover what will really work for them.

Here are a few common visual disasters to keep an eye out for:

COLOR ME CRAZY…Learn to visualize beyond crazy decor to discover value.

TIRED AND SEVERELY DATED…a “refreshed” property – scrape away the grime, deal with paneling overkill, paint with your color choices, and refinish floors or add new carpeting – can really sparkle!

STINKY PREMISES…Animal smells and discoloration from long-term smoking are two definite buyer turn offs.  Many buyers can’t get past a dirty property.  Remove the carpet and have the building professional sanitized or tackle some cleaning yourself.  There’s value under all of that ugh.

WHAT-WERE-YOU-THINKING???-DESIGN…If it’s one bad feature and the home is otherwise sound, get a couple of quotes on fixing the problem.  Your real estate pro will understand how your offer can reflect this extra cost – either a lower offer price and you pay for it, or ask the seller to make the repair or at least share or credit you the cost.

STREET-SIDE UGLY…If the yard is a mess and the property is unappealing from the curb, many buyers will stay in their cars.  Concentrate on where the value lies:  location and structural soundness.  Get a quote or two on improving landscaping or correcting the street face to back up your offer price.  Later, you can decide how much to do yourself.

TALK TO YOUR REAL ESTATE PRO, FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND LOCAL CONTRACTORS TO GET A FEEL FOR WHAT MAY WORK IN YOUR AREA. 

COLLECT A FEW BALLPARK QUOTES FOR PAINTING, CLEANING, AND OTHER POSSIBLE UNDERTAKINGS TO GET AN ACCURATE FEEL FOR COSTS BEFORE YOU START LOOKING AT PROPERTIES. 

PULL TOGETHER A TEAM OF EXPERIENCED PEOPLE YOU CAN CALL ON FOR KNOWLEDGEABLE INPUT, SO YOU’LL BE READY WHEN A POSSIBLE FIXER-UPPER/GOOD VALUE APPEARS.”

SOURCE:  PJ Wade for realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  Pinterest

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BUYING A VACATION HOME: THE QUESTIONS BEFORE PURCHASE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/buying-vacation-home-questions-purchase/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/buying-vacation-home-questions-purchase/#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:58:55 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6165 SOURCE:  Amin Dabit for realtytimes. “Whether it’s an oceanside bungalow or a mountain cabin, many people dream of buying a vacation home.  Financial advisors call a purchase like this “lifestyle investing.”  Like any investment, buying a second home comes with both benefits and potential drawbacks, so it’s important to consider how a vacation home fits…

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SOURCE:  Amin Dabit for realtytimes.

“Whether it’s an oceanside bungalow or a mountain cabin, many people dream of buying a vacation home.  Financial advisors call a purchase like this “lifestyle investing.”  Like any investment, buying a second home comes with both benefits and potential drawbacks, so it’s important to consider how a vacation home fits into your long-term plans before taking the plunge.  Are you ready to pull a trigger on that property in your dream location?  Read on…

TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES.

Before even looking at listings, it’s important to assess your finances.  To determine whether you can actually afford a vacation property, consider the following:

  • How strong is your income stream?  Will it hold up during an economic downturn?
  • Will you be able to write off some, or all, of your mortgage?  The IRS caps write-offs for mortgage indebtedness at a maximum of  $1 million between your primary and qualified second home.
  • Will you need to finance the vacation property?  If so, keep in mind that banks are quite strict on limiting borrowers for a vacation property to a 42% debt-to-income ratio or less.
  • What is your current asset allocation?  It’s typically not a good idea for anyone to have more than 50% of his or her net worth in any single asset class, especially one like real estate, where leverage is usually a big factor.  You don’t want to be overexposed if the housing market turns.

Sit down with an advisor and answer these questions.  If you still think a vacation home makes sense, keep reading.

RETIREMENT RETREAT OR RENTAL INCOME?

Once you’ve determined that a vacation home is economically feasible, the next big question to think about is how you want to use your vacation property.  Are you planning to rent it out, fix it up and sell it, or retire there?

If you’re thinking about becoming a landlord, make sure the home has rental income potential. (If you’re buying into a community with a POA, check the community’s policy on rentals.) If you’re looking to eventually profit from a sale, are you prepared to own the home for five years?  You’ll likely want to keep it for at least that long in order to amortize the high transaction costs associated with buying a vacation property.  On the other hand, you may see the home as part of your retirement dream, which makes it more of a lifestyle decision than a purely financial one.

MAKING THE MOVE.

Once you know what you’ll use your home for, it’s time to figure out where to buy.  Anyone who has ever bought a house has heard the adage about the three most important factors:  “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.”  This is even more critical when buying a vacation home.

First, look closely at the local market.  As the Great Recession showed, real estate doesn’t only rise in value.  An array of factors can drive a local market up or down, including major employers coming or going, damaging weather events, etc.  By working with an agent knowledgeable about the area, you can get a good idea or market activity and pricing trends.

It’s important to analyze the pros and cons of the kind of community in which you want to live.  As you scout locations, be sure to consider the distance from your primary residence to your vacation home….the average vacation homebuyer purchases a property that is median distance of 200 miles from their primary residence.  How often will you be willing to make that drive…and have you factored in the costs associated with the journey?

THE FINAL DECISION.

Once you know where you want your vacation home to be, you may be faced with the choice of buying a pre-existing home or building a new home.  While many experts consider location to be the most important factor for buying a property with long-term appreciation potential, expanding a property gives you another way to make money, as the ultimate sale price can be significantly more than the construction cost of an expansion.

However, this approach isn’t without its downside, as expansion projects can often take longer and cost more than expected.  There are also tax implications, to consider.  Before beginning a home investment process, you should run realistic worst-case cash flow numbers to see how long you can survive before your money runs out.  Having two years in cash flow is a good guideline.

Another option is to buy an older home, then remodel or renovate.  While a renovation or remodeling likely won’t get you a huge return on investment when you sell, it can save you money by allowing you to buy a less expensive home and then proving it over time as opposed to shelling out more money up front.  Renovations can also enable you to charge more if you choose to rent out your home.

While buying a vacation home can be a dream come true, it’s important to look at it with clear eyes, just as you would with any other investment.  Make sure to do extensive research and think hard about why you’re making the purchase before signing on the dotted line.

SOURCE:  Amin Dabit/realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  Local photo of one of our famous Brevard-Area white squirrels enjoying his vacation “lounging platform.”

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HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME FAST! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/sell-home-fast/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/sell-home-fast/#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:19:26 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6151 Excerpted from – SOURCE:  Trulia/Angela Vogel Daley “…Putting your home on the market can be stressful.  Week after week of showings require your house to be PRESENTABLE AT ALL TIMES.  Not to mention to hassel of vacating at a moment’s notice.  If you have pets or children, that stress is multiplied.  But buyers will be…

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Excerpted from – SOURCE:  Trulia/Angela Vogel Daley

“…Putting your home on the market can be stressful.  Week after week of showings require your house to be PRESENTABLE AT ALL TIMES.  Not to mention to hassel of vacating at a moment’s notice.  If you have pets or children, that stress is multiplied.  But buyers will be most interested in your home during the first few weeks it’s on the market – so you need to hit the ground running and sell before your listing grows stale.  To sell a home quickly, it needs to show well, be marketed well and be priced correctly…If you need to sell in a hurry, these tips can help you get offers more quickly…

  1.  Get a storage unit.  Don’t shove everything into the closet while de-cluttering.  Opt for a storage unit to house things you won’t need while your home is on the market.  General rule – Get rid of 1/3 of your stuff.  If you don’t use it everyday, store it.  Holiday decorations, baby gear, seasonal clothes – all can go to storage.  BONUS:  If you choose a portable unit, it can be transported to your new home, making moving day a cinch.
  2. Hire a professional to stage and photograph your home.  A professional stager sees your  home from a buyer’s perspective – and understands how to highlight its strengths and soften its flaws.  Your buyer’s first impression will be the listing photos, and the more the better.  Enlist a good friend to go through your home with fresh eyes to offer their perspective on de-cluttering, and then the agent can go through fro a marketing standpoint.
  3. Find the right real estate agent.  What really matters?  A track record of sales that proves they know how to sell your house.  Familiar with your neighborhood.  Good, professional photos.  Good marketing.  Social media exposure.
  4. Promote it yourself.  Get the word out yourself using personal social media and sending the listing page to family and friends.  You never know what these personal contacts may turn up.
  5. Remove personalized items.  Removing personal photos or memorabilia will allow the prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in your house and make it easier to focus on the home’s highlighted features.  Also, don’t distract from the home itself with art, which could be unappealing to the buyer.
  6. Make small upgrades.  Don’t go overboard on major remodels.  Chances are, you won’t get your money back.  Focus on small upgrades, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, where you’re most likely to see a return on your investment.  New sink and cabinet hardware in the kitchen, light fixtures, shower curtains, nicer hand towels in the bathrooms – all inexpensive but can instantly transform your space.  If you can afford it, ditch your old appliances and spend $3,500 on a new stainless steel appliance suite.
  7. Light it up.  A dark or poorly lit home feels damp and depressing.  Brighten it up by using natural and artificial light.  Get high wattage bulbs.  Turn lights on before showings.  Open curtains and blinds.  A fresh coat of paint where needed makes things brighter.  A light, neutral gray provides a softer, brighter palette, making rooms look larger.  A deep cleaning also helps.
  8. Amp up the curb appeal.  Curb appeal is EVERYTHING.  The exterior is typically the first thing a buyer sees in person and on listing sites.  Tidy up the yard.  Trim landscaping, refresh mulch, edge the lawn.  Pressure wash the house.  Fresh coat of paint on doors and shutters.  Polish kickplate and door hardware.  Clean up cobwebs or bird droppings.  Flowers near the entryway add a hint of color.
  9. Sell at the right time.  Spring and Summer are typically the best time to sell your home.  But be aware that increased inventory means spring and summer buyers can afford to be pickier – so make sure your home is in tip-top shape.  You also need to price your house right – just because you want to sell for a certain amount doesn’t mean your home is worth your magic number, unfortunately.  Do your own research about area comps, get listing price suggestions from your agent – and listen to your agent when it comes to negotiating.”

SOURCE:  Angela Daley for TRULIA.  IMAGE:  athomesense.com

 

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LANDSCAPING TO IMPROVE RESALE: AT DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/landscaping-improve-resale-different-price-points/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/landscaping-improve-resale-different-price-points/#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 14:25:19 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6080 SOURCE:  realtytimes.com “As the weather starts to heat up, so too does the housing market.  Spring is an optimal time to get your house ready to sell.  The first thing that potential buyers will see of your home is the landscaping, so make a great first impression with beautiful outdoor spaces.  An investment in landscaping…

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SOURCE:  realtytimes.com

“As the weather starts to heat up, so too does the housing market.  Spring is an optimal time to get your house ready to sell.  The first thing that potential buyers will see of your home is the landscaping, so make a great first impression with beautiful outdoor spaces.  An investment in landscaping can help sell your home faster and for more money.  There are simple projects at every price point that can help you achieve great curb appeal.

INEXPENSIVE: 

  • Keep the lawn well manicured.  In Spring, your lawn is given a boost by Mother Nature.  Wet, mild spring weather will help the lawn stay green with less effort – but be sure to mow and edge it often.
  • Keep your yard weed-free.  May not cost much, but will require some time and effort.  A weed-free yard will help potential buyers feel confident that the home is well cared for.
  • Add flower pots near your front door.  A splash of color in the yard is a great way to highlight your home, especially if you don’t have much extra money for more extensive landscaping.

MODERATE:

  • Add outdoor lighting.  Outdoor lighting has become a trendy feature that buyers have embraced.  It can add interest to your yard, highlight areas of landscaping, and make your home stand out at all times of the day.  Solar lights are particularly easy to use because they will recharge during the day and automatically come on in the evening to illuminate your home
  • Install curbing/edging.  It  helps the landscaping appear crisp and clean, and makes your lawn easier to mow and trim.
  • Hire a law or pest control company.  It is important when selling a home to make sure that there aren’t any obvious problems.  Dead or patchy lawns, or pest problems like spiders, mice, etc. will need to be gotten under control, but may be beyond the scope of the individual homeowner.  Professional services may be limited to a one-time visit that can quickly improve the chances of selling your home.

HIGH-END:

  • Create outdoor living areas.  If you have money to  invest in your home, high-end landscaping projects can increase your bottom line and draw attention from buyers looking for upgrades.  An extra living area outside is a huge attention grabber that attracts buyers.  This could range from simple patios staged with outdoor furniture, to screened-in porches, to full outdoor kitchen areas.  Depending on your location, these upgrade projects may or may not be worth the investment, so do your research before proceeding.
  • Replace or update fencing.  Fences provide a safe place for children and pets and also given homeowners a feeling of privacy, so they are highly sought after.  Fencing is also one of the first things people see when coming to your home.  If your fence is an eyesore, it would be worth the effort to have it replaced or fixed up.  New fencing is quite expensive, so first determine if your fence can be spruced up with some nails and a new coat of paint.
  • Hire a professional landscaper.  If you are serious about creating a stunning yard, you can make your  home one-of-a-kind.  A landscaper can help you add impressive things like paving stone walkways, decorative retaining walls, and water features.  These projects definitely increase home values, but it is always good to know what the market will support in your area before moving forward.

No matter how much money you have to invest in your home’s landscaping, there are projects you can do this Spring to improve your home’s curb appeal and get it noticed by buyers.

SOURCE:  Daniel M. Christensen for realtytimes.com  IMAGE: Pinterest

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THE END OF THE ALL-WHITE KITCHEN? THE CASE FOR NATURAL WOOD http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/end-white-kitchen-case-natural-wood/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/end-white-kitchen-case-natural-wood/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 14:55:33 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6076 Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “A funny thing happened while everyone was obsessing over white kitchens:  Natural wood sneaked back in, creating some of the chic-est spaces around.  For many, natural wood evokes a country feel.  Or perhaps something ultra-traditional.  But today’s natural wood kitchens are modern showplaces that mimic the newest trends we’ve been…

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Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“A funny thing happened while everyone was obsessing over white kitchens:  Natural wood sneaked back in, creating some of the chic-est spaces around.  For many, natural wood evokes a country feel.  Or perhaps something ultra-traditional.  But today’s natural wood kitchens are modern showplaces that mimic the newest trends we’ve been seeing in wood floors.

” “We predicted that natural materials and warmer finishes would rule the kitchen in 2017.  One way we’re seeing this natural material trend play out. thanks in part to the popularity of minimalism, is with unpainted, unfinished wooden cabinets.” ” said Apartment Therapy…. ” “The casual look combines the sleek style we expect in contemporary kitchens with the natural warmth of wood…” ”

…You know when you’re watching House Hunters Renovations and the couple looking for a home to buy and redo always has diametrically opposed styles?  We could see a stunning kitchen with natural cabinets as a beautiful compromise for a couple who wanted some traditional details like verticle shiplap look on islands and drawer handles…even if just one spouse is insistent on commercial appliances (stainless range & hood), and luxe materials (marble countertops and backsplash), the wood cabinetry brings it all together.

…For a minimalist, modern look, why not run the wood right up the backsplash?  (I think painted or stained wainscoting backsplashes are pretty as well – in the kitchen AND in the bath).

Even a mis-matched look – for example – with wood cabinet on two sides of an island, mixed with two sides of marble.  The texture of the wood sides on the bottom cabinets or drawers is the perfect way to show them off.

Natural wood in a mid-tone brown is also a great counterpoint to an all-white kitchen if you’re not ready to take the plunge all over….for instance, a more traditional island juxtaposed against modern white cabinetry.”

(My Note:  I, for one, am getting tired of keeping my all-white cabinets clean – constantly!  They show every spot and splash – and though, of course, you want to keep a clean kitchen – having to touch-up- clean white cabinets every week gets old after a while!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  realtytimes.com

 

 

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TOP FIVE NEW BATHROOM TECHNOLOGIES TO CONSIDER http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/top-five-new-bathroom-technologies-to-consider/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/top-five-new-bathroom-technologies-to-consider/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2017 14:09:08 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5975 Excerpted from an article by Andrea Davis for realtytimes. “Installing bathroom tech is  a great way to take your remodel or addition to the next level.  Aside from adding extra comfort, bathroom tech will also improve the efficiency of your home.  Here’s a look at five high-tech gadgets that will turn your bathroom into the…

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Excerpted from an article by Andrea Davis for realtytimes.

“Installing bathroom tech is  a great way to take your remodel or addition to the next level.  Aside from adding extra comfort, bathroom tech will also improve the efficiency of your home.  Here’s a look at five high-tech gadgets that will turn your bathroom into the ultra-modern — and convenient — space of your dreams.

HIGH-TECH TOILET FIXTURES.  High-tech toilet fixtures may not sound exciting, but they’re an important part of creating a clean and modern bathroom. (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/01/the-lowly-bathroom-goes-high-tech/index.htm).

LED-lighted toilet seats.  Will allow you to find your toilet at night without turning on lights or walking in the dark.

Temperature-controlled seats ensure your toilet is comfortable no matter the temperature inside your home.

Self-cleaning toilets eliminate bacteria buildup in and on your toilet and prevent unsightly mineral staining with automated cleaning.

Chromotherapy Showers use color-changing LCD panels to create a restorative bathing experience – to help you wake up in the morning or relax at night – and lighting presets that will help you achieve your desired effect.

SOAKING TUBS.  Smaller, more efficient soaking tubs are replacing larger Jacuzzi tubs, and they come in unique shapes and offer air-based massage jets.  They come in stone, copper and even some man-made minerals – also employ energy-efficient tech that will reduce your energy costs.

WATERPROOF TELEVISIONS.  Having a TV nearby can make bath time more fun, and waterproof TVs are common in many renovations projects and come in a variety of prices.  Some even have internet connectability.

REFRIGERATED CABINETS.  Popular in many renovations, cooled cabinets will allow you to keep medicine and temperature-sensitive cosmetics close by without having to worry about spoiling.  You can also use them to keep beverages and snacks cool.  They are relatively cost-friendly and much more efficient than mini-fridges.

CONCLUSION:  All the above new bathroom technologies can add value and comfort to your home…and for many homeowners, that’s worth more than the additional cost.”

Source:  Andrea Davis is editor for HomeAdvisor (http://homeadvisor.com) which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.  Image:  Pinterest

 

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AMERICANS BUY HOMES AT FASTEST PACE IN A DECADE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/americans-buy-homes-at-fastest-pace-in-a-decade/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/americans-buy-homes-at-fastest-pace-in-a-decade/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:46:42 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5957 Excerpted from an article by Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press “WASHINGTON – Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007.  Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. …

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Excerpted from an article by Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press

“WASHINGTON – Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007.  Home sales rose 3.3% in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.  Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even as borrowing costs have risen since last fall.  Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of additional increases in mortgage rates.

Buyers are snapping up homes, with the typical home for sale remaining on the market for just 50 days, compared with 64 days a year ago.  Strong demand is pushing up median home prices, which jumped 7.1% from a year earlier to $228,900.

Mortgage rates have climbed since the presidential election.  Investors are anticipating tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending will accelerate growth and push up inflation.  That has caused investors to cut back on their bond holdings, pushing up yields.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.15% last week, according to Freddie Mac.  While that has dipped since earlier this month, it is much higher than last year’s average rate of 3.65%.

By some measures, the housing market has fully recovered from the bust that began in 2006.  Yet its newfound health is creating its own set of challenges.  The number of homes for sale remains unusually low, forcing buyers to bid up prices, especially in sought-after cities.  Just 1.69 million homes were on the market nationwide in January, near the lowest level since records began in 1999.  Last year, low mortgage rates helped offset rising home prices.  Yet now both are rising, which could hamstring sales in the coming months.  The strength in sales should lift growth as a new homeowners purchase furniture, buy appliances and spend more on landscaping and outdoor equipment.

Homes sales also tend to spur renovations, which helps to update aging properties and generates additional construction work for the broader economy.  New research suggest that the upfront costs of housing can be significantly greater because of needed renovations after a period of weak sales…”

SOURCE:  Christopher S. Rugaber for Associated Press

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THREE STEPS TO SAVING FOR YOUR DREAM HOME http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/three-steps-to-saving-for-your-dream-home/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/three-steps-to-saving-for-your-dream-home/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:05:03 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5953 Excerpted from an article by Damien Justus for realtytimes.com “According to Harvard University’s “State of the Nation’s Housing” report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet.  Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt. Millennials in particular are waiting longer to…

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Excerpted from an article by Damien Justus for realtytimes.com

“According to Harvard University’s “State of the Nation’s Housing” report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet.  Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt.

Millennials in particular are waiting longer to get married, start families and purchase their first home.  But this is not necessarily bad news for the housing market.  In fact, it could mean that the millennial generation has something to teach us all about saving consistently towards a big life goal such as home ownership…

Step 1.  Pay down your debt to clean up your credit.  Your credit score is a tricky business when it comes to saving for your first home.  You have no history of carrying a mortgage, so you can’t make any real impact there.  What you CAN do is to clean up your overall credit report so your general credit score is as healthy as possible before you apply for your mortgage loan.  According to the National Foundation for Credit counseling (NFCC) a surprising number of Americans think they have “above average” (60%) to a “very good” (41%) credit, although a full 48% have not seen their credit score in the past three years or EVER.  So clearly, this is where you need to start.  The best way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to pay down your debt, clear up any disputes on your credit report and in so doing boost your credit score so you can qualify for the best mortgage at the lowest interest rates.

Step 2.  Separate and automate your savings.  Saving money is never going to be the easiest goal you attempt.  In fact, according to The Atlantic (magazine), one of the chief reasons that nearly half of all Americans have little or no emergency savings to fall back on is taking on too much mortgage debt.  So here is a clear area where you should proceed with caution.  First, SAVE! Then, buy a home.  The best approach to make saving as painless as possible for your is to automate your savings.  You can do this by setting up direct deposit on your paycheck and then regular auto-drafts into a savings account reserved just for dream home savings.  This way, you never touch those funds and feel tempted to spend them.

Step 3.  Downsize to upsize.  Finally, one effective change many adults today are making to save more towards their dream home is to downsize while they save.   This can mean anything from moving to a smaller apartment to getting rid of your cable television subscription.  Also, you must continually remind yourself why you have downsized in order for this step to work well.  But THE KEY in making downsizing work to serve your greater goals is to make sure you deposit every cent of what you save into your dream home fund.  Referring back to Step 2, the easiest way to do this is to calculate for yourself exactly what you are saving by paying less rent, giving up cable, etc. and then setting up a monthly auto draft in that amount to deposit directly into your dream home savings account.

By following these three steps, you can  make tangible financial [progress in saving to buy your dream home.  If you can save 20% towards a down payment, you can avoid paying expensive Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you may even qualify for a lower interest rate.  Scrimping and savings is never fun or easy, but it will be worth it when your realtor hands you that brand-new set of house keys!

SOURCE:  Damien Justus for realtytimes.com  –  IMAGE:  cthomesllc.com

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HOME RENOVATIONS ON A BUDGET http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-renovations-on-a-budget/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-renovations-on-a-budget/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:29:24 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=5944 Excerpted from an article by Realty Times Staff “If you’re looking to get the best return on your investment or just improve your property to attract high quality tenants, a kitchen remodel is one of the highest value projects.  The most recent cost vs. value report, released in January 2014, shows that property owners will…

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renovationsExcerpted from an article by Realty Times Staff

“If you’re looking to get the best return on your investment or just improve your property to attract high quality tenants, a kitchen remodel is one of the highest value projects.  The most recent cost vs. value report, released in January 2014, shows that property owners will recoup 82.7% of the cost on a minor kitchen remodel, an increase of more than five percent over 2013.  The good news is that high value renovations like these don’t have to break the bank.  There are a number of options for making improvements to your property that can significantly better its appearance without spending a lot.

KITCHEN:  The first thing people look at when buying a house is the kitchen and bathrooms, according to the director of the remodeling futures program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.  It’s not different for potential renters, and Rental.Us.com reports these two rooms are considered the best investments for property owners.  Minor improvements such as replacing the kitchen faucet and adding new cabinet door handles can make a big difference in the look of your kitchen.  Consider switching out old flourescent lights for new track lighting or adding a new countertop, laminate isn’t too expensive and can really help update the room.  If the appliances don’t match and you can’t afford to replace them, a less pricey option is to replace their doors or face panels with matching colors which can generally be ordered direct from the manufacturer.

BATHROOMS:  As bathrooms are also a high priority for home buyers and renters, don’t leave them out when sprucing up your property.  Consider changing out old towel bars, toilet sets and sink faucets.  If your tiling is old and outdated, it should also be replaced.  Re-grouting tile around the shower and bath is also an easy and inexpensive update.

FLOORING:  Floors are another important factor that can make or break a home’s appearance.  If you can afford it, consider replacing carpeting with wood laminate flooring.  It’s cheaper than other hardwoods but can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the years in maintenance costs.  At a minimum, you should have carpets professionally cleaned.

THE FRONT DOOR:  Entry door replacement was on the top of the list when it comes to high value renovations, according to the 2014 cost v. value report.  This is one of the first things potential buyers will notice.  If replacing the door is not in your budget, consider repainting it to add curb appeal and changing out the handle-and-lock to help suggest that it’s a solid, sturdy home.  (If painting, stand back and look at your house and the existing trim.  Pick a door color that will match or blend with the existing trim, or enhance it.  Or go with finished wood.  Barn or dark red, forest green, “Charleston Green”, which is almost black, or natural wood stain finishes are popular for mountain homes.  The Connestee Falls POA can provide a list of preferred colors for external trim, siding and doors)

THE EXTERIOR:  Of course, an attractive home exterior is a must, enticing prospective buyers or renters to want to take a closer look.  If the outside looks shabby, there is a good chance that it will be passed by.  General cleaning and maintenance of the exterior can greatly improve curb appeal.  Remove any items that are left sitting unused, including old, rusty patio furniture or broken garden tools and equipment.  These things generally can’t be picked up by your local garbage company and you may need to find a rental dumpster service so that you can tidy up your yard and easily dispose of those unwanted items.  Additionally, make sure that walkways are swept and the lawn is well-manicured.”

SOURCE:  Realty Times Staff     IMAGE:  realtybiznews.com

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