Posts tagged ‘real estate’

February 6, 2014

Moving Day Etiquette, Mind Your Manners

blog feb 5Moving is a hassle, no matter how much you pack, plan, and prepare for the big day.  You will most likely hit a few bumps along the way!  It is highly recommended that you use a checklist to help you survive this arduous task.

Aside from being organized for the actual move, you also need to take into consideration those around you who will also be affected that day.  Like your mother always said, “mind your manners”.  Here are some etiquette guidelines:

Time of Day – The most recommended moving time slot is between 9am and 4pm on a weekday if possible.  During this time most neighbors will be away at work, therefore reducing any inconvenience to them.  Also remember to keep noise level low; do not allow movers to blare music from the moving van, etc.

Last Impression – Make sure the last moments spent in your old neighborhood are good ones.  Be careful not to block driveways and streets with vehicles or furniture.  Keep an eye on the moving crew; some will take short cuts they shouldn’t, through yards, flower beds, etc.  Be considerate of others!

First Impression – The same consideration described above should also be given to your new neighbors!  If you see that the moving truck will be blocking a neighbor’s access, knock on the door, introduce yourself, and explain the situation to them.  Apologize in advance for any inconvenience!  Be readily available if something needs to be moved.

Help – Don’t just sit around and watch or give orders.  Roll up your sleeves and help out, even if you have paid movers.  You can always start unpacking boxes in your new home, be busy!

Refreshments – Offer some basic refreshments to your trusty “crew”, whether it be a group of hired pros or your family and friends.  Provide some snacks, as well as some refreshing bottles of water and sodas; consider offering coffee or hot chocolate if you are moving during colder weather.

Clean up – Once your old home is vacant, take time to clean up any trash, vacuum, dust, and leave it in presentable condition.  Also make a trip around the exterior, cleaning up any debris left behind from the move.  The same holds true for your new home keep an eye out for trash or debris that may be left outside.  Clean it up immediately so your neighbors don’t have to.  Also try to avoid leaving a large trash pile by the curb for pick up. Instead, make a trip to the dump to dispose of these items.

Pets – If possible, take them to the home of a friend or family member, vet, or pet daycare.  If not possible, keep them comfortable in a room away from the noise and commotion.  Pets can become agitated and noisy during a move.  The risk of them getting out and getting lost is also higher during a move.

Thank you – Don’t forget to tip and say “thank you”.  For paid movers it is generally 5% of the total bill.  If using family and friends, show your gratitude by buying a few pizzas for dinner and saying thanks.  People like to feel appreciated.

How you handle yourself on moving day goes a long way in determining what type of relationship you will have with your new neighbors.  Make sure you get started on the right foot!

August 27, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC – Confidence in the Market Jumps Sharply

Confidence in the real estate market is on the rise, and millennials still believe in the American Dream. However, there is a knowledge gap that calls for advice and guidance from real estate professionals. Consumers have their eyes on interest rates.

Prudential Real Estate Q2 2013 Consumer Outlook Survey Infographic

Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, and Prudential Homesale Services Group released results of their second quarter Consumer Outlook Survey indicating that millennials are increasingly optimistic about residential real estate. A full 80% of respondents ages 25-34 said their perception of the housing market is “favorable” or “somewhat favorable,” representing a 9 percentage point increase from the Q1 study.

Among all respondents, the national survey also found that confidence in real estate and home values jumped sharply, reaching 83% vs. 77% in Q1 study and 73% at year-end. Confidence is highest in both South and West regions at 84%.

“Young Americans, like the majority of survey participants, are feeling much better about homeownership,” said Earl Lee, chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “People are looking optimistically at housing for all right reasons – a place to feel secure, build a future and raise a family.”

Among all respondents, 70% said that finding the right home and community is crucial to family happiness. Millennials were even more emphatic about the emotional side of homeownership: 93% favor a home for “more space for my family,” while only 75% view it as “financial security to borrow against.”

“Consumers are mindful of the challenges faced during the real estate downturn,” added Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “Though homeownership makes a solid, long-term investment, a home should never be considered a siding-clad ATM.”

-more-

Mortgage and Rate Watch
On securing a mortgage loan, consumer sentiment continues reflecting the challenges people face through strict underwriting guidelines and credit-score requirements:
•    57% of respondents said securing a mortgage is more difficult than it ever was prior to the market crisis.
•    Nearly 40% said lenders are “overly cautious” when it comes to mortgage financing.
•    Anxiety and fear of losing a real estate opportunity are respondents’ main emotional challenges in seeking home financing.
•    With rates rising recently, 71% said they are encouraged to buy a home now rather than later. It is worth noting that 78% of respondents indicated that homeownership is valuable regardless of shifting rates.

While 65% of respondents said they watch rates closely, there is confusion about recent rate trends. Among those who claim to watch rates closely, 43% believe that rates are holding steady or falling, though rates have risen so far this summer.

The knowledge gap calls for advice and guidance from real estate professionals to help people make the best choices. Of survey respondents, 63% indicated that a good agent can help them make the right choices about the type of home and community they want. And having a trusted source of information and guidance is important to 64%.

“Our survey shows that Americans who are looking to find and purchase a home remain positive about their prospects, and they’re looking to the guidance of quality real estate agents to navigate the entire process,” said Stephen Phillips, chief operating officer for HSF Affiliates LLC. “Home buyers are more informed than ever with their Internet searches and ongoing research; however, there’s a critical need to transform that information into analysis and advice that helps consumers make the best home-buying and selling decisions.”

The full survey details are available upon request. An infographic illustrating survey findings can be seen above.

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey Methodology
Interviews with 2,600 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home were conducted online by Edelman Berland in June-July 2013, Respondents are aged 25-64 with a household income of at least $50,000, and either recently bought/sold a home or are considering buying/selling a home. The margin of error is ± 2.0% for all respondents.

July 1, 2013

Paint Like a Pro

Paint Perfection

A fresh coat of paint is the fastest, most economical way to spruce up any room in your home. Here are some simple guidelines to help you achieve results that will make any professional painter envious.

paint-like-a-pro

Pick your paint type – Water-soluble latex dries quickly, is easier to clean up, and emits fewer fumes. It is also less likely to fade and provides a breathable surface allowing moisture to escape. Oil based paints are trickier to apply, dry more slowly, and require mineral spirits for clean-up. However, they will provide a more durable finish. There are also specially-designed paints for kitchens and baths to resist mold, mildew, and humidity; they are worth the extra expense! That’s actually a good rule for any paint, consider paying a little more for better quality!

Choose the sheen – Flat, low-luster paints disguise flaws making them good for ceilings and low traffic areas. Glossier finishes form a smoother, water-resistant surface that is easy to wipe clean and stands up to moisture, making them a good choice for kitchens, trim, and high-traffic areas.

Test-drive the color – Buy a sample pot and apply 2 coats to a 3’ sq. of white foam board. Move the square around your room to study it at different times of the day and in varying light conditions. Once you decide on a color, purchase all your paint at the same time. (a gallon will cover about 400 sq ft) If you need more than 1 can, a good idea is to mix all cans together. Different cans could have subtle color variations that will become obvious on your walls. If applying 2 coats, only mix ½ of your paint for the first coat and mix the remaining paint before your second coat.

The right tools – For most jobs you will need a roller, brushes, blue painters’ tape, and a paint tray. Nylon and polyester bristles work best with latex paint, while natural bristles are the best choice for oil-based finishes. A 3/8”–1/2” nap roller suits most drywall.

Prep – Clear as much furniture from the room before you begin. Cover the floor and fixtures with drop cloths and remove outlet/switch covers. Fill holes and patch damaged spots with spackle. Wipe down walls and trim with a damp sponge before you paint.

Cut-in – Use a 2 ½” angled brush to paint the border of your work area. This will keep your roller from bumping against adjacent surfaces.

“Lay off” Method – After rolling an area, make a series of long vertical strokes down the full length of the wall, in the same direction. This will distribute wet paint in a thin, even layer.

Removing the tape – If you have used painter’s tape on your baseboards or trim, you’ll want to remove it the same day you paint. Run a putty knife along the edge at a 45-degree angle to “score” the paint. This will allow you to peel off your tape and not pull off the paint, move slowly and steadily.

Other tips
– Paint an outlet cover and write the paint color/number on the back of the cover. You can take this along to the store when you need to match the color exactly!
– Store extra paint for “touch-ups” in an airtight glass jar (ex: mason jar). Cover the opening with plastic wrap before screwing the lid on and store in a cool, dry place.

Grab a brush, follow these tips, and enjoy great-looking, long-lasting results!

These tips are great for homeowners looking to update the look of their home, as well as for home sellers looking to update the look and price of their home for sale.

May 22, 2013

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

April 15, 2013

Q1 Consumer Outlook Survey (Infographic)

Consumer confidence in real estate and home prices reaches a year-long high. Buyers and sellers are motivated entering the spring buying season.

q1-info-graphic2013

Want more information on today’s real estate market? Contact a Prudential Homesale Real Estate Agent today.

February 25, 2013

The State of Real Estate

Homeownership is important and attitudes are positive, however, with the lingering crisis and trouble qualifying for a mortgage, we now find guidance is more important than ever.

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey Infographic-final-large-web

February 14, 2013

Hearts & Homes

It’s Valentine’s Day, so here’s an Infographic that we found on RealEstate.com which takes a look at how romantic attachments influence home buying.  The graph looks at the statistics for the married vs. single populations of U.S. cities. The U.S. demographics have changed, and for the first time more households are unmarried. Check out the full article here.

Valentines-Day-Infographic2

Homes in Maryland  | Homes in Pennslyvania

February 6, 2013

Why use a Realtor to buy your next home??

 

February 2013 IOV - Ecard

 

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in a lifetime. Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it is worth using a real estate professional.

 Determining price range – By providing some basic information about your financial status (income, savings, debt, etc.), a Realtor can help you determine the price range for your home and refer you to a lender that is best qualified to assist you.

 Finding the right fit – A Realtor has access to more resources than average individuals and can help locate the property that is the best fit for you, whether actively listed on the market or not.

 Extra Information – In addition to finding the right home, a Realtor can provide other types of valuable information that may be critical to your decision; information on zoning, schools, utilities, etc. These items can be important in determining a home’s future resale value and if a home has the environment you desire.

 Negotiations – Real estate contracts involve a myriad of factors; more than just price. You may need to consider financing, date of possession, and the inclusion of repairs, furniture, or equipment. An agreement should also provide enough time to complete inspections of the property before you become bound to the purchase. Your agent can advise you on all of these items.

 Resources and support – If your contract includes inspections for pests, structure stability, roof condition, asbestos or others; a Realtor can suggest responsible professionals to do most of these and provide written reports. You will also want to see a report on the title of the property; a Realtor can help you interpret this document and clarify things like property lines, rights of access, etc.

 Financing – There are so many options; a qualified Realtor will be able to explain them and help you decide the best terms for your budget.

 Closing – A Realtor will guide you step-by-step through the process, making sure it is process is as smooth as possible.

Contact one of our real estate professionals today to help you find your next home!

 

December 27, 2012

Keeping Cozy for Less

hot-cocoaWe’re almost through December and it’s the time of year when our heating bills make us cringe! Every time your door opens, a little bit of heat escapes your home. With some diligence and a few preventative measures, you can keep your home warm and not break the bank. In fact, you can even increase your heating system efficiency.

Proper insulation is essential to keeping warm and it’s at the top of our tip list. This home improvement may be a bit costly, but it will be worth the cost when you see the reduction of your next heating bill! Insulate your home, this can be done in two different ways:
you can have insulation blown into your walls by a professional or have insulation sheets placed in your, attic, roof, and floor to keep heat in your home. Other items such as curtains at your windows and rugs or carpet can also act as insulation.

Plug the leaks, finding and sealing leaks around the home is a great way to keep things warmer. Install draft blockers at the base of doorways and seal windows with rubber strips or caulk. Another easy window solution is a ready-to-use plastic window insulation kit bought at the hardware store. The fireplace damper is another leak source, keep it closed when you are not using it. Even light switches and outlets may let cold air into your home. Seal kits for can also be purchased for just a few dollars at the local hardware store.

Reducing the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees can help you save 10-20% on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat is a great, fairly inexpensive solution. You can pre-program lower temperatures for the times when no one is home or when everyone will be snuggled in their beds. Here are some suggested times and temperatures to help you reduce your heat costs:

6am to 9am = 68 degrees
9am to 5:30pm = 60 degrees
5:30pm to 11pm = 68 degrees
11pm to 6am = 60 degrees

As much as you might enjoy a very warm shower this time of year, another great idea is to reduce the temperature setting on your hot water heater. Most are factory set to 140 degrees; you could reduce it to 120 degrees and not feel any difference in your shower. Taking a shower versus a bath will also use about 15 gallons less of that warm water!

Routine maintenance can also be an important factor in your heating efficiency. All filters should be cleaned/replaced at least monthly during the winter season and a professional system check-up before winter begins is highly recommended.

Other small changes that can make a notable difference:
• Open curtains during the day to let sunlight in and close them at night to prevent heat loss
• Switch ceiling fans to a clockwise direction to push warm air down (keep on lowest speed)
• Add a few extra layers to yourself and family with warm sweaters, socks and slippers
• Move furniture away from heat vents, registers, and radiators to keep air flowing.

For more guidance on saving energy you can visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for tons of easy, practical ideas!

Grab a blanket, a book, and your favorite hot beverage.
Your home will be comfy, cozy, and not break your budget!!

May 25, 2012

Housing Market Showing Strength

The housing market is showing signs of growth based off numbers released by the National Association of Realtors for the month of April. The diagram below shows promising improvements in real estate compared to the numbers from April, 2011.

(diagram courtesy of the KCM Blog)
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