Posts tagged ‘baltimore real estate’

January 8, 2014

Winter’s Wrath

winter-wrathIf you have been impacted by the current arctic temperatures, or if you live in an area frequently hit by winter storms, this article is for you! While you can’t change the weather, you can minimize some of winter’s biggest threats to your home.  

Here are a few suggestions to help avoid potentially expensive damage to your home this winter.

  • Keep Pipes Warm – Some of the most expensive damage comes from pipes that burst!  Even if your home is warm, the areas where your pipes are located may not be (attic, basement, back of cabinets).  Wrap pipes with insulation in these colder areas, or open cabinets to allow warm air to circulate.  Allowing your faucets to drip will keep water moving through your pipes and also helps prevent freezing.
  • Protect the outside – Clean your gutters to prevent water from clogging and freezing.  Make sure spouts direct water away from your home. Trim low tree branches that could freeze or snap, damaging your home or power lines.  Re-seal around doors and windows with caulk. Unhook garden hoses to prevent pipe damage.
  • Carbon Monoxide – Buy a detector to protect your family! This is one of the biggest winter dangers due to improper ventilation of furnaces, generators, propane burning devices or wood stoves. It is recommended that you have a detector on each level of your home.
  • Consider a Generator – This can help keep your home warm and keep things running. It can also help prevent frozen pipes and keep you more comfortable. Some insurance companies will give a discount if you have an automatic standby generator installed in your home.
  • Check the Roof – If too much snow accumulates, your roof could collapse; especially a flat one or those over porches and additions. Consider purchasing a roof rake that will enable you to “pull” snow off the roof while you stay safe on the ground!
  • Avoid Ice-dams – This happens when your home’s warmth melts the snow on your roof and it re-freezes near the roof’s edge. This creates a dam that can force leaks into your roof and damage interior ceilings and walls. If you see icicles dangling from your roof this could be an indication of ice-dams. To help prevent this, keep your attic cold (no more than 5-10 degrees warmer than outside). Prevent warm “leaks” into the attic by sealing holes around light fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Keep Emergency Kits – Keep one in your home and one in your car. Include items like flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, a car charger for your cell phone, non-perishable food items, water, blankets, some extra cash, gloves, hats, mittens, etc. Always keep your car’s fuel tank at least ½ full during the winter months.

Taking these steps just a day or two before a big storm hits can make a big difference!

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Tips for Homeowners  |  Tips for Home Sellers  |  Tips for Home Buyers

August 1, 2013

DIY Projects to cool your home!!

staycoolblogSummer is a great time for some of our favorite activities, like hiking, swimming, relaxing at the beach, or just enjoying the outdoors.  But at times the heat of summer can become a bit uncomfortable…..especially in your home.

Tackle these simple projects to make your home more comfortable for those times you are ready to take a break from the outdoor heat!

A/C Filter – Avoid costly air conditioning repairs by performing some basic maintenance……replacing the air filter.  This should only cost a few dollars and will help ensure that your a/c continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

Install Shades – A door or window shade can help block out a great deal of the sun’s heat.  They are simple to install and can be fairly inexpensive.  Be sure to measure carefully!  Keeping the blinds closed on extremely warm days can greatly reduce your cooling costs!

Shade Trees – Planting trees to shade your home is a great idea if you are planning to stay there for a while.  It seems like an ideal solution to have their canopy for shade, but we know trees do not grow overnight.  However, there are certain types that will grow faster than others!

Drafts – No matter what time of year, drafts can torment every homeowner!  In the summer, drafts can allow the stifling heat into your home, while allowing the cool air to escape!  You can detect leaks by guiding a candle around the frame of doors and windows, watching the flame for signs of a draft.  Once located, simply remove any old/worn caulk and replace it with new, waterproof filler!

Check A/C Ducts – If you have been using your a/c for a few years, chances are some of your duct work may have come loose.  Loose duct fittings can cause a 20% drop in your air conditioner’s efficiency.  Take the time to inspect the ductwork and repair any areas that show “wear”.

Bedding – This might seem like a very minor task to consider, but the difference you will feel with light-weight fabrics is quite noticeable!  Heavier fabrics trap heat making it harder to sleep if you are too warm!  Natural fibers like Egyptian cotton, will allow better circulation and a much more comfortable night’s rest!

Take care of these few DIY projects this weekend………so next weekend you can enjoy yourself whether you are out OR in!!

July 25, 2013

Home Ownership Matters

July 2013_Ecard

Home ownership does matter. It has a significant impact on net worth, educational achievement, civic participation, health, and overall quality of life. Plus, it helps create jobs, lots of them, right in your community. Did you know that for every two homes sold in the U.S., one job is created?

A few more perks of home ownership:

Increased Equity
As you pay down your mortgage, you own more of an increasingly valuable property. Sometimes you can borrow against this equity for home improvements or other investments.

Appreciating Investment
The real estate market does fluctuate, but over time the value of your property could appreciate.

Tax Benefits
Interest and closing costs are big expenses. However, when you file your taxes, you may be entitled to deductions based on points and interest paid during the year. This can be a very significant benefit especially in the early years of ownership when you are paying more interest.

Successful Children
Studies show that children of homeowners are more likely to graduate from high school and college, have better overall grades, and fewer behavior problems. They are likely to someday become homeowners as well.

Stronger Communities
Homeowners are more likely to maintain their homes, become involved in solving local problems, be part of community groups, are more likely to vote, and will remain in their homes 4 times longer if they own it.

Stronger Families
Homeowners are more likely to attend church, belong to parent-teacher groups, read local newspapers, and have less alcohol and substance abuse problems.

Stability, freedom, privacy
Owning a home has a significant impact on overall quality of life, including health, happiness, and security. Homeowners tend to have a greater sense of control over their lives.

July 18, 2013

Prep Your Home for Vacation

img-prep-home-for-summerBefore you head out the door to your favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter.

  • Light it up – the kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.
  • Keep it Quiet – Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.
  • Keep it Cool – Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.
  • Power it down – A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.
  • Flush it – Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.
  • Clean it – Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.
  • Trim it – Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.
  • Stop it – Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries.
  • Lock it – Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.
  • Arm it – Set the alarm and notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.
  • Get help with it – Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

Take a look at these Homeowner Survival Skills for more tips on taking care of your home.
Looking for a career as a Maryland or Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent? Visit our Real Estate Careers website for more information.

March 28, 2013

Dress up your Décor

dress-up-you-decorNeutrals are safe, easy to decorate around, and lend themselves to any design theme.  Preferring a simple, neutral décor does not mean you are boring or dull!  You can show off your personality and sense of style by “dressing up” up a neutral room!

A neutral is any color that stays in the background and doesn’t take over a room.  Popular choices are beige, grey, ecru, cream, and brown.  So when you can’t decide on a color for a room or furniture; keep it neutral and flexible.  It will provide the perfect backdrop for easy, seasonal, and personal-style changes.

  • Start with the walls – A neutral wall color keeps the room warm and white, contrasting trim will make the walls “pop”.  A perfect combination!
  • Carpet – Install a neutral color, trying for a shade or two darker than your walls.  You can buy a less expensive carpet, because using area rugs in various colors or prints is a popular trend for adding color to a room.  (plush padding can be installed for better carpet wear and to make it feel more expensive)
  • Hardwood – If this is your preference in flooring, any wood tone will be fine.
  • Furniture – Stick with neutral colors, but explore the great variety of textures and patterns that are available to break up the monotony.  Rattan or wicker, and leather are considered neutrals and can add a bit of rich elegance to a room.  If you are trying to save money, slipcovers and second-hand finds can also work great.
  • Recycle – Paint end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, in the same color with an enamel finish.  Matching your tables to the walls will give the room a larger, less-cluttered look.

Once you have your neutral palette complete, it’s time to have some fun!!

Accent color – This is used to bring some emphasis to your color scheme.  Accents are expected to be a bit “bold”.  You have the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want!  Start with a key piece of wall art or an area rug to “anchor” your space.  Look for colorful accessories to compliment the base color and these “anchor” pieces.  Here are some suggestions…

• Lamps         • Candles
• Artwork      • Throw Pillows
• Vases           • Throw Blanket

Texture – Not sure about adding color, then add texture.  It will add dimension and depth to your décor.  Wicker containers will add a roughness, while mirrors and glass will add sleek, smoothness.  Soft plush bedding or pillows will add comfort and warmth.  An area rug will bring coarseness and help define the space.

Greenery – Add life and movement to any room with plants.  Potted plants, colorful flowers, hanging ferns, garland, and swags are a great way to add a splash of color.  Place in the corner of a room, atop cabinetry, on tables or a decorative plant stand.

Follow these simple suggestions to show off your personality and style.  
Change it up seasonally or whenever you have the urge.  
You don’t have to break the bank to re-decorate or rejuvenate a room in your home…go ahead, have some fun!

March 19, 2013

March Home Tasks

The official start of spring is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to prepare your home; time to get ready for that fresh, new beginning that spring will always bring.

March Home Tips

Get these simple chores done now, so when spring does finally arrive, you are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy it!

January 31, 2013

Buying vs. Building

 

buyingvsbuildingNumerous decisions are involved in the purchase of a home.  The most important decision, which will impact the rest of the process, is whether to build your own home or buy an existing home.  Each strategy has its own advantages as well as disadvantages.  Owning a home is a great experience, but can be a stressful event; be prepared for what lies ahead of you.

Buying

vs.

Building

Pros

  • If your reasonable offer is accepted, you could live there within 30-45 days.

 

  • Tremendous sentimental value and personal pride in making it “your home”.
  • Usually not part of a Homeowner’s Association, giving you more personal freedom and more choices.

 

  • Personalize everything from the floor plan, to carpets, to fixtures, to appliances, paint colors, etc.
  • Already in an established area – It’s easier to consider the character of the home and the area it is located in.
  • Energy Efficient – Better, current building standards, better materials, and the most efficient appliances and systems; very important with the continually rising energy costs!

 

  • Better value – Usually able to negotiate a better price on the home.  Appliances and fixtures typically included, desired upgrades can be negotiated into the purchase.
  • Deferred maintenance – You know moving in that you will not need to replace the roof or any larger systems for many years.  Unforeseen issues should be covered by a warranty.

 

  • Less stress – Much less to consider during the buying process, less decisions to be made and/or negotiated.  Don’t forget to consider home inspections!
  • Many new communities offer other incentives such as recreational facilities, community maintenance, and locations closer to new stores, etc.

 

  • Usually have complete and mature landscaping. 
  • Latest technology built-in, from wiring to high speed internet, to the latest architectural trends, etc.

Buying

vs.

Building

Cons

  • Older floor plans do not have the same good traffic flow and open feeling that most new homes possess.
  • Usually takes 6-7 months to build, but you may want to count on another 1-2 months for unforeseen issues that may arise; bad weather, material defects, builder’s schedule.

 

  • Most likely will not have everything you want.  You will have to be willing to make some compromises on your list of wants/needs.
  • New construction typically has higher costs and most initial estimates are not accurate.  A lot can change during the building process.
  • Immediate maintenance or renovations may be necessary to personalize the home or even make it livable.
  • Might have to live with the noise and construction vehicle traffic if you are located in a new community; it could go on for months.
  • Less energy efficient!  Might also need updates on wiring and other major systems depending on the age of the home.

There is no wrong or right choice; only your personal preference.  The best things you can do are to plan ahead; review the pros and cons of each choice thoroughly; determine your budget and stick to it; consider job security and long-term plans for being in the area; and last, but not least, don’t forget about maintaining your own sanity!

 

Let us help you follow the path that best suits you!

January 28, 2013

Thinking about your next home project?

winterDoing any type of work on your home can be a thrilling adventure. Conventional thinking has been to tackle home improvement and remodeling projects during the spring and summer months. Well, it is time to change the way you think! One of the best-kept remodeling secrets is to do your remodeling work during the winter months.

  • The Price is Right-Contractors may provide incentives during the winter if their work is slow. You can also beat the typical price increases that occur in the spring for items like lumber, windows, cabinets, etc.
  • Beat the rush-Don’t try to schedule your projects when everyone else is! Right now many contractors have less to do and can schedule and perform your renovations a lot quicker. This is the best time for those interior projects like painting, replacing flooring, updating lights, or replacing cabinets.
  • What about the mess? Don’t be concerned about dust and fumes. With the products and technology available today, contractors are able to contain the mess to their work area. Items such as plastic zip doors, fans with negative pressure, and filters to seal off heat ducts are available to insure that your family won’t be inhaling anything they shouldn’t be!
  • Less Interruption-Many folks plan vacations to escape the long, cold months of winter. That is a great time to have work done at your home. You won’t have to deal with the inconvenience and havoc that remodeling can sometimes cause in your daily life. So go on, relax, enjoy a break. When you return you’ll find only a beautifully, completed home renovation project; no mess and no hassle for you.
  • Outside Project? Yes, if the weather cooperates, you might even be able to cross one of these projects off your to-do list. Outdoor painting may not be such a good idea, but building a deck, porch, or other addition might just be a possibility.

It’s time to “think outside the box”. Get your contractor working during the off-season. You may be able to save yourself money and get your projects done a lot sooner than you thought! Your contractor may even thank you for keeping them working during these slow winter months.

It’s a win-win situation for all!

November 12, 2012

How to Avoid Potential Deal Breakers

It is highly beneficial to work with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can advise and guide you through your home buying or selling experience. Since the unexpected is still a possibility, below are steps on how to avoid potential deal breakers.

Foreclosure date falls before buy date: With the high number of foreclosures in today’s economy, this is all too common. You find the perfect home, sign the papers, and then the home is foreclosed before you can secure your funding and seal the deal!
How to avoid: Find out the foreclosure date in the beginning and work hard to get everything done as quickly as possible!

Credit problems: The amount and type of debt you have can influence your ability to get a mortgage. Lenders do not like to see delinquency on loan payments, arrears on child support, or a high debt to income ratio.
How to avoid: Prepare ahead of time and take the steps to clean up your credit. Do your best to make timely and full payments on all your debts. Another thing to avoid…do not make large purchases (appliances, new car, etc.) until after your mortgage has been funded!

Who owns what? A home buyer thinks they are getting a 6000 sq. ft. lot, only to find out otherwise. Lot lines, shared driveways, and fences can be big stumbling blocks in a real estate transaction.
How to avoid: Review the title report carefully! They are not always easy to read, but take the time to do so carefully. Still not sure, have your real estate agent review it with you!

Proposed property use: Planning to run a business from your new home? Your dream may fizzle, if the home is not zoned for a particular use or if a homeowner’s association has the ability to deny your request.
How to avoid: Be sure to check into the zoning requirements and review any by-laws that may exist for the home.

Personal property and fixtures: Disputes over fixtures and personal property are common. It’s important to know the difference. Wall-mounted TV’s have become a frequent issue! Property that is permanently attached or fixed to real property which once removed will cause “permanent” damage to the real property is considered a fixture. Fixtures remain with the property!
How to avoid: Home sellers – if it is something special to you, remove or replace it before you list your home. Also make sure it is excluded when the offer is written.

Unexpected inspection findings: On a purchase of this size, home buyers should know what they are getting. Inspections can be deal breakers when an agreement cannot be reached on who will pay for repair costs, should a problem be discovered.
How to avoid: Sellers can have inspections done prior to putting the home on the market and can have problems fixed in advance. Home Buyers still have the option to get their own inspections performed. Repairs almost always cost the seller less if the buyer knows about if before making an offer.

Being an educated consumer and being “prepared” for the unexpected
goes a long way with holding a deal together!

September 10, 2012

Prudential Real Estate 2012 Second Quarter Awards

Each quarter Prudential Real Estate compiles a list of the top real estate offices throughout the country, ranking them based on their size and location. We are proud to announce that Prudential Homesale has seven offices that have ranked in the top 3 for their respected category for Q2 2012.

Homesale YWGC Realty – Federal Hill

1st Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 21
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 40 Sales Professionals in U.S. South
for Residential GCI’
1st Place in Award - ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 21
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 40 Sales Professionals in U.S. South
for Residential Units’

————————————————————
Bob Yost Homesale Services – East York

1st Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 41
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 75 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

————————————————————

Homesale Services Group – Carlisle

2nd Place in Award - ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 1 Sales Professionals and a maximum of 20 Sales Professionals in U.S. Northeast for Residential Units’

————————————————————

Homesale Services Group – Chambersburg

2nd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 21
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 40 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

————————————————————

Homesale YWGC Realty – Clarkview

2nd Place in Award - ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. South for Residential GCI’
2nd Place in Award - ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. South for Residential Units’ Sales Professional and Team Awards

————————————————————

Homesale Services Group – North Pointe

3rd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. Northeast for Residential Units’

————————————————————

Bob Yost Homesale Services – West York

3rd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 41
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 75 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

————————————————————

We are also proud to say that two of our teams made the top 3 for real estate for the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The Mumaw Claster Group
(consisting of Noah Mumaw and Candace Claster)
Sales Professional Awards – 2nd Place in Maryland for Residential GCI

The Craig Hartranft Team
(Consisting of Craig HartranftJim McPhailKim McPhailKeith ShaubSarah SampleDanielle Gwilt, and Celia Fauth)

Sales Professional Awards – 3rd Place in Pennsylvania for Residential GCI
Sales Professional Awards – 2nd Place in Pennsylvania for Residential Units

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