Home Sellers: Check your Home for Storm Damage

housefloodedThe relentless rainfall and flooding in Colorado can be used as reminder that it’s been another crazy year of weather with many big rain and wind storms damaging houses throughout the country. With fall upon us and winter around the corner, home sellers should take a close look at their property for storm damage and make repairs.

If you experienced a powerful storm, it’s a smart idea to check your roof for any damage and ensure there are no missing shingles or cracks around any skylights the home may have. Climb into your attic and look for discoloration of the decking or plywood surfaces.

Also look for light penetrating from around plumbing vents or the chimney, indicating that your roof’s flashing needs repair.

Next, inspect your rain gutters for damage and clear them of leaves and debris. Look for holes, cracks or sags; all three can be easily fixed by a homeowner. (To fix a small hole, first use an abrasive pad to clean the area, then cut a piece of gutter material slightly larger than the hole. Using a stiff brush, spread gutter-repair compound around the hole and place your patch over the top. Cover the patch with another layer of compound to ensure a good seal. To repair minor sags, simply add a new hanging bracket to the sagging area or replace the compromised existing bracket.)

Pay particular attention to areas of your home near trees and shrubs. Limbs can play havoc with your roof, siding and stucco in heavy winds, and can come crashing down under the weight of snow. Prune your trees and shrubs to ensure their health and to safeguard your home.

Finally, be sure to inspect your windows, fencing, decking, which also take a beating in storms. Seal and repair any damage. Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and ready for sale.

Selling your home? Find more tips for Home Sellers here

http://askhomesale.com/category/for-sellers/

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According to the industry publication REAL Trends, Prudential Homesale is the 13th most successful Realtor nationwide in the combined delivery of home services: real estate sales, mortgage closings, title closings, insurance sales, and home warranty sales. Prudential Homesale is ranked the 4th most successful Prudential Real Estate franchise in the country in sales.

Home Sellers: Check your Home for Storm Damage

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!!

DIY Projects to cool your home!!

Considering a Vacation Home?

vacation-homesPurchasing a vacation home can be very rewarding – both personally and financially! Many look at vacation homes for entertaining purposes, while others simply want a home-away-from-home for annual family trips, or even a home that can be passed from generation-to-generation.

Whatever your reason may be, there are several things to carefully consider before taking the plunge!

  1. Rent First – You’ve done research, perhaps even stayed in a vacation community that you are considering for your purchase. It is definitely a good idea to rent a home in the community before you buy! If you plan to visit year-round, you will want to rent in each season to get a true feel for the home and the area. A home during the summer can be very different than a home in the winter! Also consider whether there are activities close by that your family enjoys, shops for browsing, sites to see, and restaurants to visit!
  2. Consider the Rental Potential – Even if you decide not to rent the home while you own it, it is still a very good idea to consider the rental potential of the property. Homes that can be rented are more valuable. Should your personal situation change……….you will at least have the option to rent if necessary. There are also some significant tax advantages to renting your vacation home that you may want to consider.
  3. 5 Year Plan – Real estate is not a liquid investment. To get the most out of your investment, it is recommended that you keep your personal residence for at least 5 years. This should be doubled for vacation properties! Market downturns can be much harder on vacation homes than on primary residences. It is best to have a long-term horizon so you can ride out the ups and downs of the market.
  4. Location – Your best bet is to purchase a home near a major metropolitan region. More than 80% of vacation-home buyers also make their purchase within driving distance of their permanent residence. Being close allows a homeowner to use their second-home more frequently! Buying a property in an isolated, far-off area will significantly reduce your resale potential.
  5. Budget – When creating your budget, be sure to include the mortgage costs, as well as an estimate for taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. You should set aside approximately 2% of the home’s value for maintenance. (Landscaping, a caretaker, repairs, painting, etc.) Be realistic! Set aside extra funds for “surprises” and don’t forget to include the cost of traveling to your vacation home!

10 Most Popular Towns in which to buy a Vacation Home (courtesy Trulia)

1. Ocean City, NJ
2. North Wildwood, NJ
3. Kissimmee, FL
4. Ocean City, MD
5. Marco Island, FL
6. Big Bear Lake, CA
7. Lake Arrowhead, CA
8. Panama City Beach, FL
9. Gatlinburg, TN
10. Cherry Grove Beach, SC

Considering a Vacation Home?

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Looking for a fun way to dress up your outdoor living space? check out these great do-it-yourself projects using recycled wooden pallets.

It is no secret that wood pallets can be repurposed into impressive furniture and decor.It is amazing what people have created from these abundant, often discarded resources that can usually be found for free with little effort.

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Pallet Sofa Materials:  4-5 Pallets, Plenty of workspace, good pair of gloves, Circular saw, 3×3 or 4×4 posts for frame, wood screws, sander for smooth finish, clear wood sealer, outdoor cushions/pillows, and some creativity!

Pallet Coffee Table Materials:  Wooden pallet, sander for smooth finish, 4 wheels, paint or sealer to create a colorful, water-resistant finish.  Don’t forget to personalize with a few flashy items to sit on top!!

Pallet Benches Materials:  Several wooded pallets (depending on how many benches you want), tape measure, saw, sander, wood screws, paint or sealer to finish, and more creativity!!  Keep in mind….if your benches are not against an outdoor wall you will need to be sure the backs are well supported!

Outdoor Lounger Materials: 2 Pallets, sander to smooth, 2-3 metal hinges, chains & hooks to secure adjustable back of lounger, paint or water sealer to protect wood, colorful, outdoor cushions, And of course a good book and icy, cold beverage to enjoy when you are finished!!

For detailed instructions and more do-it-yourself decorating ideas visit: http://goodideasforyou.com/ideas-a-inspirations/summer-a-gardening/patio-furniture.html

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Is it Your Time to Sell??

righttimetosellYes, it looks like it might finally be the right time to put the For Sale sign in your front yard! Rising home prices and lower inventories are creating new opportunities for home sellers; sometimes even bringing multiple offers to purchase on the same home, as buyers become more confident and try to take advantage of lower interest rates.

Read on to discover more reasons why you should list your home NOW instead of waiting…

  • PricesHomes prices are slowly making a comeback. However, it is still your best bet, to price your home reasonably from the beginning. A newly listed home will have its largest viewing audience the first few days on the market and a properly priced home could see 8+ showings that first week!
  • Inventory – The supply of homes is at its lowest point since 2005! Typically, the home inventory increases in the spring season. A stronger demand from buyers and a currently low inventory of homes could help you get your desirable sale price!
  • New Construction – The home building industry took a hard hit the past few years, but it is showing signs of making a recovery. Builders are becoming more confident and more active, creating competition for sellers of existing homes.
  • Household changes – Family formations are changing and growing, creating a need for “move up” homes. Rental occupancy is also nearing all-time highs. And those that may have fallen on hard times are getting their credit repaired; creating buyers who are more than ready to purchase!
  • Interest Rates rising? – It has been projected that interest rates may start to inch up during 2013. This possibility is enough reason to push some homebuyers off the fence and onto the path of becoming homeowners.
  • Selling faster – Statistics also show that homes are selling faster. The average days a home was on the real estate market in January was 71, compared to 99 days on the market one year ago!

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, here are some other items to consider:

 Find the right agent – Interview several, until you feel confident that you have found the right match!
 Clean it up – Clean and prep your home right away: do a little painting, some carpet cleaning, and make minor updates. You want your home to make a great first impression!
 Consider offers carefully – especially competing offers. Consider ALL terms of the offer, not just the sale price. Things to think about……closing date, inspections, cash down, appraisals, etc.
 Plan for the appraisal – Provide the appraiser with comparable sales in your area and be sure to point out special features of your home they might miss!

Happy Selling!!!

Homes for Sale in Maryland and Pennsylvania Real Estate from Prudential Homesale. Looking to sell your home? Contact a Prudential Homesale Real Estate Agent today.

Is it Your Time to Sell??

Market Changes for 2013

marketchangeWith it looking like the real estate market is in recovery-mode, a lot of individuals are making the leap into buying or selling a home. The housing market is very different than it used to be; even as recently as six months ago. Read on to discover some of the ways it has changed since 2012 and what the changes may mean for you, as a buyer or seller.

  • Fewer Distressed-homes for Sale – With the mortgage crisis fading, so are the cheap deals for buyers. Some of this is due to a back-log in the processing of foreclosed homes. Other reasons include banks giving homeowners more opportunities to keep their homes, some are being auctioned as rentals, and finally a large number of homes are being sold off in portfolios to investors rather than being listed for sale to individual buyers. This is all good news for sellers who should see an increase in their neighborhood property values.
  • More New Construction – Due to lower interest rates and an upswing in hiring, the market is seeing more activity by builders. Many buyers are welcoming the chance to buy new and have it designed their way. However, the prices for new homes are also increasing. A greater supply of new homes in the future could help slow the pace of the increases.
  • Lack of Inventory – Rates are good, but the home selection is not. The supply is the lowest it has been since the fall of 2005. Many homeowners still cannot get a sale price high enough to cover their debt and provide enough money to put down on a move-up home. This should change during the year. A high demand, low interest rates, and slowly increasing home prices should prompt more sellers to list their homes. Word to the wise, if you find a desirable home, move quickly or someone else will!
  • Higher Home Prices – A slight improvement in the economy and lower interest rates are boosting buyer demand, decreasing the supply, and helping to raise prices. The past few months have shown a steady incline in the price of homes. The increases should be a bit more restrained this year, which is good news for buyers.
  • Luxury Home Sales Stumble – Due to the capital gains tax increase in January, a lot of luxury homeowners rushed to sell their homes before the hike. Due to this mass sell-off and home buyers taking advantage of it, a slowdown is expected on luxury home sales this year. High-end buyers will have less to choose from, but will also have less competition.
  • New Mortgage Rule – A new rule to protect buyers has been announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not effective until 2014, many lenders will be putting it into place this year. It will require buyers’ financial information to be supplied and verified, along with their debt-to-income ratio. Buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase homes they cannot afford. Lenders can no longer offer a “teaser” rate on mortgages to mask the true rate of the loan and Lenders must also ensure that the loan has no excessive points, fees, or “hidden” features where the principal amount increases.
  • Home-Equity Loans Make a Come-back – These rates have fallen as well, allowing homeowners to do some long over-due remodeling. Gradually, lenders are becoming more willing to do these types of loans with the increase in home value; giving current homeowners more financing options.
  • Rates Could Rise – After reaching record lows, rates are expected to increase slightly in 2013. Costs associated with certain types of loans may also see an increase. These small changes are not expected to deter buyers.

After years of bad news, the future of real estate is finally starting to look a little brighter!!

Market Changes for 2013

April To-Do List

April 2013 IOV - Ecard

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“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
– William Shakespeare

Spring is in full-swing….let it inspire you to make the most of this month! It’s a terrific time to get out into the fresh air and to let the fresh air in as well! Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Inspect window screens for tears/bent frames, clean with a mild soap and soft bristle brush; allow to dry thoroughly before installing.
  • Cleaning the carpets is another way to bring a fresh feel to your home. Rent a carpet steamer or call in a professional.
  • Get out into the garden. Clean up leftover leaves and debris, turn the soil allowing it to breathe, and get prepared for planting.
  • Check garden hoses for leaks; repair or replace damaged hoses. Do not leave hoses connected to an outdoor spigot until the danger of frost is completely over!
  • Pre-plant your herbs. Start them in smaller, indoor pots and transplant to larger outdoor pots or beds when the time is right.
  • Inspect outdoor structures for deterioration – especially signs of rot. Check fences, railings, window sills. Plan to repair or replace any damage you discover once the weather turns fair.
  • Prepare for the outdoor cooking season! Inspect your grill; replace any worn or damaged parts. Remove and clean cooking grates with soapy water and a brass bristle brush. Remove grease from lava rocks or briquettes by turning them over, igniting the burners, and allowing the heat to “clean” them for 10 minutes. Check propane levels to ensure your grill is ready when you are!
  • For a real seasonal shift…change over cushions, sheets, and throws to lighter or brighter colors. Pick colors that will compliment what is already there.
  • Inspect the washing machine. Turn off the water, remove the supply hoses and examine them and the washers. Replace worn or damaged parts.
  • Last but not least….Get your bikes out of the shed, dust them off, and have them tuned-up by a pro!

Tackle these items early in the month so you can get out, get active, and make the most of the warm weather before it is gone again!

April To-Do List